HOA Assessments are a “Consumer Debt” Subject to Consumer Protection Laws

This case involved a dispute between a condominium owner (“Owner”) and the president of his homeowner’s association (“HOA President”) over the issue of whether condominium assessments qualify as “consumer debts” under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”).

Owner, who was involved in a dispute with his homeowners association over unpaid past due assessments, contended the HOA President violated the FCCPA by: (i) locking him out of a storage unit; (ii) making public derogatory statements about Owner; (iii) and disclosing information about Owner’s reputation to a vendor. Owner also contended that he was not given notice of a board meeting where his common area privileges were considered and suspended.

Based on these claims Owner filed suit against HOA President seeking a declaration that HOA President violated the FCCPA, an injunction against future violations, statutory damages, and other monetary damages. HOA President sought dismissal of the action contending that the FCCPA definition of “debt” specifically excluded maintenance assessments owed to a homeowner’s association. The trial court agreed with HOA President and dismissed Owner’s action, and Owner filed an appeal.

On review, the appellate court found:

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