Miami Beach, FL asked in Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: We paid a special assessment to our HOA in full. We then sold our unit prior to the completion of the project.

The final price of the project was $6,700-per-unit less than the assessed amount.

The HOA refunded this amount to the current owners, not to the parties that actually paid the assessment.

Legally, this does not seem right.

Are we, the party who actually paid the assessment entitled to the refund?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The owner at the time of the refund receives the refund.

You sold the unit and no longer have a claim to anything related to the unit.

Barbara Billiot Stage agrees with this answer

A: I agree it doesn't seem right but Fla. Stat. 718.115(3) states "Common surplus is owned by unit owners in the same shares as their ownership interest in the common elements." It does not state it is owned by the unit owner who paid the assessment. Fla. Stat. 718.116(10) even states it does not have to be refunded but can be issued as a credit against future assessments. It would be a logistical nightmare for the associations if they were required to go back through their records and figure out who paid what and when, especially since quite a number of people get behind in their assessments when a special assessment is imposed.

Think of it this way -- would you want to have to pay another special assessment to the association after you sold it if it had gone the other way and there was not enough money?

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