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Condo association, hoa, final judgment

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

how do an association place a lien and even get a final judgment against someone? Does the home owner have any recourse? Do any judge just believe the association? Does the judge have to listen to other party? It would be unfair if you can put a lien on someone's house if that person does not have a right. I spoke to two residents. That is exact what happen to them. Please help.

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Attorney answers 3


Condominium associations have to have to collect dues and assessments to have the money to maintain the common areas. If unit owners do not pay their dues, the association can put a lien on the condominium unit and foreclose that lien. The only defense that the unit owner would have to this suit is that the unit owner actually paid the dues. If you are unsure of your rights and responsibilities as a condominium unit owner, you should consult a lawyer in your area.

Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.


Condo associations (COA) and HOAs rely on assessments to pay for the expenses of the association. Rarely does an association have income from any other source then the assessments it collects from members. There are a number of misconceptions about the duty to pay assessments and the power of the associations to lien and foreclose. Here are some of the most frequent ones I encounter:

1. If a bank or any other entity has foreclosed, the association cannot. This is completely FALSE. The association can foreclose much more quickly than a bank or mortgage company because they are the original creditor and have not sold off the debt or transferred it to a third party.

2. If a member does not like the way the association is being run or they are not using the money to keep the property up, payment can be withheld. This is completely FALSE. There is no defense to not paying assessments in the State of Florida. The judges do not want to hear it and by law, they cannot consider it. They will listen to arguments if you did pay your assessments and the association has bad accounting habits or refused your payment, but to not pay at all will cost you your home. Trying to fight them is very expensive.

3. If the assessments are paid they cannot take the home for the attorneys' fees, interest and late fees. This is completely FALSE. By statute the payments are applied to all fees and costs first and assessments last, so unless you pay these, you will lose your home.

Your best option when running into trouble with a past due assessment issue is to either negotiate a payment plan or overpay the amount of the demand rather than trying to get a payoff from the attorney who will bill you for every communication.

This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at


If someone does not pay the the association, the assoication sends some bills; then if they don't get paid, they put a lien; then if they don't get paid they foreclose. As Mr. D said, the only defense is 1 you paid or 2 you paid MORE than they are saying you paid. They have a right to do all this stuff and the reason the judges believe the association is because the tenant or homeowner did not defend or did not defend the right way.