The Supreme Court of Florida has slapped the pinkies of some municipalities that were trying make a little extra money from homeowners by trying to do what Homeowners Associations do all the time. When a homeowner buys a property in an HOA or CID or condo association, the buyer agrees to pay off his HOA dues before he makes a house payment. Thus the HOA actually has more power to punish miscreants by liening and auctioning off the house before the mortgage company gets its take. Thus, HOAs have a super-priority lien over the main lender on the property. The super priority. The ability to have super-priority status is built into the original developer’s Covenants Controls and Restrictions usually because that’s what the local municipality ordered.
The City of Palm Beach, seeing a chance to cash in on struggling homeowners the way Homeowner Associations did, passed local regulations giving themselves the same kinds of super priority status as HOAs. After all, weren’t municipalities charged with enforcing some of the same kinds of codes as the typical HOA?
Not so fast, said the State Supremes. Yes, the Florida Constitution gives broad powers to municipalities to take other people’s stuff…but only as far as what the state legislature allows. Still, this particular legislature has done some pretty goofy things to homeowners over the years. You just can’t predict when these parties will all be back in court over some ‘new’ taxing powers handed to them by lawmakers. “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe when the Legislature’s in session.” -Mark Twain