Can a Florida Association Record a Lien for Unpaid Assessments and Fines?

A Florida HOA has a lien to secure payment of assessments against every parcel subject to the association. Fla. Stat. §720.3085. HOA liens “relate back” to the date on which the community’s declaration was recorded, and therefore hold preferential lien priority, except with regard to a first mortgage lien. Id. A Florida HOA perfects its lien by recording a claim of lien with the county land records. A claim of lien must identify the parcel, record owner, and amount and date due. Id.

Along with unpaid assessments, an HOA lien secures any interest, late fees, and reasonable collection costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the HOA. Id. However, any charges included in a lien must be authorized by the declaration, and fines cannot be included within a lien unless the fine amount is at least $1,000. Fla. Stat. §720.305(2).

Homeowners can contest a lien claimed by an HOA by recording and serving upon the association a “Notice of Contest of Lien,” after which the association has 90 days to file a suit to enforce the lien or else it is deemed void. Fla. Stat. §720.3085(1)(b).