FL Statute 720

720.308 Assessments and charges.

(1)ASSESSMENTS.—For any community created after October 1, 1995, the governing documents must describe the manner in which expenses are shared and specify the member’s proportional share thereof.

 (a)Assessments levied pursuant to the annual budget or special assessment must be in the member’s proportional share of expenses as described in the governing document, which share may be different among classes of parcels based upon the state of development thereof, levels of services received by the applicable members, or other relevant factors.

 (b)While the developer is in control of the homeowners’ association, it may be excused from payment of its share of the operating expenses and assessments related to its parcels for any period of time for which the developer has, in the declaration, obligated itself to pay any operating expenses incurred that exceed the assessments receivable from other members and other income of the association.

 (c)Assessments or contingent assessments may be levied by the board of directors of the association to secure the obligation of the homeowners’ association for insurance acquired from a self-insurance fund authorized and operating pursuant to s. 624.462.

 (d)This section does not apply to an association, no matter when created, if the association is created in a community that is included in an effective development-of-regional-impact development order as of October 1, 1995, together with any approved modifications thereto.

(2)GUARANTEES OF COMMON EXPENSES.—

 (a)Establishment of a guarantee.—If a guarantee of the assessments of parcel owners is not included in the purchase contracts or declaration, any agreement establishing a guarantee shall only be effective upon the approval of a majority of the voting interests of the members other than the developer. Approval shall be expressed at a meeting of the members voting in person or by limited proxy or by agreement in writing without a meeting if provided in the bylaws. Such guarantee must meet the requirements of this section.

 (b)Guarantee period.—The period of time for the guarantee shall be indicated by a specific beginning and ending date or event.

 1.The ending date or event shall be the same for all of the members of an association, including members in different phases of the development.

 2.The guarantee may provide for different intervals of time during a guarantee period with different dollar amounts for each such interval.

 3.The guarantee may provide that after the initial stated period, the developer has an option to extend the guarantee for one or more additional stated periods. The extension of a guarantee is limited to extending the ending date or event; therefore, the developer does not have the option of changing the level of assessments guaranteed.

(3)MAXIMUM LEVEL OF ASSESSMENTS.—The stated dollar amount of the guarantee shall be an exact dollar amount for each parcel identified in the declaration. Regardless of the stated dollar amount of the guarantee, assessments charged to a member shall not exceed the maximum obligation of the member based on the total amount of the adopted budget and the member’s proportionate share of the expenses as described in the governing documents.

(4)CASH FUNDING REQUIREMENTS DURING GUARANTEE.—The cash payments required from the guarantor during the guarantee period shall be determined as follows:

 (a)If at any time during the guarantee period the funds collected from member assessments at the guaranteed level and other revenues collected by the association are not sufficient to provide payment, on a timely basis, of all assessments, including the full funding of the reserves unless properly waived, the guarantor shall advance sufficient cash to the association at the time such payments are due.

 (b)Expenses incurred in the production of nonassessment revenues, not in excess of the nonassessment revenues, shall not be included in the assessments. If the expenses attributable to nonassessment revenues exceed nonassessment revenues, only the excess expenses must be funded by the guarantor. Interest earned on the investment of association funds may be used to pay the income tax expense incurred as a result of the investment; such expense shall not be charged to the guarantor; and the net investment income shall be retained by the association. Each such nonassessment-revenue-generating activity shall be considered separately. Any portion of the parcel assessment which is budgeted for designated capital contributions of the association shall not be used to pay operating expenses.

(5)CALCULATION OF GUARANTOR’S FINAL OBLIGATION.—The guarantor’s total financial obligation to the association at the end of the guarantee period shall be determined on the accrual basis using the following formula: the guarantor shall pay any deficits that exceed the guaranteed amount, less the total regular periodic assessments earned by the association from the members other than the guarantor during the guarantee period regardless of whether the actual level charged was less than the maximum guaranteed amount.

(6)EXPENSES.—Expenses incurred in the production of nonassessment revenues, not in excess of the nonassessment revenues, shall not be included in the operating expenses. If the expenses attributable to nonassessment revenues exceed nonassessment revenues, only the excess expenses must be funded by the guarantor. Interest earned on the investment of association funds may be used to pay the income tax expense incurred as a result of the investment; such expense shall not be charged to the guarantor; and the net investment income shall be retained by the association. Each such nonassessment-revenue-generating activity shall be considered separately. Any portion of the parcel assessment which is budgeted for designated capital contributions of the association shall not be used to pay operating expenses.

History.—s. 58, ch. 95-274; s. 51, ch. 2000-258; s. 17, ch. 2007-80; s. 15, ch. 2007-173.

Note.—Former s. 617.308.

720.3085Payment for assessments; lien claims.—

 (1)When authorized by the governing documents, the association has a lien on each parcel to secure the payment of assessments and other amounts provided for by this section. Except as otherwise set forth in this section, the lien is effective from and shall relate back to the date on which the original declaration of the community was recorded. However, as to first mortgages of record, the lien is effective from and after recording of a claim of lien in the public records of the county in which the parcel is located. This subsection does not bestow upon any lien, mortgage, or certified judgment of record on July 1, 2008, including the lien for unpaid assessments created in this section, a priority that, by law, the lien, mortgage, or judgment did not have before July 1, 2008.

 (a)To be valid, a claim of lien must state the description of the parcel, the name of the record owner, the name and address of the association, the assessment amount due, and the due date. The claim of lien secures all unpaid assessments that are due and that may accrue subsequent to the recording of the claim of lien and before entry of a certificate of title, as well as interest, late charges, and reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the association incident to the collection process. The person making payment is entitled to a satisfaction of the lien upon payment in full.

 (b)By recording a notice in substantially the following form, a parcel owner or the parcel owner’s agent or attorney may require the association to enforce a recorded claim of lien against his or her parcel:

NOTICE OF CONTEST OF LIEN

TO:   (Name and address of association)  

You are notified that the undersigned contests the claim of lien filed by you on  ,   (year)  , and recorded in Official Records Book   at page  , of the public records of   County, Florida, and that the time within which you may file suit to enforce your lien is limited to 90 days following the date of service of this notice. Executed this   day of  ,   (year)  .

Signed:   (Owner or Attorney)  

After the notice of a contest of lien has been recorded, the clerk of the circuit court shall mail a copy of the recorded notice to the association by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the address shown in the claim of lien or the most recent amendment to it and shall certify to the service on the face of the notice. Service is complete upon mailing. After service, the association has 90 days in which to file an action to enforce the lien and, if the action is not filed within the 90-day period, the lien is void. However, the 90-day period shall be extended for any length of time that the association is prevented from filing its action because of an automatic stay resulting from the filing of a bankruptcy petition by the parcel owner or by any other person claiming an interest in the parcel.

 (c)The association may bring an action in its name to foreclose a lien for assessments in the same manner in which a mortgage of real property is foreclosed and may also bring an action to recover a money judgment for the unpaid assessments without waiving any claim of lien. The association is entitled to recover its reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in an action to foreclose a lien or an action to recover a money judgment for unpaid assessments.

 (d)If the parcel owner remains in possession of the parcel after a foreclosure judgment has been entered, the court may require the parcel owner to pay a reasonable rent for the parcel. If the parcel is rented or leased during the pendency of the foreclosure action, the association is entitled to the appointment of a receiver to collect the rent. The expenses of the receiver must be paid by the party who does not prevail in the foreclosure action.

 (e)The association may purchase the parcel at the foreclosure sale and hold, lease, mortgage, or convey the parcel.

 (2)(a)A parcel owner, regardless of how his or her title to property has been acquired, including by purchase at a foreclosure sale or by deed in lieu of foreclosure, is liable for all assessments that come due while he or she is the parcel owner. The parcel owner’s liability for assessments may not be avoided by waiver or suspension of the use or enjoyment of any common area or by abandonment of the parcel upon which the assessments are made.

 (b)A parcel owner is jointly and severally liable with the previous parcel owner for all unpaid assessments that came due up to the time of transfer of title. This liability is without prejudice to any right the present parcel owner may have to recover any amounts paid by the present owner from the previous owner.

 (c)Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this section, the liability of a first mortgagee, or its successor or assignee as a subsequent holder of the first mortgage who acquires title to a parcel by foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure for the unpaid assessments that became due before the mortgagee’s acquisition of title, shall be the lesser of:

 1.The parcel’s unpaid common expenses and regular periodic or special assessments that accrued or came due during the 12 months immediately preceding the acquisition of title and for which payment in full has not been received by the association; or

 2.One percent of the original mortgage debt.

The limitations on first mortgagee liability provided by this paragraph apply only if the first mortgagee filed suit against the parcel owner and initially joined the association as a defendant in the mortgagee foreclosure action. Joinder of the association is not required if, on the date the complaint is filed, the association was dissolved or did not maintain an office or agent for service of process at a location that was known to or reasonably discoverable by the mortgagee.

 (d)An association, or its successor or assignee, that acquires title to a parcel through the foreclosure of its lien for assessments is not liable for any unpaid assessments, late fees, interest, or reasonable attorney’s fees and costs that came due before the association’s acquisition of title in favor of any other association, as defined in s. 718.103(2) or s. 720.301(9), which holds a superior lien interest on the parcel. This paragraph is intended to clarify existing law.

 (3)Assessments and installments on assessments that are not paid when due bear interest from the due date until paid at the rate provided in the declaration of covenants or the bylaws of the association, which rate may not exceed the rate allowed by law. If no rate is provided in the declaration or bylaws, interest accrues at the rate of 18 percent per year.

 (a)If the declaration or bylaws so provide, the association may also charge an administrative late fee not to exceed the greater of $25 or 5 percent of the amount of each installment that is paid past the due date.

 (b)Any payment received by an association and accepted shall be applied first to any interest accrued, then to any administrative late fee, then to any costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in collection, and then to the delinquent assessment. This paragraph applies notwithstanding any restrictive endorsement, designation, or instruction placed on or accompanying a payment. A late fee is not subject to the provisions of chapter 687 and is not a fine.

 (4)A homeowners’ association may not file a record of lien against a parcel for unpaid assessments unless a written notice or demand for past due assessments as well as any other amounts owed to the association pursuant to its governing documents has been made by the association. The written notice or demand must:

 (a)Provide the owner with 45 days following the date the notice is deposited in the mail to make payment for all amounts due, including, but not limited to, any attorney’s fees and actual costs associated with the preparation and delivery of the written demand.

 (b)United States

 (5)The association may bring an action in its name to foreclose a lien for unpaid assessments secured by a lien in the same manner that a mortgage of real property is foreclosed and may also bring an action to recover a money judgment for the unpaid assessments without waiving any claim of lien. The action to foreclose the lien may not be brought until 45 days after the parcel owner has been provided notice of the association’s intent to foreclose and collect the unpaid amount. The notice must be given in the manner provided in paragraph (4)(b), and the notice may not be provided until the passage of the 45 days required in paragraph (4)(a).

 (a)The association may recover any interest, late charges, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in a lien foreclosure action or in an action to recover a money judgment for the unpaid assessments.

 (b)The time limitations in this subsection do not apply if the parcel is subject to a foreclosure action or forced sale of another party, or if an owner of the parcel is a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding.

 (6)If after service of a summons on a complaint to foreclose a lien the parcel is not the subject of a mortgage foreclosure or a notice of tax certificate sale, the parcel owner is not a debtor in bankruptcy proceedings, or the trial of or trial docket for the lien foreclosure action is not set to begin within 30 days, the parcel owner may serve and file with the court a qualifying offer at any time before the entry of a foreclosure judgment. For purposes of this subsection, the term “qualifying offer” means a written offer to pay all amounts secured by the lien of the association plus amounts accruing during the pendency of the offer. The parcel owner may make only one qualifying offer during the pendency of a foreclosure action. If a parcel becomes the subject of a mortgage foreclosure or a notice of tax certificate sale while a qualifying offer is pending, the qualifying offer becomes voidable at the election of the association. If the parcel owner becomes a debtor in bankruptcy proceedings while a qualifying offer is pending, the qualifying offer becomes void.

 (a)The parcel owner shall deliver a copy of the filed qualifying offer to the association’s attorney by hand delivery, obtaining a written receipt, or by certified mail, return receipt requested.

 (b)The parcel owner’s filing of the qualifying offer with the court stays the foreclosure action for the period stated in the qualifying offer, which may not exceed 60 days following the date of service of the qualifying offer and no sooner than 30 days before the date of trial, arbitration, or the beginning of the trial docket, whichever occurs first, to permit the parcel owner to pay the qualifying offer to the association plus any amounts accruing during the pendency of the offer.

 (c)The qualifying offer must be in writing, be signed by all owners of the parcel and the spouse of any owner if the spouse resides in or otherwise claims a homestead interest in the parcel, be acknowledged by a notary public, and be in substantially the following form:

QUALIFYING OFFER
AUTOMATIC STAY INVOKED
PURSUANT TO F.S. 720.3085

I/We, [Name(s) of Parcel Owner(s)], admit the following:

The total amount due the association is secured by the lien of the association. 1.

2. The association is entitled to foreclose its claim of lien and obtain a  foreclosure judgment for the total amount due if I/we breach this qualifying offer by failing to pay the amount due by the date specified in this qualifying offer.

I/We will not permit the priority of the lien of the association or the amounts secured by the lien to be endangered. 3.

4. I/We hereby affirm that the date(s) by which the association will  receive $ [specify amount] as the total amount due is [specify date, no later than 60 days after the date of service of the qualifying offer and at least 30 days before the trial or arbitration date], in the following amounts and dates:

5. I/We hereby confirm that I/we have requested and have received from the  homeowners’ association a breakdown and total of all sums due the association and that the amount offered above is equal to or greater than the total amount provided by the association.

6. This qualifying offer operates as a stay to all portions of the  foreclosure action which seek to collect unpaid assessments as provided in s. 720.3085.

Signed:   (Signatures of all parcel owners and spouses, if any)  

Sworn to and subscribed this   (date)   day of   (month)  ,   (year)  , before the undersigned authority.

Notary Public:   (Signature of notary public)  

If the parcel owner makes a qualifying offer under this subsection, the association may not add the cost of any legal fees incurred by the association within the period of the stay other than costs acquired in defense of a mortgage foreclosure action concerning the parcel, a bankruptcy proceeding in which the parcel owner is a debtor, or in response to filings by a party other than the association in the lien foreclosure action of the association.

 (7)If the parcel owner breaches the qualifying offer, the stay shall be vacated and the association may proceed in its action to obtain a foreclosure judgment against the parcel and the parcel owners for the amount in the qualifying offer and any amounts accruing after the date of the qualifying offer.

 (8)(a)If the parcel is occupied by a tenant and the parcel owner is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association, the association may demand that the tenant pay to the association the subsequent rental payments and continue to make such payments until all the monetary obligations of the parcel owner related to the parcel have been paid in full to the association and the association releases the tenant or until the tenant discontinues tenancy in the parcel.

 1.United States

Pursuant to section 720.3085(8), Florida Statutes, we demand that you make your rent payments directly to the homeowners’ association and continue doing so until the association notifies you otherwise.

Payment due the homeowners’ association may be in the same form as you paid your landlord and must be sent by United States mail or hand delivery to   (full address)  , payable to   (name)  .

Your obligation to pay your rent to the association begins immediately, unless you have already paid rent to your landlord for the current period before receiving this notice. In that case, you must provide the association written proof of your payment within 14 days after receiving this notice and your obligation to pay rent to the association would then begin with the next rental period.

Pursuant to section 720.3085(8), Florida Statutes, your payment of rent to the association gives you complete immunity from any claim for the rent by your landlord.

 2.A tenant is immune from any claim by the parcel owner related to the rent timely paid to the association after the association has made written demand.

 (b)If the tenant paid rent to the landlord or parcel owner for a given rental period before receiving the demand from the association and provides written evidence to the association of having paid the rent within 14 days after receiving the demand, the tenant shall begin making rental payments to the association for the following rental period and shall continue making rental payments to the association to be credited against the monetary obligations of the parcel owner until the association releases the tenant or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit. The association shall, upon request, provide the tenant with written receipts for payments made. The association shall mail written notice to the parcel owner of the association’s demand that the tenant pay monetary obligations to the association.

 (c)The liability of the tenant may not exceed the amount due from the tenant to the tenant’s landlord. The tenant shall be given a credit against rents due to the landlord in the amount of assessments paid to the association.

 (d)The association may issue notice under s. 83.56 and sue for eviction under ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a landlord under part II of chapter 83 if the tenant fails to pay a monetary obligation. However, the association is not otherwise considered a landlord under chapter 83 and specifically has no obligations under s. 83.51.

 (e)The tenant does not, by virtue of payment of monetary obligations, have any of the rights of a parcel owner to vote in any election or to examine the books and records of the association.

 (f)A court may supersede the effect of this subsection by appointing a receiver.

History.—s. 1, ch. 2007-183; s. 1, ch. 2008-175; s. 26, ch. 2010-174; s. 20, ch. 2011-196.

 720.30851Estoppel certificates.—Within 15 days after the date on which a request for an estoppel certificate is received from a parcel owner or mortgagee, or his or her designee, the association shall provide a certificate signed by an officer or authorized agent of the association stating all assessments and other moneys owed to the association by the parcel owner or mortgagee with respect to the parcel. An association may charge a fee for the preparation of such certificate, and the amount of such fee must be stated on the certificate.

 (1)Any person other than a parcel owner who relies upon a certificate receives the benefits and protection thereof.

 (2)A summary proceeding pursuant to s. 51.011 may be brought to compel compliance with this section, and the prevailing party is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees.

 (3)The authority to charge a fee for the certificate shall be established by a written resolution adopted by the board or provided by a written management, bookkeeping, or maintenance contract and is payable upon the preparation of the certificate. If the certificate is requested in conjunction with the sale or mortgage of a parcel but the closing does not occur and no later than 30 days after the closing date for which the certificate was sought the preparer receives a written request, accompanied by reasonable documentation, that the sale did not occur from a payor that is not the parcel owner, the fee shall be refunded to that payor within 30 days after receipt of the request. The refund is the obligation of the parcel owner, and the association may collect it from that owner in the same manner as an assessment as provided in this section.

History.—s. 7, ch. 2008-240.

720.3086Financial report.—In a residential subdivision in which the owners of lots or parcels must pay mandatory maintenance or amenity fees to the subdivision developer or to the owners of the common areas, recreational facilities, and other properties serving the lots or parcels, the developer or owner of such areas, facilities, or properties shall make public, within 60 days following the end of each fiscal year, a complete financial report of the actual, total receipts of mandatory maintenance or amenity fees received by it, and an itemized listing of the expenditures made by it from such fees, for that year. Such report shall be made public by mailing it to each lot or parcel owner in the subdivision, by publishing it in a publication regularly distributed within the subdivision, or by posting it in prominent locations in the subdivision. This section does not apply to amounts paid to homeowner associations pursuant to chapter 617, chapter 718, chapter 719, chapter 721, or chapter 723, or to amounts paid to local governmental entities, including special districts.

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