Condominium association lawyers at our firm and throughout Florida are working closely with their clients to help them take advantage of several important changes to The Condominium Act. One of the most significant new measures affecting many properties throughout South Florida, this new law is causing a great deal of confusion and disputes.
The problem appears to be with the lack of specificity provided in the law regarding how and when community associations are able to collect the rent payment directly from the tenants of unit owners who are delinquent in their payment of monetary obligations to the associations, including assessments. The law simply states that associations have the right to collect the rental payments directly from the tenants of unit owners who are not meeting their financial obligations and may use same to pay future monetary obligations. It also prohibits the unit owners from evicting their tenants for complying with the law and paying the rent directly to the association.
As tenants and their delinquent owners begin to receive these requests for direct payment of the rents to the associations, disputes are arising from unit owners who refuse to comply and threaten their tenants with eviction. This scenario is playing out in scores of properties in South Florida and throughout the state, as the law went into effect on July 1 and there are thousands of condominium owners in Florida who are collecting rent without paying their fees to their association.
It is our recommendation to our clients that tenants who are confused and concerned with the direct payment request should be made aware of the language of the new statute which provides that the unit owner is legally barred from evicting their tenant for complying with the new law and the association’s demand for payment. They should also be directed to the section of the new law which grants the associations the right to evict the tenants for their failure to comply and make their future rental payments directly to the association as requested. Board members and property managers should seek counsel and guidance from the association’s attorneys as to the best method of communicating the suggested message to both the tenant and their delinquent landlord.
While the new law does not clearly delineate how the rental payments from a tenant are to be obtained and applied to the unit owner’s delinquent account, condominium association attorneys at our firm are working closely with our clients to issue these requests for the rental payments and respond to any questions or concerns by the tenants and their landlords.