In an unexpected decision reverting from more than two decades of case law, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal reconsidered its position on the question of whether condominium association fees qualify as debts under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. The new opinion, which comes in a unanimous decision by all 11 judges of the Fifth DCA, redefines the term “consumer debt” under the FCCPA with its finding that obligations to pay condominium assessments may be considered debts under the FCCPA.
The appellate court’s decision in Williams v. Salt Springs Resort Association reversed the lower court’s ruling that dismissed the case in favor of the association and its property management company. In Williams, an association and property management company were sued after publicly posting a list of names of more than 100 delinquent unit owners along with the balance due by each owner. Williams, one of the owners whose name appeared on the list, filed a class action complaint against the association and the property management company asserting the public posting of “deadbeat lists” to enforce the collection of consumer debt amounted to a violation under the FCCPA.
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