Mar 07, 2017

Don’t forget your Declaration: Appeals Court confirms necessity of the Declaration and Covenants in collection actions

The First District Appellate Court confirmed that Associations must be careful to enter their Declaration and Covenants regarding Assessment default into the record in a lawsuit to collect Assessments. In Blackstone Condominium Association v. Speights-Carnegie, (Feb. 3, 2017), the Appellate Court reviewed a judgment for unpaid Assessments where an Association sought to recover from an Owner based on a breach of contract theory.

This is common where Associations seek to collect against an Owner who no longer possesses the Unit. The trial court awarded the Association a judgment for unpaid Assessments but not attorney’s fees, noting that the Association did not allege sufficiently that there was any provision for the recovery of attorney’s fees in the contract at issue. The Appellate Court agreed that this was a problem and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the Association’s request for attorney’s fees. The central lesson of the holding is that Associations must be certain to bring their Declaration and the specific covenant that provides for Assessments and recovery of attorney’s fees and costs upon default into evidence at trial when seeking unpaid Assessments. 

This Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. communication is intended only to provide information regarding developments in the law and information of general interest. It is not intended to constitute advice regarding legal problems and should not be relied upon as such.

Client alert authored by:
James R. Stevens, Principal

This alert originally appeared in the Condominium & Community Association Focus newsletter.