As we reported earlier this month, Senate Bill 56 was signed into law and will go into effect on July 1, 2021. The new law makes changes to the notice requirements of foreclosure actions for condominiums. Specifically, the changes require associations to send a notice to owners of unpaid assessments before an account is sent to a law firm for collections:
d) An association may not require payment of attorney fees related to a past due assessment without first delivering a written notice of late assessment to the parcel owner which specifies the amount owed the association and provides the parcel owner an opportunity to pay the amount owed without the assessment of attorney fees. The notice of late assessment must be sent by first-class United States mail to the owner at his or her last address as reflected in the association’s records and, if such address is not the parcel address, must also be sent by first-class United States mail to the parcel address. Notice is deemed to have been delivered upon mailing as required by this paragraph. A rebuttable presumption that an association mailed a notice in accordance with this paragraph is established if a board member, officer, or agent of the association, or a manager licensed under part VIII of chapter 468, provides a sworn affidavit attesting to such mailing. The notice must be in substantially the following form:
NOTICE OF LATE ASSESSMENT
RE: Parcel . . . of . . . (name of association) . . .
The following amounts are currently due on your account to . . . (name of association) . . ., and must be paid within 30 days after the date of this letter. This letter shall serve as the association’s notice to proceed with further collection action against your property no sooner than 30 days after the date of this letter, unless you pay in full the amounts set forth below:
Maintenance due . . . (dates) . . . $. . .
Late fee, if applicable $. . .
Interest through . . . (dates) . . .* $. . .
TOTAL OUTSTANDING $. . .
*Interest accrues at the rate of . . . percent per annum
Accordingly, community associations interested in sending delinquent accounts to collections must provide a copy of the ledger, deed and now also a copy of the above-described “Notice of Late Assessment” first issued by the association directly to the owner(s). Additionally, while condominium owners previously had thirty days from the issuance of a demand letter to bring their account current prior to an association proceeding on their account under Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, the new law now provides condominium owners with forty-five days – which is the same duration provided to homeowners under Chapter 720, Florida Statutes.
Should you have any questions on these changes, please feel free to contact us directly. Our firm’s other South Florida community association attorneys and I write regularly in this blog about important issues such as this for associations, and we encourage condo association and HOA directors, members and property managers to enter their email address in the subscription box on the right to automatically receive all our future articles.