Firm shareholder Michael L. Hyman authored an article that was featured as the “Board of Contributors” guest commentary column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Appellate Ruling Bolstering Association Collections Conflicts With Prior Rulings,” discusses how Florida condominium associations, especially properties under the jurisdiction of the First District Court of Appeal in the panhandle and north Florida, have received a powerful new collections weapon with a recent ruling. Michael writes that the new First DCA opinion, which includes a certified conflict with several prior rulings by the Third District Court of Appeal, should be taken up by the Florida Supreme Court. His article reads:
. . . In Coastal Creek Condominium Association v. FLA Trust Services, the case hinged on whether the current owner’s shared liability with the previous owner for unpaid association dues was limited solely to the assessments that accrued during the ownership of the most recent previous owner. The unit involved in the case was acquired via auction after the mortgage lender’s foreclosure, and the company that acquired it transferred the property via quit claim deed to an LLC just six weeks later.
The question for the court was whether the condominium association’s collections from the new owner were limited only to those for the intervening owner’s six weeks or could it also still collect on the significant debts of the original owner who lost the unit to foreclosure?
The trial court ruled that the new owner was only responsible for the assessments that came due during its ownership and the immediate prior owner’s six-week ownership, but not any additional assessments from the original owner.