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Bryan v. Clayton

Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District

May 9, 1997, Opinion Filed

CASE NO. 96-2406

Opinion

 [*1237]  PER CURIAM.

In this appeal we are asked to decide whether maintenance assessments owed to the appellants' homeowner's association are "debts" for purposes of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. We conclude that they are not and affirm the decision below.

Appellants urge that we should simply adopt the "plain meaning" of the "crystal clear" language of the act 1 to determine that a homeowner's maintenance assessment is a debt. This we cannot do because the statute has no plain meaning and its intent is anything but crystal clear. It appears that the federal courts that have addressed the question of the application of this legislation to homeowner's and condominium maintenance assessments have concluded ] that this legislation [**2]  does not embrace assessments of property owners for the mutual maintenance of the commonly held areas of the community. Riter v. Moss & Bloomberg, Ltd., 932 F. Supp. 210 (N.D. Ill 1996); Azar v. Hayter, 874 F. Supp. 1314 (N.D. Fla.), affirmed, 66 F.3d 342 (11th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 712, 133 L. Ed. 2d 666 (1996); Vosatka v. Wolin-Levin, Inc., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10415, No. 94- C-4129, 1995 WL 443950 (N.D. Ill. July 21, 1995); Nance v. Petty, Livingston, Dawson & Devening, 881 F. Supp. 223 (W.D. Va. 1994); Archer v. Beasley, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2994, No. 90-2576(CSF), 1991 WL 34889 (D.N.J. Mar. 5, 1991). We agree that such assessments are not consumer "debts" within the purview of this legislation.

 [**3]  AFFIRMED.

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698 So. 2d 1236 *; 1997 Fla. App. LEXIS 4977 **; 22 Fla. L. Weekly D 1188; 22 Fla. L. Weekly D 2164

KEVIN E. BRYAN and RENEE M. BRYAN, Appellants, v. KENNETH M. CLAYTON, et al., Appellees.

Subsequent History:  [**1]  Released for Publication October 1, 1997. Certiorari Denied June 15, 1998, Reported at: 1998 U.S. LEXIS 3999.

Prior History: Appeal from the Circuit Court for Orange County, James C. Hauser, Judge.

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

homeowner's, Consumer

Banking Law, Consumer Protection, Fair Debt Collection, General Overview, Real Property Law, Landlord & Tenant, Tenant's Remedies & Rights, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Common Interest Communities, Condominiums, Management