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Florida Homeowners Association Questions and Answers

A recent article in the Naples Daily News reported on common questions among condominium owners and homeowners with regard to homeowners association (HOA) rights and responsibilities. If you are a Florida homeowner and have questions about what an HOA board can and cannot do, you’re probably not the only one. Below you’ll find some common questions from homeowners, as discussed in the article, and explanations about your rights as an HOA member and the laws that govern HOA boards.

Question: My HOA board recently enacted an assessment for reserves. The reserves are earmarked for specific types of repairs and updates to be done in the future, including painting, paving, and roofing. Can the HOA board legally collect this money from me?

Answer: Chapters 718 and 719 of the Florida Statutes, which govern condominiums and cooperatives respectively, require a board to adopt reserves for repairs such as painting, paving or roofing that will end up costing greater than $10,000. Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes governs homeowners associations, and this chapter does not require that an HOA board adopt reserves. Yet it’s important to look to the other language of the statute. Under Chapter 720, reserves still can be created by a vote of the HOA members or by the real estate developer.

In addition, Florida courts generally agree that HOA boards are permitted, in certain circumstances, to create reserves. When might this happen permissibly? In general, HOA boards usually will be allowed to create reserves for “any type of deferred maintenance or future cost that the board deems appropriate.” And to obtain the money for the reserves, the HOA can assess funding from the HOA members.

Question: I live in house in a gated community, and my HOA’s governing documents require the association to maintain the landscaping on each house. About a year ago, I planted a flower vine with permission from the HOA. At the time, it was quite small (under one foot tall). Over the last year, it grew tremendously and ended up reaching the second story of my home. The vine was causing absolutely no structural damage, but the HOA sent a landscaper in to eradicate the vine from my property. The landscaper ended up removing it from the root and discarding my vine. Do I have a legitimate dispute with the HOA?

Answer: Generally speaking, when the governing documents of an HOA indicate that the association is responsible for maintaining the landscaping on each property in the community, homeowners don’t have a lot of say in the manner in which the HOA performs landscaping maintenance. Each case is different, however, and it’s important to discuss your potential HOA dispute with an experienced Hollywood attorney. In some cases, the HOA may have removed your plant unreasonably, and you may be able to file a legitimate dispute. At the very least, however, the HOA likely should have to compensate you for the loss of your personal property.

Contact a Homeowners Association Disputes Lawyer

Many common questions arise that may impact HOA disputes in South Florida. If you have questions or concerns about how your residential development is being governed, you should contact Fort Lauderdale attorney Steve Mason, PA today for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online. 

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