First, we at Gray Systems, Inc. want to wish the best to all of our clients and industry colleagues for the holidays. This has been a very unusual and difficult year and we hope everyone is safe and secure as we move to the new year. We look back and still find many things to be grateful for. We were able to continue to provide our education programs and satisfy our client’s needs for their education.
Our team members performed as always to assist and serve our students and clients and we are all well and safe. And you, our clients, have inspired all as we have worked through one of the most difficult times of our lifetime and we are all moving forward and adjusting our services to satisfy the needs of all of you and your customers. We can all thank the resiliency of our profession and know we will do what it takes to make the community association management profession do what it is determined to do, and that is to satisfy the needs of our associations and our owners.
This is the end of the year and the time for annual membership meetings, elections and all of the other great parts of the community association world. It is also budget time and I know from the questions I receive, many of you are in that process.
I want to mention one issue that comes up often in my discussions with managers which deals with placing pressure on delinquent owners to try to get them to pay by publishing a list of delinquent owners and posting it somewhere on the property. I presume all managers know this is not a good idea. I do know that managers are often asked why the association cannot publish the delinquency list. This case provides us with some guidance and support for not publishing a delinquency list. However, it is important to remember that the assessment records are official records of the association and any member can have access to those records. It is just not appropriate to publish the list.
In a court of appeals case decided in August of this year, the condominium assessment was considered consumer debt and was subject to Part VI of Chapter 559 which prohibits publication of “deadbeat lists.” The case was remanded back to the lower court.
In the case, a condominium association published and posted a list of over 100 delinquent owners. One of the owners, in a class action, sued under s. 559 but the circuit court held for the defendants. On appeal, the district courted remanded the case back to the lower court essentially saying they were incorrect in their ruling. This is the information on the case:
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
LATHERESA WILLIAMS, ON BEHALF OF
HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY
- Case No. 5D18-3913
SALT SPRINGS RESORT ASSOCIATION,
INC., AND BOSSHARDT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT,
Opinion filed June 12, 2020 (Click Here)
I would remind all managers and association boards to consult with legal counsel before taking new or untested measures to attempt to secure the payment of assessments.
Once more, best wishes for the new year and be safe and well.
Fred Gray and Gray Systems, Inc.