and Video Courtesy of
Channel 4 -- Miami CBS4
David Sutta, Reporter
May 19, 2009
GARDENS (CBS4) ― Condo associations across South
Florida have been struggling with homeowners, many of whom are in
foreclosure, who are not paying their dues. The shortfall of money
has led to horror stories of garbage piling up and water being
turned off which makes many buildings uninhabitable.
"What's it like living here," CBS4 reporter
David Sutta asked Winston Mullings of The Oaks.\
a living hell," replied Mullings.
Mullings lives in a condo in The Oaks where more
than half of the unit owners have not paid their
"It's challenging. We are trying our best to
keep the water on. To try to pick up the garbage,
but because we are not having the association fee
coming in there is nothing that we can do,"
The Oaks in Miami Gardens was on the edge of being
shut down by the Health Department.
"Very close. Very close. In fact there were times where I lost
hope on it," said Javier Lopez with the company hired to manage
the property; Florida Property Management.
|Last month, Lopez
only collected three thousand out of eleven thousand
dollars owed in association fees. His battle is not
unusual but he may be on the edge of changing the
tide for his association.
"It's not a landmark case, but I consider it to
be a landmark case because not only us but within a
year every association is going to be doing this. I
almost, well as a matter of fact, I'm 100% sure of
that," said Lopez. Lopez is referring to a
ruling that recently handed down in a Miami-Dade
really is a new legal option for these associations and really in
the nick of time," said Ben Solomen, an attorney with the
Association Law Group.
In the decision, the judge ruled that the condo association could
collect its fees directly from the tenants whose landlords are in
foreclosure. Receivership is not new. But in this case, the judge
allowed the condo association to collect from any and every unit in
foreclosure; even defaults that happen six months from now. In the
past the associations would have to wait months just to plead their
case for one unit and not dozens at a time.
"It's going to provide them with immediate income. It's going
to turn the faucet off for these irresponsible investors who
continue to receive income from the rent of their tenants but fail
to meet their other obligations," said Solomen.
The blanket receivership will target just investors who are renting
out their units. Mullings is hopeful.
"I'm optimistic with what's going on right now we are going to
see some real change," he said.
Beginning next week, The Oaks will start collecting their fees from
eight units. Several additional condo associations have already
filed petitions similar to the one filed by The Oaks.