Unless otherwise stated in their governing documents (declaration and bylaws), HOAs may collect attorney fees only when those fees are incurred as a result of past due assessments. So if your assessments are up to date, your HOA has no statutory basis to pass on their attorney fees to you.
When a lender files a foreclosure suit, they routinely name HOAs as defendants. Banks do this because HOAs can (and usually do) file a lien against homeowners who default on assessments; which can happen long after banks have filed their foreclosure suit. But there’s no statutory law or rule of civil procedure in the state of FL that entitles HOAs to pass on attorney fees solely for being named as a defendant in a foreclosure.
There are two circumstances in which your HOA may require you to pay their attorney fees: a) your association dues are in arrears and your HOA has incurred legal fees as a result of trying to recover those assessments; or b) your contract (governing documents) states explicitly that you are to pay attorney fees incurred by the HOA as a result of being named a defendant in a foreclosure action filed against you.
If you do not believe that either scenario above applies to your case but your association is seeking payment for attorney fees, discuss your case with a legal professional immediately. An experienced attorney can help you examine your association’s bylaws and determine whether your HOA’s demands are unfounded.
Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 866-200-4646.
The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.