MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- Jean McVicker rents a condominium and was pleased with her community -- until now.
"I feel like I'm being harassed, I really do and I want it resolved," she said.
McVicker has lived in the quiet Clay County condominium community for the past six years, but nowfinds herself in the middle of an issue between her landlord and the condo association.
"If I don't pay my rent money to the property management company," said McVicker,"we will get evicted."
The condo association sent McVicker a demand letter telling her the property owner is behind on the assessment fees and she must pay the rent directly to the association.
"I'm frustrated by it," she said. "I am paying my rent to the landlord why should I be evicted?"
"We have filed a few evictions and have notified a few tenants" said Attorney Fred Elefant.
Elefant is atenant-landlord expert. He said thelaw was changed last July and yes, the condo association can collect the past due fees from the tenant.
"The statute supersedes any lease agreement," he said.
Elefant saidafter themeltdown in the condo market, the legislature moved to pass this law to keep the associations solvent.
"This way, you protect the association in so much trouble from these delinquent owners that are out there," he said.
The same law that gives the association the right to collect the rent also protects the tenant.
"The landlord cannot come against you," said Elefant, "The statute gives absolute immunity to the tenant who pays rent to the condo or homeowners association."
McVicker plans to follow the law, but says she won't have peace in her home until this is resolved
"I thought I'd have to go get an attorney to try to fight this," she said. "I'm caught in the middle."
The association can only collect what is needed to meet the past due obligation and while this is becoming a concern among condo renters, Homeowners Associations canapply the same law in those communities.