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
"Mike is top flight! If you are buying or selling you won't find anyone who is any better. Mike has the "whatever it takes" mentality. He will make the extra effort and take the time to see to it that you are satisfied. We just purchased a home in Plant City, closed in just over 2 weeks! He set us up with the right people to get things done. I will be using Mike again in the future to sell my dads house in Tampa (Palma Ceia)."