Defective Claims of Lien
Wrongful HOA Liens in Florida
Florida statutes provide for specific information which must be included in an association claim of lien to be valid. Many times, association attorney’s include amounts which are not accurate or not permissible under Florida law. Some categories of charges on a claim of lien which are usually not accurate include: interest charges (typically capped at 18% per annum), certified mail charges, collection fees, and amounts outside the statute of limitations.
Impermissible or Inaccurate Charges
More often than not, when put under scrutiny, the association attorney includes charges which were never incurred by the association or are a gross over-estimation of the actual charges incurred. For example, the claim of lien lists a $50.00 charge for certified mail, but only one or two certified letters have been sent to the homeowner, this charge is probably inaccurate. Moreover, the postage cost may be included in a flat fee charged by the association attorney to the association for collection work. The most obvious inaccuracy in a claim of lien is usually a claim which reaches beyond the statute of limitations.
When a claim of lien is inaccurate, it is defective and the lien foreclosure process must start anew if the association wishes to move forward.
Expired Condominium Liens
Florida Statute Ch. 718 provides that a condominium association’s claim of lien automatically expires after one year if no lien foreclosure action has been commenced (with limited exceptions involving bankruptcy). If a condo association proceeds to prosecute a lien foreclosure action on an expired claim of lien, the action must be dismissed. The condo association must start anew.
Defective and expired claims of lien expose the association and/or its attorneys to liability under several consumer protection statutes including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act (FCCPA), and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). FDCPA and FCCPA claims allow recovery of actual damages, statutory damages up to $1,000.00, plus attorney’s fees and costs. FDUTPA allows for recovery of actual damages plus attorney’s fees and costs.
HOA Lien? HOA Defenders Can Help
At HOA Defenders, we carefully evaluate your HOA situation to determine an effective legal plan of action. Our team of licensed Florida real estate attorneys bring years of industry experience in defective claims of lien and will aggressively fight the association on behalf of the owner. If you are a homeowner facing defective claims of lien such as impermissible or inaccurate charges or expired condominium liens, contact the professionals at HOA Defenders to explore your legal options and defend your property rights.
Florida Homeowners’ Defense Against HOA Foreclosure
For more information on how you can fight back against defective claims of lien and HOA foreclosure, contact the attorneys at HOA Defenders today. Schedule your free consultation by giving us a call at 561-340-4577.