DIRECT PAYMENT OF RENT TO ASSOCIATIONS
FROM TENANTS OF DELINQUENT OWNERS
Effective July 1, 2010, Florida Statutes 718.116(11) (Condominium Associations) and 720.3085(8) (Homeowners Associations) now provide associations with a new tool to collect delinquent assessments.
If a condominium unit or single family dwelling is occupied by a tenant and the owner is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association, the association may make a written demand that the tenant pay to the association the future monetary obligations related to the unit/dwelling (in other words, demand that the tenant pay his/her rent to the association).
* Once the association makes a written demand, the tenant must make such payments to the association.
* Once a demand is made by the association, it is continuing in nature meaning that the tenant must continue to pay the association until the association releases the tenant in writing or the tenant discontinues the tenancy.
* The association must also mail to the owner a written notice of the association’s demand that the tenant pay rent to the association. The association shall, upon request, provide the tenant with written receipts for payments made.
* A tenant who acts in good faith in response to a written demand from an association is immune from any claim from the owner.
* If the tenant prepaid rent to the unit owner before receiving the demand from the association and provides written evidence to the association of paying the rent within 14 days after receiving the demand, the tenant shall receive credit for the prepaid rent.
* The tenant is not liable for increases in the amount of the monetary obligations due unless the tenant was notified in writing of the increase at least 10 days before the date the rent is due.
* The liability of the tenant may not exceed the amount due from the tenant to the tenant’s landlord.
* The tenant’s landlord shall provide the tenant a credit against rents due to the landlord in the amount of monies paid to the association under this section.
* The association may sue for eviction, as if the association were a landlord, if the tenant fails to pay rent to the association.
* By virtue of such payments to the association, the tenant does not acquire any rights to vote in any election or to examine the books and records of the association.
Procedures to Implement Direct Payment
Because using direct rent payment to collect delinquent amounts is optional, the association board must notice a meeting and vote to utilize this procedure. The association must then identify those delinquent owners whose unit/dwelling is currently occupied by a tenant. Ideally, if your governing documents give the association the ability to either approve rentals, or require submission of a copy of all leases, you already have that information, and possibly the amount of the monthly rental. Once you have compiled the list of units/dwellings subject to the new procedure, you must send a written notice to the tenant to pay the rent directly to the association. Please note that a copy of the notice must also be mailed to the dwelling owner/landlord. If you need assistance in the drafting of a notice to tenant which complies with the statutory requirements, Taylor & Carls, P.A. will prepare a notice for your association. Your association can then utilize this form for subsequent notices it wishes to send.
Once your demand has been sent, please note the following:
* If the tenant requests, you must be prepared to provide a written receipt for payments made.
* The tenant is only liable to pay rent to the association up to the amount owed by the owner to the association. Therefore, when the debt to the association is paid in full, either through application of the rent or through other sources, you must notify the tenant in writing to stop forwarding the rental payments. If the tenant provides written evidence to you within 14 days after receiving the notice that the tenant has already prepaid some rent, you must give the tenant credit for the prepaid rent.
* If, in a given month, or other rental period, the amount owed to the association is less than the amount of rent paid by the tenant to the landlord, the tenant should send the portion of the rent not paid to the association to the landlord. If this situation arises immediately after the association has increased the amount due from the owner, the association must notify the tenant of the increased amount at least 10 days before the rent is due. This should be a rare occurrence, as in most cases the amount due each month will exceed the amount of rent.
Finally, the remedy provided in the Statute if the tenant fails to pay the rent directly to the association is an eviction by the association.
Residential eviction is regulated by Florida Statute Chapter 83. Its procedures and time periods must be strictly followed. If you need assistance with evictions, please contact Taylor & Carls, P.A.
The firm of Taylor & Carls, P.A., with offices located in Altamonte Springs, Clearwater and Palm Coast, Florida, was founded in 1981 and has practiced in the area of community association law since that date. This edition was prepared by Harry W. Carls, Esq. of Taylor & Carls, P.A. The information contained in The Association e-Lawyer should not be acted upon without professional legal advice. The opinions expressed herein are as of the date hereof, and this law firm undertakes no obligation to advise the Association of subsequent changes in the law.
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