Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
July 30, 2010
did Florida's homeowners and condo owners do to deserve to be punished by
incompetent legislators and professionals who can't write bills -- and
other professionals who can't read the statutes?
didn't pass the BAR exam and I wasn't elected to public office in
Tallahassee, but I went to school. And
by the time I was in second grade, teachers had already explained to me
what the word "FUTURE" means.
association bill S1196
is a typical example: Not even
in times of serious need can associations/owners rely on the help of
legislators and the professionals, who plainly view them as cash cows.
heard legislators like Ellyn Bogdanoff, Mike Fasano, Maria Sachs and Jeremy Ring
praising the bill, claiming all the great reforms contained in the bill would help associations/owners deal with the main problem:
deficits caused by unpaid dues and/or foreclosures.
could be further from the truth. The bill is a total
some of the so-called professionals could barely wait until July 1 to show
are some great examples:
a condo in Broward the guards stopped every renter and handed him/her a
demand letter to pay the rent to the association, since the landlord
failed to pay the maintenance dues. And until all is paid in full the
renter can't use the amenities any more. Great way to ask the
renter to move!
management company in Central Florida made the following proposal to
its associations: We write the initial demand letter (one-time charge
$100) and charge for every payment received $50 processing fee. I
know that one of the homeowners' associations involved charges $80 monthly.
According to the law, the renter pays the $80 to the association,
but the association only gets $30. If the associations agree, this
provision from S1196 will really create lots of financial relief to
the management company -- if the renter really pays.
management company located in Broward County -- not to be outdone --
volunteered as the collection agency and demanded 15% of all payments
received as collection fee.
A management firm from St. Augustine sent this info to
homeowners: "Effective July 15, 2010 your Homeowners' Association will implement the following:
At 91 days of past due assessment, access cards will be de-programmed. No access to the pools, clubhouse, or health facility will be allowed. Entry to the community will be by key and entry only.
At 91days of past due assessments, Comcast will be instructed to disconnect cable service to the unit. Also, if your unit is rented, your tenants will be notified that future rents must be paid to the
Association." Homeowners, who sent me a copy of this letter, stated
that to their knowledge no public board meeting took place where the
mailing of this letter was approved by vote of the board.
homeowners' association sent out demand letters informing renters that
their landlord owes them XX amount of dollars and if the renter
doesn't turn the rent payments over to the association the association
for eviction under ss. 83.59-83.625 -- and, of course, no
use of amenities until the landlord's debt is paid in full. It
looks like the person who wrote this letter didn't make himself
familiar with the new version of FS 720.3085(8) and the word "FUTURE."
are just getting started -- the first attorney letters are just being
exchanged and the lawsuits are still in a development stage -- considering
the new law isn't
even effective for a whole month. But I can say one thing for sure: This
is another provision that will do more harm then good. CCFJ warned about
the wording of this provision from Day One -- but who wants to listen to
some folks who are considered disgruntled owners by the expert specialized
of the attorneys from the law firms who pushed the bill are trying to do
damage control by coming up with flimsy explanations in their columns. No
matter what, the word "FUTURE" can't be explained
the way, I'm already looking forward to the same attorneys explaining the
amended language in FS
720.305(2) -- Fining in homeowners' associations. That will be
But the wording of S 1196 shows again that our
expert professionals and legislators are best at what they do best: Making
Fools Of Themselves!
720.3085(8) If the parcel is occupied by a tenant
and the parcel owner is delinquent in paying any monetary
obligation due to the association, the association may demand
that the tenant pay to the association the future monetary
obligations related to the parcel. The demand is continuing in
nature, and upon demand, the tenant must continue to pay the
monetary obligations until the association releases the tenant or
the tenant discontinues tenancy in the parcel. A tenant who acts
in good faith in response to a written demand from an association
is immune from any claim from the parcel owner.
(a) If the tenant prepaid rent to the parcel owner before
receiving the demand from the association and provides written
evidence of paying the rent to the association within 14 days
after receiving the demand, the tenant shall receive credit for
the prepaid rent for the applicable period and must make any
subsequent rental payments to the association to be credited
against the monetary obligations of the parcel owner to the
association. The association shall, upon request, provide the
tenant with written receipts for payments made. The association
shall mail written notice to the parcel owner of the
associationís demand that the tenant pay monetary obligations to
(b) The tenant is not liable for increases in the amount of the
monetary obligations due unless the tenant was notified in writing
of the increase at least 10 days before the date on which the rent
is due. The tenant shall be given a credit against rents due to
the parcel owner in the amount of assessments paid to the
(c) The association may issue notices under s. 83.56 and may sue
for eviction under ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a
landlord under part II of chapter 83 if the tenant fails to pay a
monetary obligation. However, the association is not otherwise
considered a landlord under chapter 83 and specifically has no
duties under s. 83.51.
(d) The tenant does not, by virtue of payment of monetary
obligations, have any of the rights of a parcel owner to vote in
any election or to examine the books and records of the
(e) A court may supersede the effect of this subsection by
appointing a receiver.
The same language is in FS 718.116(11) and FS