J.F. from Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can you shut off the cable service to a delinquent homeowner?
Mister Condo replies:
J.F., I am sorry to learn that your association is dealing with such delinquency from a homeowner that it is thinking of taking as drastic a measure as turning off the cable service to this person’s home. I am not an attorney nor am I an expert in Florida HOA law but I suspect the answer lies in two places. First and foremost is the law, which differs from state to state, as to what common amenities may be discontinued by the association to delinquent unit owners. The second factor is your own governance documents which likely detail what can and can’t be done by the association in an attempt to collect delinquent dues. If the association provides utility service such as cable TV, it is possible that discontinuing it is within the association’s rights if outlined in the association’s governance documents. However, my advice is to tread lightly here and seek counsel. Many unit owners count on their cable service for more than just TV. It may also be their internet and phone service you are interfering with. You can just imagine what would happen if the association turned off a unit owner’s phone service and then there was an emergency where the unit owner couldn’t use their association-provided cable service to make an emergency phone call.
You should consult with a local qualified attorney before turning off any unit owner’s association-provided utility. A far better solution, in my opinion, is to institute fines and other collection activities, including but not limited to foreclosure against unit owners who are in serious arrears with their common fees. All the best!