Money Grab In Florida Ruled Illegal

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





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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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