Monday, August 19, 2013

Update to Bankruptcy Guide - In re: Valcarcel

A few months ago I wrote a post titled "Bankruptcy filed by Condo what?" Based on some of the feedback I received people questioned aspects of the analysis and what money could be collected. Bankruptcy is a tricky area and my analysis was based on the legal concepts as I understood them.  At the time there was not specific legal authority addressing the issues I brought up.  Then two weeks ago the Southern District of Florida come down with In re Valcarcel, 13–10303–BKC–AJC .  

The facts of the case are this: Condo owner in Miami filed for bankruptcy, named the association as an unsecured creditor, association failed to respond, and the association's debt was discharged (the association has not filed a lien on the property yet). Some years later, the association filed foreclosure on the unit seeking not only the amounts owed since the bankruptcy was filed but ALSO those amounts before the bankruptcy and which were allegedly discharged.  

The Bankruptcy Court had two major rulings 1) the condo owner was personally liable for assessments since the date of filing the petition forward. 2) the association could foreclose on the condo unit and seek collection of ALL amounts owed, pre and post petition for bankruptcy.

So what should a board member take away from this case??? Just because an owner files for bankruptcy doesn't mean the association is going to get nothing. If the owner/debtor plans to keep the unit after filing bankruptcy there's a strong likelihood the association will get most, if not all, of the unpaid assessments. 

Like I say most of the time though, bankruptcy is a technical area of the law and you must be careful about when and to whom demands are made. It's worth it to contact your attorney and make sure these thing are done correctly.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Collecting Rent from a Delinquent Owner

I cannot tell you how many times I get asked about collecting rent on a delinquent owner's home or unit. Here's the owner in an association is delinquent in paying assessment, meanwhile they are renting their house or unit and presumable keeping the rent. Typically they are not using the rent to pay the association or the bank.  Can the association collect the rent? How does it going about doing so? Click through to find out....

Friday, August 2, 2013

Why I got my CAM license?

There's been a lack of posts over the last few weeks mainly because I've been spending my spare time studying for the community association managers (CAM) license exam. I took the test last weekend in Tallahassee and Spoiler Alert...i passed the test ( first try :) ). I wanted explain why I got my CAM license, provide some suggestions for others interesting in getting their license, and finally share my thoughts on the exam itself.   

Monday, July 15, 2013

How and When to Levy a Fine and Suspend Rights of Owners

Associations often face situations when owners violate the governing rules of the association. These violations literally span the scope of imagination. Boards seem well aware that fining and suspending certain rights are mechanisms available to enforce rules, but there are often misunderstandings on the process to properly implement and enforce them. Click through for a guide on suspending owners right and for levying and collecting condominium fines...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Florida House Bill 7119 - Who is the "previous owner"?

Governor Scott recently signed House Bill 7119 - Homeowners Associations (HB 7119) into law. One of the key provisions of this bill is that the association is now exempt from the definition of "previous owner" when it come to the "safe harbor."  In a previous post, legislative summary, it mentions that there will be more discussion on what this provision exactly means for associations. Follow the jump to see what impact this will have on homeowners associations across the state, and what impact it wont have?????

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What is an estoppel letter?

Most owners know that when they want to buy or sell their unit or house that they need to contact the community association, or its attorney, to get an estoppel letter.  Both the Florida Condominium Act and Florida Chapter regarding homeowners associations specifically devote sections to estoppel letters a/k/a certificates of assessments. See 718.116(8) and 720.30851. But what does an estoppel letter do, why is is needed, what's required to be in the estoppel letter, and why is it called "estoppel" anyways? through to read on.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bankruptcy filed by condo what???

An owner in our community filed for bankruptcy...what can and should we do?  Even though the worst of the real estate crisis is behind us, this is still a common question facing association boards. Ever heard of an "automatic stay?" How about the owner doesn't want to pay assessments because they "surrendered" the property to the bank? Or, had an owner say "I don't have to pay assessments anymore because I filed for bankruptcy?" Click on the jump for a complete tutorial on bankruptcy for community associations....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Impact of the 2013 Florida Legislative Session / New Laws Relevant to Associations

All of the major bills passed by the Florida Legislature have now been signed into law by Florida Governor Scott. These bills include House Bill 73 - Residential Properties, House Bill 87 - Mortgage Foreclosure, House Bill 7119 - Homeowner's Associations, and House Bill 77 - Landlords Tenants.  Below is a brief summary including the key points of each bill along with commentary regarding the pro/cons and practical implications of each bill....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Selective Enforcement of Rules and Waiver of Covenants

What do you mean I can't build a fence??.... my neighbor has a fence!

You waived late fees for them....why can't you waive late fees for me???

I can't have a sign on my truck??? my neighbor has a sign on their truck, they just aren't here during the day so people don't see it.

There are many examples of situations when the uniformity of enforcing rules is put into question. This post will address what a Board should do to maintain rules and regulations, what happens when a Board has been enforcing rules against some and not others, and how to reestablish those rules that haven't been enforced.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What to do when a board member resigns?

Be around an association long enough and you will at some point face the resignation of a board member.  Board members resign for reasons ranging from the innocent (like selling a unit or lack of time to devote to the association) to the contentious (a heated argument amongst directors leads to a resignation). Click though to read how and when to fill the vacancy of an officer or director of an association...

Governor signs Foreclosure Bill (HB 87) - What it means for your association?

On Friday, June 7, Governor Scott signed House Bill 87 (HB 87) relating to Mortgage Foreclosures into law. What this mean for your association and a new weapon to fight stalled mortgage foreclosures.... 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Guide to Pet Ownership/Restrictions in Condominium

There's hardly a more emotionally charged and contentious issues than regulating pet ownership in a community.  According to the Human Society, 39% of American homes have at least one dog and 33% have at least one cat. Yet, due to close proximity of condo style living, it's difficult to have an unregulated pet policy without infringing on the rights of non-pet owning individuals in the community. Click the jump to find tips for implementing an effective pet ownership policy and how to enforce those policies.....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3 Keys For Collecting Past Due Assessments

Every community association at one time or another deals with collecting past due assessments. Whether the owner isn't paying assessments due to financial constraints, they're withholding payment because of a disagreement with the board, or they've abandoned responsibilities for the property, click through to find 3 keys to collecting unpaid assessments.....