About The Firm
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to provide you with information on the creative and effective way Straley & Otto, P.A. represents community associations such as yours. We understand that, from a Board of Director’s standpoint, you need attorneys who are easily accessible, and we are. Though we represent well-over three hundred (300) community associations in South Florida, we retain the culture of a mid-sized law firm. We strive to ensure that you can easily reach our firm and its bilingual staff by telephone or email, and we dedicate ourselves to personalized service which allows us to work quickly and diligently on behalf of all of our clients.
Straley & Otto, P.A., firmly believes in being a law firm which offers solid legal advice while considering the practical aspects of a client’s options and common sense. Indeed, many community association problems and issues are better addressed or resolved with practical solutions and common sense, rather than complex lawsuits and legal proceedings which can be expensive and time-consuming. We recognize that, especially considering today’s financial challenges, community associations may lack sufficient funds to address problems with a strictly legal approach. Consequently, practical solutions, or sometimes simply using the perceived authority of an attorney, are at times better than filing lawsuits or legal proceedings against unit owners and adverse parties. Straley & Otto, P.A., is prepared, of course, to file lawsuits or arbitrations, participate in mediations, and otherwise enforce the legal rights of the communities which we represent. In many instances, however, consideration of a practical solution may be the best choice, or at least the first step, in addressing a difficult matter.
Straley & Otto, P.A., understands that with today’s financial difficulties, the primary focus of many community associations and their managers is the collection of delinquent assessments. We recognize that that maintenance fees and other assessment income is the financial lifeblood of a community association, and Straley & Otto, P.A., has assisted community associations with the collection of delinquent assessments since the early 1980s. With the importance of associations being able to fund the operation, maintenance, management of their communities, a large part of our practice necessarily concentrates on the collection of delinquent assessments for our community association clients. Most community associations have at least some collection difficulties, and the delinquencies’ effect on a community can be devastating through the loss of income, budget shortages, limits on funds for maintenance and repairs, wasted time, and the possible imposition of a contractor’s lien if a community association is not able to meet its financial obligations to its vendors. Straley & Otto, P.A., has always used a distinctive approach to the collection of delinquent assessments which almost always results in no legal fees being paid by a community association, except in very limited situations. Demand letters and claims of lien are filed within twenty-four (24) hours of referral, as our law firm and its bi-lingual staff of legal secretaries, assistants, paralegals, and attorneys is committed to a quick turnaround on assessment collections. Delinquent accounts are collected professionally, with all due respect to the delinquent unit owners, however, Straley & Otto, P.A, aggressively pursues the delinquent accounts as, again, we are aware of the financial necessity of associations collecting their delinquencies. Straley & Otto, P.A., is familiar with and works aggressively in situations involving delayed bank foreclosures, collection of maximum sums from banks and other parties that take ownership of units following a lender’s foreclosure, unit owner short sales, the collection of rent from the tenants of delinquent unit owners, as well as other unique assessment collection methods and techniques developed by Straley & Otto, P.A.
With regard to the collection of delinquent assessments, Straley & Otto, P.A., provides status reports online (or by mail if preferred) to the Presidents, Board members, and/or managers of its community association clients. The online accessibility is provided through a secured password, to ensure privacy and the protection of any attorney-client privileged matters, and these reports are provided at no charge to our clients to ensure that they are privy to up-to-date information on the progress and success of our firm’s collection efforts.
With respect to fees, and as alluded to above, community associations will generally pay no legal fees to Straley & Otto, P.A., for the sending of demand letters, the filing of claims of lien, or the pursuit of foreclosures. As stated in almost every association Declaration (of Condominium or of Covenants and Restrictions) or proprietary lease, a delinquent unit owner is responsible for the legal fees and costs incurred by a community association in the collection of that owner’s account. Straley & Otto, P.A., looks primarily to delinquent unit owners to pay the fees and costs incurred, which is only appropriate. One exception occurs, though rarely, where a community association becomes the owner of a unit following its foreclosure of that unit. Such a situation occurs when a unit owner fails to pay his or her delinquency, including the foreclosure judgment, and no investor purchases the property at the unit’s foreclosure sale. In this circumstance, our firm does invoice the community association for the attorneys’ fees associated with the foreclosure, but courtesy credits are generally given to our clients to ensure that the association’s out-of-pocket expenses are kept to a minimum. Further, these expenses can often be easily offset should the association begin to lease the unit, which it now owns, to a tenant. In addition to these affirmative collection efforts which our firm pursues, we also monitor and provide legal advice and options to our community association clients regarding accounts that are in bankruptcy or lender foreclosure.
As a full-service law firm representing community associations, and in addition to collection matters, Straley & Otto, P.A., assists its clients in addressing covenant enforcement and rule violations, annual meetings and elections, special assessment and other Board or membership meetings, revisions and amendments to community association documents, contract review and enforcement, transactional and real estate-related matters, receiverships, compliance with Florida statutory requirements, and dealings with governmental and administrative agencies. (Straley & Otto, P.A., also provides educational courses and participates in speaking engagements and presentations for Boards of Directors.) With respect to non-collection, general counsel legal work for community associations, Straley & Otto, P.A., performs such services at a reduced rate of $200.00 per hour, billable on a monthly basis. For non-collection-related litigation, we invoice our community association clients at a rate of $225.00 per hour, plus court costs, also billable on a monthly basis. Straley & Otto, P.A., welcomes you and your Board of Directors to discuss our billing practices with any of our references, which we will supply upon request, and you will find that our clients are very pleased with the reasonableness of our billing practices.
Straley & Otto, P.A., prides itself in its organization and efficiency. The attorneys and staff take calls immediately, if at all possible, or make every effort to return them the same day. We meet deadlines, provide quality legal service, and have satisfied and informed clients.
Hopefully, we can meet with you in the near future, at no charge to you or your Board, and discuss your particular community association’s problems and needs. We have creative ideas regarding overall representation of community associations, including the collection of unpaid assessments, and we would like to discuss them with you or your Board. Please feel free to call us for more information on how Straley & Otto, P.A., can assist your community association in protecting its legal rights and interests.