Condo Line

Should condo boards make delinquency information public?

Q. When requested, do condominium board members have to provide financial information concerning unit owners who are in arrears on their fees? Our property manager feels that this is a private matter and is not information to be shared with owners. I thought it was a matter of public record and should be available.

W.C., Broward

A. Owners have a right to send a certified letter requesting financial information on delinquent accounts. However, strict credit laws limit the exposure of this information. This information should be available to owners upon request. However, the owners must be extremely cautious about disclosing the information. The board can discuss the information in an open meeting, but I recommend that they not reveal the owners’ names. Instead of saying Mr. Smith, they would say delinquency case No. 3 or similar words.

I would further recommend that the board provide information at meetings on the number of delinquent accounts — not by name or address — and the collection procedure status. For example: “We have two accounts 30 days delinquent and letters have been sent. We have one account that has a lien filed and one account in foreclosure with the attorney.”

The board should establish a collection policy that has been approved by the association’s attorney. That policy would specify how owners can obtain information about delinquent accounts.

Q. I live in Indiana but have a home in Florida in an association. After reading your columns in Florida, it appeared that my Indiana association does not follow the same laws. I called an attorney in Indiana, and he advised me that Florida has different laws involving associations than in Indiana. He invoiced the association for $85 for my phone call. The association refused to pay the bill and forwarded it to me. Where do I stand on the responsibility for this invoice?

A.H., Indiana

A. Florida has always been the leader in condominium and homeowner association laws, but all states have had similar laws. I have not studied other state laws, but my educated guess is that no owner has the right to perform an action that is an expense to the association without board’s approval, regardless of the state.

If an owner wants an answer, he or she should write to the board of directors and ask the question. The board would, if required, contact its attorneys for a legal answer. An owner acting on his own can do the same, but would be responsible for any legal cost.

Q. Our homeowners association’s treasurer puts a varying amount into reserves each month, but some months he has to take money out of the reserves to meet our operational expenses. So at the end of the year, the amount in our reserves does not match the budget. I asked the treasurer why the amount varied, but the treasurer did not have any answer.

While we have money in the reserves, I am not sure what it would cover. Our operational expenses far exceed the budgeted amount, and we will be in the red by the end of the year. The board approved a special assessment to make the shortage as small as possible. The fees were increased 10 percent this year along with the special assessment. What are our options for the future?

J.H., Miami

A. Reserves for condominiums are dictated by the law. HOA statutes are not as restrictive. A reserves study should be made to determine whether HOA reserves are necessary and whether the amounts required meet the suggested amounts. The budget should then be properly calculated to include reserves.

The monthly amount must be first paid into the reserve account and cannot be withdrawn except to meet reserve expenses. Budgets stand on their own, and if projected expenses cause an increase in the fee schedule, such increases will be made. The board of directors is required to establish an adequate expense budget and a proper reserve budget (if required).

Under HOA statutes, there is no limit on how much maintenance fees can be increased. In fact, the statutes endorse any increase necessary to meet expenses.

Write to Condo Line, Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., #201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115, or e-mail Include your name and city.

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

At just 10 inches deep, the Mill console table from CB2 is perfect for decorating an empty hallway ($299).


    For small spaces, console tables are ideal

    Decorating a small space can be like packing for a weekend trip. There’s room for only the essentials, so every piece should be useful, versatile and worth its weight. If space is a commodity, the console table is one of the most valuable pieces on the market.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">On demand: </span>Most tankless water heaters come on only when they’re in use.

    Ask a plumber

    Heating water can be a ‘tankless’ job

    The pros and cons of installing a tankless water heater.

This sleek, mid-century Telechron clock is a handsome collectible.


    Telechron products known for style, design

    Q: I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s with this Lucite clock on a table in my parents’ bedroom. I recently found it in a storage unit of their things and am wondering how old it is, and the approximate value. It still works and has great sentimental value and now has a place of honor on my bedside table. Any information you can provide would be appreciated.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category