Condo lien placed on unit, not owner
Q: Can a lien be placed on a unit that is delinquent? Would the lien be placed against the owner or the unit? Is there a state law that prohibits the lien on condominium units that are behind in their fees?
A: All types of associations have similar laws to allow liens on delinquent accounts. In condominiums, you will find that FS 718.121 refers to liens. Associations have some of the most powerful tools to collect delinquent accounts. If an owner does not pay, the association can take title to the unit and evict the residents. Liens are placed against the unit and not the owner; however, the owner's name will appear on the lien and thus the owner will have possible credit problems. I have urged boards to act quickly in putting a lien on delinquent units. Boards that don't act immediately will find it difficult to collect because of the large sums that build. By quickly, I refer to three collection letters sent within the first 60 days, then turning the collections over to an attorney. If the owner does not pay within 30 to 60 days, instruct the attorney to start foreclosure.
Specialty parking? There's a fee for that
Q: I question a charge imposed by our cooperative for parking boats and recreational vehicles. The area that we use is a green belt area that is nontaxable. We have other amenities and common-use properties that can be used without any charges. We also have parking lots where cars can park without any charges. Since this income is free money, is it taxable? How can the board impose such charges?
A: Many associations that have special parking areas for boats and RVs have them listed in their documents. Sometimes the need arises from the members, and the board establishes areas to park boats and RVs with members' approval. If the association has such an area, there are expenses that the association will incur including insurance, security and maintenance. I am not sure what you mean by the area is nontaxable. There is always some expense to maintain any area and a property tax liability. Although some associations' common areas may not pay tax or limited tax — FS 193.023(5) — I am sure that it is on the county tax list. Any income must be reported on the IRS annual tax filings.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.