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New Decision: Standing After Sale (Real Estate Solutions Home Sellers v. Viera East Golf Course District Ass’n)

Michael Gelfand 1/7/2020

Ringing in the New Year, a decision addressed whether a former parcel owner has standing to contest an association assessment. In Real Estate Solutions Home Sellers, LLC v. Viera East Golf Course District Association, Inc., Case No. 5D18-3569 (Fla. 5th DCA, January 3, 2020), the association sought over $19,000.00 from Real Estate Solutions (“RESHS”). RESHS purchased at a foreclosure auction a home subject to a declaration of covenants administered by the Association.

RESHS brought a declaratory relief action against the Association based in part upon the Declaration. The Declaration provided that after a judicial foreclosure of a first mortgage, the lien for assessments is extinguished, and when a first mortgagee obtains title its purchaser, successor and assigns “shall not be liable for the share of the Common Expenses or Assessments… which became due prior to the acquisition.”

After filing suit RESHS sold the property. In response to the Association’s motion to dismiss asserting mootness, the trial court dismissed the complaint.

The appellate court reviewed the purpose of a declaratory judgment action which is to, in part, address at an “actual controversy.” Because “the Association’s theory of liability, [RESHS’s] potential liability for the unpaid assessments did not end with its sale of the Property” the trial court’s dismissal was reversed. The sale did not end the Association’s issue of assessment liability.

Best to all for a great new year!

Michael J. Gelfand

Past Chair

Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section

of The Florida Bar

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Note: This article is not legal advice. Statements and comments made are not those of The Florida Bar or the RPPTL Section

© 2020 Michael J. Gelfand

Michael J. Gelfand

Florida Bar Board Certified:

Real Estate Attorney

Condominium & Planned Development Law

Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator:

Civil Circuit Court & Civil County Court

Fellow, American College of Real Estate Attorneys

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke

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