05Jun
By: Sean Murrell On: June 5, 2012 In: Community Association Legal Advice Comments: 0

The collection of rents provision in Florida Statutes 718.116 and 720.3085 was designed to eliminate the situation where an owner is delinquent in paying their assessments, yet is collecting rent from a tenant.  This is a very powerful tool for Associations that allows them to require tenants to pay their rent directly to the Association or face legal consequences. The tenant receives credit for having paid their rent, and if they refuse, the Association is authorized by statute to move for eviction as if they were the landlord.

There was widespread confusion when the statute was initially enacted as to whether the Association was able to collect the entire amount of the rent payment or only the portion which represented the monthly assessment amount.  This was because the initial language read that the Association could force payment of “future monetary obligations”.  The conservative interpretation of that language was that only the future monthly assessment amount could be taken by the Association and not any amount directed towards the arrearages of the delinquent owner.  However, in July of 2011, House Bill 1195 went into effect which clarified this language and made it clear that ALL of the rent can be taken by the Association; used to pay, not only, the portion which reflects the monthly assessment, but the remaining rent could be applied towards the owner’s delinquency amount until the account was paid off in full.  At that point, the Association can continue to force a portion of the rent to be paid directly to the Association to keep current on monthly assessment amounts due moving forward.

This legal mechanism can be brought against owners/tenants in this situation with minimal effort and costs involved, and is a tool all Associations should be taking advantage of.

Murrell Law specializes in assisting Associations in matters such as this and would be happy to discuss this further with your community.  For more information please see our section on Delinquent Assessment Collections or contact us directly for a free consultation.

Statutory Language on Collection of Rents:
Fla. Stat. § 718.116(11):

If the unit is occupied by a tenant and the unit 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 subsequent rental payments and continue to make such payments until all monetary obligations of the unit owner related to the unit have been paid in full to the association. The tenant must pay the monetary obligations to the association until the association releases the tenant or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the unit.

Fla. Stat. § 720.3085(8):

If the parcel is occupied by a tenant and the parcel owner is delinquent in paying any monetary obligation due to the association, the association may demand that the tenant pay to the association the future monetary obligations related to the parcel. The demand is continuing in nature, and upon demand, the tenant must continue to pay the monetary obligations until the association releases the tenant or the tenant discontinues tenancy in the parcel. A tenant who acts in good faith in response to a written demand from an association is immune from any claim from the parcel owner.

Eviction clause under both chapters:

The association may issue notice under s. 83.56 and sue for eviction under ss. 83.59-83.625 as if the association were a landlord under part II of chapter 83 if the tenant fails to pay a required payment to the association after written demand has been made to the tenant. However, the association is not otherwise considered a landlord under chapter 83 and specifically has no obligations under s. 83.51.