Not too long ago we spoke with an investor who had found the perfect condo going up for sale at an upcoming tax deed auction but had immediately lost interest once he discovered a large outstanding condo association lien was attached to it. He realized his mistake when we told him this:
The tax deed purchaser is NOT responsible for past Association liens and there is ample support for this in Florida Statutes.
The issue of tax deeds and Association liens has been heavily litigated in FL for years, but now it is pretty well settled law. Association statutes Chapter 718 & 720 impose liability for past due assessments in relation to property acquired by the transfer of title, however, a tax deed does not represent a transfer of title but the commencement of a new, original and paramount title.
The courts ruled in favor of the tax deed statue, as it is more specific in addressing the key issue of their survival or extinguishment after issuance of a tax deed and any conflict must be resolved in favor of the more specific statute.
The majority of the time when we see a tax deed purchaser have an issue it is due to human error in recording an Association claim of Lien for past due amounts AFTER the tax deed sale or the Association simply forgot to tell their attorney the property had been sold at a tax deed auction so they continue to try and collect the debt they believe they are owed. To catch these mistakes check the dates that they are claiming for assessments and other back due amounts.
You are only responsible for the Association dues from the tax deed sale moving forward.
Our attorneys at Cleartosell have formatted a standard letter for our clients when an Association makes an improper claim for amount due. If you would like a copy of this template please give us a call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this blog post.
Click here to watch a short presentation where our Senior Staff Attorney, Megan Schmidt breaks down this topic with examples supporting case law.
Cassandra August 15, 2017