Living in a community governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) can have its benefits. These types of communities help maintain property values, add a layer of support when dealing with neighborhood property issues, and help keep common areas and amenities well maintained. It can also create a community bond between neighbors and increase community involvement. Well governed HOA communities can ensure a peaceful enjoyment of your home. Unfortunately, not all HOAs are created equal, and a bad HOA can turn your dream home into a nightmare. A poorly run HOA can actually decrease your property value, force you to spend a lot of money, and create anxiety and resentment among you and your neighbors.
A HOA is an organization in a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building that makes and enforces rules for the properties and its residents. An HOA is a legal entity, and in Florida, these organizations find their framework in Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. Those who purchase a home or condo in an HOA community must pay certain fees to live in the community. They also have rules that they expect everyone to abide by. If you do not, you could be fined for a HOA violation. Noise restrictions, the appearance of your home and landscape, pet regulations, vehicles and their operation, and holiday decorations are areas that HOA may oversee.
The HOA is limited to the detailed language of the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions), community bylaws, rules as well as any local, state and federal laws). An HOA is governed by a board of directors. Often times, these elected directors have never served on a board before, and some can overstep their authority. Neighbors may observe “selective enforcement” of an HOA violation among the director’s friends and other homeowners. Some directors never fully understand the HOA’s rules and may interpret these regulations differently than what was intended.
An HOA may want you to believe nothing can be done about their violation enforcement, but that may not be the case. Can your HOA ticket you for speeding? Can they fine you for having too short or too long of a leash on your pet? Can they fine you for having a political sign in your yard when your neighbor has one too and is not fined (but his is for a different political party)?
You may not realize how much power an HOA has over your life until there is a dispute. Although being a sort of mini-government, HOAs are subject to state and federal laws, and you do have rights. Contact me to learn about your legal options. The laws governing HOAs are constantly evolving, and I am actively involved with HOA law and will work on your behalf to resolve your dispute of an HOA violation with an unparalleled level of personalized and professional service.