Should Delinquent Condo Owners Lose Internet, TV Service?
By David C. Swedelson, Partner, SwedelsonGottlieb
Community Association Institute’s (CAI) Fast Track News Bulletin reports that Florida condominium association residents who are delinquent on their assessments could run the risk of losing their cable and internet service if a new bill passes.
According to the March 1, 2011, edition of the Orlando Sentinel, the legislation, which would go into effect July 1, 2011, would give condominium associations the right to cut off cable and internet service of residents who are 90 days overdue. In Florida, associations are already allowed to ban delinquent residents from common amenities such as pools, gyms and the like, and the bill would have cable and internet counted as common amenities as well. While the list of what’s considered common amenities seems to keep growing, this proposal makes it clear that associations will not have the power to shut off residents' water or electricity.
For condo/homeowner associations that have cable/internet bundles added to owner assessments, this may be a good tool to encourage delinquent owners to pay up.
In California, each association will have to review their CC&Rs to see what services can be terminated. Typically, the CC&Rs may say that the association has the power to terminate the delinquent owner's right to use the common area recreational facilities, like the pool, gym and tennis court. How this is accomplished may depend on whether the association has key cards, etc. And, a hearing is required first pursuant to Civil Code Section 1363(h). Other associations may only have the power to suspend ownership rights such as the right to vote (and this would also require a hearing, as it is discipline). Many associations take the position that since their association is not required to provide cable or internet access, they can just turn it off. But as they say, the jury is still out on that in California.
The CAI article went on to say that the desire to get the message through to delinquent homeowners may come at a price to associations - some associations are willing to reimburse the cable and internet service providers to go through the process of shutting off the internet and cable of owners/residents who owe assessments, feeling that it’s worth the price to get that type of leverage in today’s technology-reliant world.
The fate of this bill should be decided in the upcoming days. Follow the progress of SB 712 here.
Let us know what you think. Contact David Swedelson at email@example.com.