A recent ruling by a Palm Beach Circuit Court judge represents a potentially significant boon for Florida HOAs and condo associations that wish to collect the rent from Section 8 Housing Voucher program tenants who are leasing from unit owners who become delinquent in their monthly association fees. The municipal housing authority involved in the case declined to pay its share of the rent for the unit occupied by a Section 8 tenant, arguing that Florida Statute 720.3085(8) does not apply to them. The judge in this case ruled that the law does indeed apply to these types of government agencies and mandated that the West Palm Beach Housing Authority begin making the payments in question directly to the association.
Since the ruling comes from a circuit court, it does not set a binding precedent, and other courts in the state could rule differently on the matter. However, the ruling should prove to be very persuasive for other judges facing the exact same question about the applicability of the law to municipal housing authorities administrating the Section 8 program. The law was established last year to allow community associations to collect rent directly from tenants leasing units from owners who default on their association fees, and it was modified during the last legislative session to clarify that associations can collect the rent for past-due assessments.
In light of this ruling, it is reasonable to presume that Florida municipal housing authority directors and administrators will use it as guidance in future cases and become more inclined to comply with requests by community associations to pay their share of the monthly rental payments for Section 8 tenants directly to HOAs and condominium associations. Community association attorneys at our firm and elsewhere will be sure to make the local housing agencies aware of this ruling when presenting them with requests for rental payments to be made to associations.
Our attorneys who focus on community association matters will continue to monitor and write about the issues affecting HOAs and condominium associations in the state, and we encourage association directors and members as well as property managers to submit their e-mail address in the subscription box on the right in order to automatically receive all of our future blog posts.