Sec. 718.116 F.S. provides an automatic lien against the owner's obligation for assessments beginning with the original recording of the condominium declaration of covenants in the public records. So, you do not have to file a lien to protect the association's interests, There is an exception for first mortgages, in that a lien must be recorded in order to maintain priority. Thus, with respect to any existing or future first mortgage and not counting the 12 month/1% automatic mortgagee/lender liability for assessments, the association must record a lien to obtain priority.
Since it is almost certain that any new purchaser will do so based upon a new first mortgage, recording a lien is a general necessity to protect the association's right to recover assessments in preference to the first mortgage holder. However, in some circumstances, maintaining a cloud on title
via the lien may do nothing more than to keep the property unmarketable, which is a net loser for the association. Ultimately, it may be necessary to release or limit recovery in order to get a new purchaser into the property, because recovery from the prior owner may be unrealistic or unreasonably costly -- and, without releasing the lien, no new purchaser will purchase.
Concerning bankruptcy, the covenant lien protects the association to the maximum extent possible. The current owner cannot discharge the association fees. In re Rivera, 256 B.R. 828 (Bankr. MD FL 12/14/2000).
Hope this helps.
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