Smack Down Tough Condo Questions: Must Tenant Pay Maintenance Fee?
In kickboxing this morning my sparring partner says.. “Hey Tough Girl..You’re the Professor Real Estate..right? Answer this..I’m a tenant, the condo says I have to pay maintenance fees because my landlord isn’t paying…are they right?”
Yeah, I’m the Professor Real Estate and I’m ready to punch out those Condo Commandos. The answer is “A-Hell-to-the-No!”… as a Tenant you don’t have to pay the Landlord’s maintenance fees.
I’m thankful that the founders of the USA who wrote the Constitution understood that absolute power corrupts absolutely (especially condo associations). For this reason, they started the idea of checks and balances in all areas where it seems too much power is concentrated in one place.
What does checks and balances mean to tenants? It means that most states enacted laws that protect the tenant against the absolute power of the condo association.
In Florida, like the rest of the country, we are having a crisis because many owners stop paying the condo maintenance (and mortgages) but continue to pocket rent from their Tenants! This is a classic free-rider problem, the condo can’t afford to provide services unless other owners pay more to cover for the non-paying owners!
This is not fair and imagine the problems it causes.. the pool is dirty because the condo association can’t pay to clean it… you have to walk the stairs to your 22nd Floor apartment because the elevator is broken and the condo association can’t pay to have it fixed…etc!
In response to these problems, the Florida Legislature passed a new law that took effect in July 2011 (this year!) For those techies out there, its called HB 1195 and it amends the Florida Statues 718 regarding Condo Associations.
It permits condo associations to collect rent directly from tenants if the landlord is not paying maintenance. The condo can’t just verbally demand the money from the Tenant. For the demand to be effective, the condo must send a written notice to the Tenant following the procedure and using the words in Florida Statute 718.116(11)(a). The point of this law is to allow the condo association to have the funds to continue to pay for the cleaning of the pool, repair of the elevators etc!
This is a new idea! Even though, the tenant has a contract with the landlord..now the condo can say, Hey Tenant, even though you contracted to pay the landlord…now you have to pay us rent… if you don’t we have the power to evict you!
If the condo follows the notice procedure in the statute, then the tenant is protected from the landlord claiming that the tenant owes him rent!
This time I used the law (instead of my fists) to beat-up the condo commandos. Remember, they tried to scare my sparring partner into paying his rent and the Landlord’s maintenance fee!
In no event must the Tenant pay the maintenance fees!
Follow me and you’ll learn how to fight with the law to enforce your rights! Feel free to contact me Professor Real Estate with any questions you have!