The vast majority of community associations across the state apply late penalties when assessments are not paid on time.  Late fees are a valuable tool in encouraging owners to make timely payments and they are commonly used by most associations and property management companies without giving it much thought.  Late fees are allowed by law; however, the statute specifically states that the application of late fees must be authorized in your community documents.  Here is the statutory language:

Condominiums, Florida Statute 718.116(3):

If provided by the declaration or bylaws, the association may, in addition to such interest, charge an administrative late fee of up to the greater of $25 or 5 percent of each delinquent installment for which the payment is late.”

Homeowner’s Associations, Florida Statute 720.3085(3)(a):

If the declaration or bylaws so provide, the association may also charge an administrative late fee not to exceed the greater of $25 or 5 percent of the amount of each installment that is paid past the due date.”

This means that late fees are being illegally applied if they are not specifically authorized in your Declaration of Condominium/Covenants or your Bylaws.  There are potential legal ramifications for associations who are doing this, even if they are not aware that their documents do not provide for the applications of late fees.  Murrell Law provides legal guidance to associations across the state to not only manage future issues which occur, but to also ensure that the association’s current actions are in legal compliance.  We can help an association amend their documents for issues such as this for a very minimal expense; email or call our office, post a comment here on the blog, or submit a free email-based online consultation through the site.