An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published May 7, 2010


I would really love to know exactly who authored the language for the provision in S 1196 that supposedly enables associations (Condos, Co-Ops and HOAs) to collect rent from tenants who live in homes/units of owners who are delinquent in paying "monetary obligations." That wording alone is already a joke in itself. Meaning the owner hasn't paid a fine levied by the association, the association can demand payment from the renter?


In my opinion there can be only three reasons for anybody to add such convoluted language to a bill that is supposedly bringing relief to associations in financial distress.
1.) The author is senile and nobody really looked at it.

2.) The author felt sorry for attorneys and tried to make sure that the language creates a lot of billing hours for his/her colleagues.

3.) The author wanted to torpedo the whole attempt from the start and created language that will most likely enable a first-year law student to challenge this law.


Even a blind drunk first-year law student could draft better language than that! 


Take a look yourself. You don't have to have an Esq. behind your name to figure out the problems of this vague wording contained in SENATE BILL S 1196:

Condo  FS 718.116(11)    Line 1319 - 1361

Co-ops FS 719.108(10)    Line 2463 - 2505

HOA      FS 720.3085(8)    Line 2894 - 2934


1319 (11) If the unit is occupied by a tenant and the unit owner

1320 is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the

1321 association, the association may make a written demand that the 

1322 tenant pay the future monetary obligations related to the

1323 condominium unit to the association, and the tenant must make

1324 such payment. The demand is continuing in nature and, upon

1325 demand, the tenant must pay the monetary obligations to the

1326 association until the association releases the tenant or the

1327 tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The association must

1328 mail written notice to the unit owner of the associationís

1329 demand that the tenant make payments to the association. The

1330 association shall, upon request, provide the tenant with written

1331 receipts for payments made. A tenant who acts in good faith in

1332 response to a written demand from an association is immune from 

1333 any claim from the unit owner. 

1334 (a) If the tenant prepaid rent to the unit owner before 

1335 receiving the demand from the association and provides written

1336 evidence of paying the rent to the association within 14 days

1337 after receiving the demand, the tenant shall receive credit for

1338 the prepaid rent for the applicable period and must make any

1339 subsequent rental payments to the association to be credited

1340 against the monetary obligations of the unit owner to the

1341 association.

1342 (b) The tenant is not liable for increases in the amount of

1343 the monetary obligations due unless the tenant was notified in

1344 writing of the increase at least 10 days before the date the

1345 rent is due. The liability of the tenant may not exceed the

1346 amount due from the tenant to the tenantís landlord. The

1347 tenantís landlord shall provide the tenant a credit against

1348 rents due to the unit owner in the amount of monies paid to the

1349 association under this section.

1350 (c) The association may issue notices under s. 83.56 and

1351 may sue for eviction under ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the

1352 association were a landlord under part II of chapter 83 if the

1353 tenant fails to pay a required payment to the association.

1354 However, the association is not otherwise considered a landlord

1355 under chapter 83 and specifically has no duties under s. 83.51.

1356 (d) The tenant does not, by virtue of payment of monetary

1357 obligations to the association, have any of the rights of a unit

1358 owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and 

1359 records of the association. 

1360 (e) A court may supersede the effect of this subsection by

1361 appointing a receiver.


And don't forget, all this is based on CONTRACT LAW. Ever thought about the fact that there is no contract between tenant and association, just between tenant and homeowner or unit owner?


Collecting any monetary obligations and even evicting a tenant, initiated by a third party that has no contract with the tenant?


The language is so vague and complicated that association boards definitely need the services of an attorney to attempt the enforcement of this clause, if it becomes law.


We have many attorneys among our legislators, claiming to be really "qualified" to create laws due to their legal background. Do they ever read these bills before voting them into law?


Have you ever tried to figure out who will pay the legal fees charged by the association attorney to enforce these provisions? There is nothing in any law that will enable associations to recover these legal fees. Or do you think the banks will pay for it once the foreclosure is signed and sealed by the court?


Have you ever considered that we have a renterís market in Florida ? If a renter feels harassed, he/she will quickly move after not paying rent for two months to recover the security deposit.  Then the association will have another home/unit not paying dues -- and a legal bill that will have to be paid from the association's coffers.


Yes, there may be some renters intimidated enough to just pay to the association, but that's not a sure thing. The attempt to enforce these provisions can get very costly -- and can quickly eat up the money collected from easily intimidated renters.


Bringing "RELIEF" for associations/owners? I seriously doubt it, considering the complicated language. But one thing is sure:


Was that the whole idea behind the bill?