In late January 2013, the Third District Court of Appeal sent shockwaves throughout the real estate community with regards to condominium associations’ rights as unit owners. In AventuraManagement, LLC v. Spiaggia Ocean Condominium Association1 (Spiaggia), the appellate court interpreted Florida Statute § 718.1162 in an unprecedented way. The court held that if a condominium association takes title to a unit before the bank forecloses on a defaulting unit owner, the association is jointly and severally liable for all past due assessments with the previous owner that came due, up to the time of transfer of title. Condominium associations across Florida became worried that the Spiaggia decision could spark a judicial trend that limits associations’ ability to recoup delinquent assessment fees. Although the Spiaggia court likely ruled correctly from an appellate perspective, the outcome of the case is contrary to the legislative intent of § 718.116 and could have disastrous consequences for Florida condominium associations.
This Comment begins by explaining in great detail the facts and procedural posture of Spiaggia from the trial court to the appellate court level. Following the factual analysis, this Comment discusses the potential and actual effects of Spiaggia and looks to the legislative intent of § 718.116 to attempt to resolve the existing conflict. Finally, this Comment raises various issues that the Florida Legislature should address in reaction to the Spiaggia decision.