The Florida Supreme Court’s most recent decision on March 31st, 2011 which affects all community associations. In the case of, Cohn v The Grand Condominium Association Inc., the Florida Supreme Court has issued a ruling that effects all amendments to governing documents of associations. The court held that when a document refers to a statute, unless it specifically states “As amended from time to time,” the statute that was in effect at the time they were recorded is the statute that has authority. This also affects documents that do not have amendment provisions within them. The ruling also implies that the documents cannot be amended unless specific language is used.
What you need to know to stop your property from being foreclosed and sold:
- Your association cannot refuse your checks. If it has been turned over to an attorney, send you assessment payment to the attorney. In accordance with state law, the payment will be applied to attorneys’ fees first, then lien fees, interest, late fees and collection costs, and assessments get paid last.
- Pay your assessments even though the above formula applies. If you continue to pay your assessments and whatever extra you can afford, the amount will not increase and the chances of a foreclosure decrease. The courts have ruled that attorneys could not in good faith bring a lawsuit to foreclose a home for miniscule amounts.
- If you have been served with a foreclosure for an assessment lien, contact an attorney immediately.Do not try to resolve this on your own. The Florida Legislature recognizes that homeowners are at a disadvantage in litigating with their associations. They are at a bigger disadvantage in litigating against an attorney. Your home is at stake and the association could foreclose and sell your home, putting you out on the street!
- If you cannot afford an attorney contact your local bar association or the Florida Bar for a referral to their pro bono program or their low-cost or “modest means” program. Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. is trying to point homeowners threatened by foreclosure in the right direction, givin firstname.lastname@example.org
- REMEMBER: Never withhold your payment!