Homeowners who do not pay their regular and special assessments are subject to foreclosure. They also could have a personal money judgment entered against them.
If the community takes action, the homeowner would be responsible for attorney fees, interest and administrative fees, in addition to the assessment amount. These costs can add up, and I have seen many instances in which the costs are much more than the unpaid assessment.
This is a serious matter, and many homeowners don't understand the consequences. If you receive a bill you don't agree with, contact the association. If it is not quickly corrected, in writing, pay the bill before continuing to fight the charge. This will stop additional costs from accruing.
I know how frustrating it is to pay for something that you're disputing, but it's important to stop additional fees from building up. You can continue to seek reimbursement without digging yourself into a deeper hole on the chance that the charge is indeed valid.
If enough members of your association dispute a special assessment, or if you think it might have been levied improperly, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.
About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.
DREAMING OF BUYING A HOME? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU
"Michael is, by far, the best realtor I have worked with. He is extremely proactive in taking steps to both find you the right home, but more importantly help you get it. Living remotely, Michael managed all the "leg work" required around inspections, obtaining elevation certificates, and obtaining general information needed to close. Michael was always readily available and provides very quick answers to questions. He stayed on top of the closing process and ensured I knew what to do and by when. This was very helpful never having purchased a home in Florida. Additionally, Michael took the time to show me the local area and key points of interest. I highly recommend using Michael as your realtor!"