QUESTION: My husband and I rent a condo. We like the owners who have been nice to us but they mentioned that they are having trouble paying condo fees and have fallen behind. How might this impact us?
ANSWER: You are wise to be asking this question before it becomes a real problem. Hopefully, that won't happen.
When an owner is delinquent in monetary obligations to the association, after proper notice has been provided to the tenant and the owner, all subsequent rental payments must be made directly to the association until all monetary obligations of the unit owner or owners have been paid in full to the association. The impact of this on you would be negligible.
It could be worse. if the owners were violating rules or regulations, they could be fined. In addition, after a notice and a hearing, an association can "suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the right of a unit owner, or a unit owner's tenant, guest, or invitee, to use the common elements, common facilities or any other association property." This penalty can be used for failure to comply with any provision of the declaration, the association bylaws or reasonable rules of the association.
The association can continue to suspend the use rights if the owner is more than 90 days delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association. No notice or hearing is required for the failure to pay. The suspension must be approved at a properly noticed board meeting. The owner must also be notified by mail or hand delivery.
The owners would have additional repercussions if they failed to pay but these do not impact you. An association can suspend the voting rights of a unit or member due to non-payment of any monetary obligation that is more than 90 days delinquent after approval at a properly noticed board meeting. The violator must be notified by mail or hand delivery.
The real danger is that the owners have a mortgage and have not been able to keep current those payments. If you believe that the unit might go into foreclosure, you should seek the advice of an attorney.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., in Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.