and Video Courtesy of First Coast News
By Ken Amaro
December 5, 2014
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Oakleaf Plantation is a community where property owners pay homeowners association dues. But what if the property owner rents his home and fails to pay those dues?
"I'm kind of caught in the middle here," said Kay Ferguson.
Ferguson, 54, has been renting the same Orange Park house for two years. A few weeks ago she was hit with a demand of payment letter from the
"The association wants the rent and if I don't pay them the rent, they want to evict me," said Ferguson. "At the same time, if if I don't pay the landlord, he wants to evict me."
Ferguson said she doesn't know what to do and this dilemma has created sleepless nights.
"It is stressful and I don't know what to do," she said.
What Ferguson doesn't know is a change in the law protects her. The Florida Legislature changed the law to allows Homeowners Association to collect a tenant's rent to satisfy delinquent HOA fees. She said the landlord is still insisting she pays him the rent.
"He said he can pay $125 dollars and have me evicted in 21 days," she said.
It is not that simple. The same law, Florida Statute 720.3085, also gives her immunity from any claims by the landlord.
Ferguson said she will go ahead and pay her rent to the HOA until the $2000 past due fees are paid in full.
"I'll pay them for two months and then I'll go back to paying my landlord," she said," now that I know what the law states."
And when her lease is up she said she plans to move.
Jacksonville Attorney Fred Elefant is an expert in HOA laws and his office confirmed that the tenant has to pay the association dues from the rent money and the landlord cannot evict her.