What Can A Condo Board Do About Nonpayment Of Dues?
When a person buys a condominium, they implicitly (and often, explicitly) consent to be governed by the condo association’s rules and board of directors. Perhaps the most important rule for condo owners is to pay dues and other assessments on time – and if they fail to do so, a condo board generally has some recourse that can be used to compel payment (or at least remove rights and privileges until payment is forthcoming).
Suspend Use Of Common Elements
In general, Florida law gives condo owners a 90 day grace period in which assessments can be paid without a condo board taking any action. Once that milestone has passed, however, an association can “suspend the right of the unit’s owner” or occupant to use common elements or other association property until the delinquent amount is paid. The ‘common elements’ in most condo associations include lobbies, walkways, fitness centers, swimming pools, and other elements used by more than just one unit owner.
It is important to keep in mind that this suspension of rights does not apply to limited common elements (those elements intended for the sole use of the unit owner, such as parking spaces or the individual unit’s balcony. Doing this would be both impractical and legally impossible – but, for someone who makes frequent use of the common elements, this may be cold comfort, and may push them toward paying off delinquent amounts.
Suspend Voting Rights
In addition to depriving a delinquent owner of the use of the common elements, a condo association can suspend an owner’s voting rights if their overdue monetary obligation is $1,000 or more. The owner must have been informed of this at least 30 days in advance of the board meeting where the suspension is voted on, but other than this, the standard notice requirements are not applicable in this type of matter.
Some of these options may seem unduly harsh, particularly in a smaller association where every board member may know every owner well. However, even one delinquency can adversely affect the financial outlook for an association as a whole – a board may have to act quickly to forestall the association’s finances taking a sudden nosedive. It will be up to the board to properly balance the situation’s urgency with the ability to work with owners who may be having a difficult time.
Contact A Tampa Condominium Law Attorney
A condominium association works well when all the owners are on the same page – but sometimes, an owner’s finances may put them in delinquency. A board has a responsibility to handle the situation firmly but fairly, and a Tampa condominium law attorney may be able to assist them in doing just that. Attorney Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office have handled matters like these before, and will work hard to help you with yours. Call our office today at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.