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Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6575
Experience:  29 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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Home owner association dues and lawyer fees

Customer Question

Home owner association dues and lawyer fees
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  KJL LAW replied 7 months ago.
Good afternoon. What state are you located?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I am in florida
Expert:  KJL LAW replied 7 months ago.

Ill let a Florida attorney answer your question.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks much...i will wait for the answer from the fl lawyer
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 7 months ago.

I am a different Attorney. Can you tell me what the basis was for letters sent you to you? Were these association dues?

The governing documents in Florida for the Association set out how and when association dues are owed and further, set out any additional fees that the association can charge an owner. We need to look at the governing documents to determine if the HOA had a right to charge additional penalties, late fees including attorneys fees. HOA's in Florida do not need to have a case in court for the owner to incur these types of fees.

Were your tenants required to pay he dues in your lease?

Homeowner Association laws can be found in Florida Statutes http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0720/Sections/0720.3085.html

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 7 months ago.

These are all of the laws that govern an HOA in Florida:

"Homeowner Associations are governed by a chain of governing documents and laws.

  • The Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State provide the legal basis of the association in the form of an Incorporated Non-Profit Corporation.
  • The recorded map or 'plat' defines each owner's title to property including the association's title to common areas.
  • The CCR's (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) are publicly recorded deed restrictions.
  • The Bylaws are the rules for management and administration.
  • Resolutions are additional rules and regulations that the association may adopt.
  • Federal Laws also apply. Some but not all include the The Fair Housing Act, Internal Revenue Codes, the American Disabilities Act, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act , the FCC OTARD Rule (Over the Air Reception Devices - Satellite Dishes) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • Information regarding State Laws specific to common interest communities such as condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations are provided below and in the FAQ section of the Resouce Center. In addition there are typically additional state laws that are not specific to Common Interest Communities which require compliance. Some examples include stormwater runoff, coastal development, elevator inspections for condos, and pool operations to name a few.
  • Local Ordinances, while not specific to homeowner associations, apply to building codes, animal control, abandoned cars, water restrictions, etc.
  • Additional legal regulations can exist in the form of case law; standards set by professional organizations such as accountants, engineers, architects, home inspectors, and real estate brokers; as well as lender requirements.

Considerations:

  • State laws affecting Common Interest Communities vary widely.
  • Bills affecting Common Interest Communities are frequently being introduced in state legislatures and may be in different stages of consideration, approval, or enactment.
  • It is not uncommon to find conflicts within or between governing documents such as the covenants and the bylaws. There may also be conflicts between governing documents and statutes. When this occurs, attorneys must often consider applying Rules of Intepretation.
  • Because of the wide variance in state laws, constant changes and possible conflicts in governing documents or statutes, it is strongly recommended that association boards and members seek legal counsel and especially with firms that have expertise or strong practice experience in the area of Common Interest Community law. A good starting point is to check the HOA-USA Partner Directory for your respective state.

Florida State Laws

Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation
Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Laws

The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (division) has authority to enforce the following laws:

In addition, Chapters 61B-45 and 61B-50, Florida Administrative Code, contain rules relating to arbitration of disputes. Chapter 61B-25 contains rules regarding lists maintained by division for volunteer and paid mediators.

In June of 1998, the division adopted administrative rules to implement its responsibility to ensure compliance with the provisions of Chapters 718 and 719, Florida Statutes. The resolution guidelines specify the action the division will take when accepted complaints are received. The rules provide for different treatment of violations by developers and violations by unit owner controlled associations, designate violations as either major or minor, provide for different methods of complaint resolution, discuss repeat violations and aggravating and mitigating factors, and provide for civil penalties. The resolution guidelines are found in:

  • 61B-20.004 - 61B-20.006 - Resolution Guidelines for Condominium Developers
  • 61B-21.001 - 61B-21.003 - Condominium Resolution Guidelines for Unit Owner Controlled Associations
  • 61B-77.001 - 61B-77.03 - Resolution Guidelines for Cooperative Developers
  • 61B-78.002 - 61B-78.004 - Cooperative Resolution Guidelines for Unit Owner Controlled Associations

In conjunction with the jurisdiction granted to the division by the Condominium and Cooperative Acts, the following are responsibilities that the division has under Chapters 718 and 719, Florida Statutes:

  • Each condominium and cooperative association is required to pay annual fees to the division based on the number of residential condominium or cooperative units in the association. This fee is currently $4 per unit and is due by January 1 of each year.
  • The division provides training programs for condominium and cooperative association board members and unit owners, by contracting with a private vendor to provide training courses.
  • The division maintains a toll-free telephone number accessible to condominium and cooperative board members and unit owners. This number is ***-***-****.
  • The division has a program to certify both volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium and cooperative disputes.

Homeowner Associations

Do you have a copy of your governing documents that you can attach so we can verify what the HOA can charge?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
My question was : is it fair for a lawyer to charge me 4thousand dollars attorney fees on one thousand HOA fees ?Do i stand a chance to dispute that on the basis that the attorney fees were unreasonable ?
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 7 months ago.

If the amount in allowed in the governing documents owners agree to those amounts when they purchase in an HOA. The governing document become a contract between both parties. Provided they are charging within the amounts stated they have a right to collect those amounts. That being said they are very unlikely to work out any kind of settlement with you as they are virtually impossible to work with. Le me know where the property is located so I can provide a link for Attorneys in the area that provide FREE consultation to assist you as well as the governmental regulatory agency that can help. The whole system is outrageous, however, the law will back up the amount if in fact it was disclosed.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 7 months ago.

"Let me know the property is located..." Sorry for the typo this keyboard is being difficult.

Are you still with me?

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 7 months ago.

This is a link for consumer assistance http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/hoa/lscmhhomeownerfaq.html

Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter as it would be my pleasure to assist you.

If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work I would appreciate it.

The Attorneys on the site do not receive credit for their time or work if the customer does not rate us positively. There is no additional charge to you for a positive rating and you can still receive a refund. Thank you for your consideration

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