COLLECTING UNPAID DUES FROM RENTERS CREATES BILLING HOURS -- NOT EXTRA INCOME FOR ASSOCIATIONS!
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 6, 2010
After the big praise, claiming that the new community association bill S 1196 would double the liability of banks for unpaid dues to condo associations, turned out to be a hoax, the sponsors of S1196 are really getting desperate trying to sell their "achievements" to Florida's homeowners and condo owners. Too many folks, even the Kumbaya singers, have realized that changing liability from 6 months to 12 months, but leaving the 1% cap on place, is not giving associations another dime!
Now that the first attempt of the sponsors -- CALL and CAN – failed to convince the owners what a great bill they were able to enact in the legislature, a second wave of propaganda is flooding the media.
The newest headlines:
law makes it easy to collect unpaid dues from renters
(FOX 35 Orlando)
law can make renters pay homeowner-association fees
homeowners, tenants forced to pay up
Gee, wouldn't it be nice if it all would be that easy? BUT IT IS NOT EASY AT ALL!
Works fine if the renter responds to the initial demand letter by sending a check. But if not, the association is in serious trouble. Not only creates the language issues that will most likely lead to legal challenges, it plainly ignores the facts of daily life -- and what is really going on in our community associations.
Could somebody please give me one good reason why a renter in his/her right mind should suffer through the harassment of threatening letters sent by the association attorney, by a landlord who is upset about not getting his rent and neighbors who are mad at him/her because the landlord doesn't pay the dues?
Every renter in his/her right mind knows that a landlord who is not paying the association dues is as well not making the mortgage payments -- meaning it's just a matter of time until the property will be foreclosed upon and the renter unceremoniously kicked out.
What prevents a renter to stop paying at all for two months to recover the deposit (first and last months' rent) and then move on to much greener pastures? At a new place the renter will be allowed to use the pool and other amenities without being harassed by neighbors and/or getting nasty attorney letters.
I don't want to discuss the much likely possibility of lawsuits being filed, challenging the validity of this law in the first place. I just look at the simple matter of a renter moving out as described above -- the only answer that makes sense for the renter.
The association didn't collect one dime -- despite the above headlines -- the unit/home is empty, the actual owner lost all chances to prevent the foreclosure -- and the association is looking at another legal bill caused by the attempt to enforce this “great new law.”
Or do you think that all these specialized attorneys will forgive the cost for the attempt to collect unpaid dues from a renter because they pushed for this "helpful" bill?
ANOTHER REASON WHY THIS BILL SHOULD NOT BE CALLED THE CONDO RELIEF ACT, BUT THE CONDO ATTORNEY RELIEF ACT!By the way, the attorneys themselves know that they created a monster -- just look at the fine print. Read the article headlined, "New law can make renters pay homeowner-association fees." David G. Muller, Co Director of the Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL) explains (quote): "For starters, it's not entirely clear how much of a rental's delinquent-fee bill a tenant will be expected to pay. And many associations may have trouble assessing tenants, because no one necessarily tracks which properties in a community or complex are rentals, who is renting them and how much they are paying. There are some questions about exactly how this is going to work. The good news about this is that it's going to give associations another mechanism to get paid on these unpaid assessments. But it does provide a host of questions, with issues not addressed in the statutes, and it will invariably be challenged in the courts."
that's exactly what will happen. These attorneys knew it and pushed the
bill anyway. Not to help associations deal with the financial crisis
caused by unpaid dues and/or foreclosures, but to increase the number of
billing hours -- to the detriment of the owners who will be worse off than