and Video Courtesy of Channel 2 NBC
November 23, 2011
COUNTY, FL - Homeowner's association fees are something
many homeowners have to pay, but what happens when your neighbors
don't pay up and leave you to foot the bill?
and foreclosures put pressure on the remaining homeowners,"
Novana condo association President Katrin Strenberg said.
Strenberg attended The Continental Group's seminar to learn how to
protect homeowners and associations from those extra fees.
"A lot of people got in
over their heads and can't get out. They're underwater and so you know
what happens next," Strenberg said.
Jason Mclendon says he isn't in over his head but he has a message to
his neighbors who might be.
"You've got to pay your
bills. If you don't and it hurts
other people, that's what the law is
there for," he said.
And some of those laws passed in this year's legislature protect
associations. One gives associations the right to shut down access to
amenities if owners don't pay up.
"People are saying uh
oh, maybe I ought to pay my bill so that I can use the pool or the
theater room or get better access," Continental Group Vice
President Kregg Hale said.
For owners who rent out their
property and don't pay their association fees, the renters will have
to pay their rent to the association instead of their landlord until
the fees are paid.
Representatives from The
Continental Group say homeowners associations can take it a step
further. They say the association can actually foreclose on a property
if the homeowner doesn't pay their association fees.
"That actually is a
difficult concept for most people to understand because they cannot
understand the we actually don't own the unit and can do whatever we
want with it," Strenberg said.
That's right, the homeowners association can foreclose on your home,
even though they're not your bank. Serious laws that will hopefully
get owners to pay their fees.
be very honest I have seldom seen a more badly researched and misleading
story like this. It's factually not true. There are no new laws that
protect associations or the still paying owners. The only way to make up
the deficits caused by unpaid dues and/or foreclosures is by increasing
the dues of the other owners or levy special assessments. Associations
can foreclose for unpaid dues for many years. Disallowing owners in
arrears to use the amenities may be a good gimmick, but doesn't pay the
bills. If the association forecloses they may get up to the lesser of 12
months in unpaid dues or 1% of the original mortgage, but they
will be stuck with all the other unpaid dues and the legal fees -- often
up to $5,000. The statements made are absolutely misleading and are made
to give the board members and owners a false sense of security.
Airing reports like this that give people the wrong message is
definitely bad customer service. Just read Florida statutes 718 and 720
and you will realize that most of the statements made are just blowing
smoke to make these owners feel better. Don't forget that Continental is
part of the lobbying groups that helped to create the bad laws that are
now coming back to haunt the still paying owners. The situation is a
mess -- and it will get worse!