Most community association governing documents require the association to provide an annual budget to each homeowner with the assessments for the coming year and their due dates, as well as a certificate setting forth the amount of current assessments upon request. If an owner becomes delinquent in their assessment payments, Florida law calls for associations to issue a demand letter to the owner outlining the amounts that are outstanding. If such demands prove unsuccessful after 45 days (30 days for condominiums), associations may then file a claim of lien against the owner’s residence for the assessment amount due.
A recent ruling by the state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal highlights not only the significance of associations complying with these provisions of their governing documents, but also the implications of a mistake in the calculation of the “assessment amount due” in determining the ultimate validity of an association’s claim of lien pursuant to Section 720.3085, Florida Statutes. In Pash v. Mahogany Way Homeowners Association, the HOA filed a foreclosure against unit-owner Gary Pash claiming he had failed to pay outstanding quarterly assessments and costs. Both parties filed dueling summary judgment motions, and the circuit court ultimately entered summary judgment for the HOA and denied summary judgment for the owner.