HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION INFORMATION
The information provided by HOPB is for educational purposes only and it's not meant to provide or to be construed as legal advice. Any legal questions, should be directed to your attorney. We cannot respond to questions regarding the law.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES & RESOURCES
- Florida Legislature - Search your state representative and the legislation (or, "statutory law") database.
- Florida Attorney General - The office of the attorney general plays an important role in protecting the state's citizens.
- Florida Department of State - Information on elections, businesses, licensing, and securities.
- HOA Information Search
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Florida
- Department of Business & Professional Regulations
- Florida Commission of Human Relations - Responsible for enforcing the state’s civil rights laws for the people of Florida.
- Florida Department of Agriculture - The agency provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues.
PRIVATE SECTOR RESOURCES
- Community Associations Institute (CAI)
- Florida Housing Data Clearing House
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency - Find solar access policies and incentives
HOA LAWS & REGULATIONS
- Direct access to Florida Administrative Rules, Law, Code & Register
- Homeowners’ Associations Chapter 720
- Condominium Chapter 718
- Cooperatives Chapter 719
- Florida's landlord/tenant law summary
- Landlord and Tenant Law - Florida statute
- Community Association Management Chapter 468, Part 8
- Priority Lien Statute
- Solar Rights
- Florida Bar Association
- Florida Legal Help
- Florida Supreme Court Library
- Florida Law Library of Congress
- Florida Courts
- Florida Alternative Dispute Resolution
As a member of a Homeowners’ Association, you probably already know that your community’s governing documents include covenants, rules, and restrictions about how you can (and cannot) use your property. If you break these rules, the association may fine you or force you to comply. If you find yourself at the receiving end of an HOA punishment, you’ll need to know what your rights are. This article will help you understand “selective enforcement” and how it applies to your homeowners’ association and the rules you have to follow.
Homeowner’s Associations come with many interesting and different processes for most first time members of an HOA community. An important process members of homeowners’ associations have to deal with is the election of a Board of Directors which can be a member’s first exposure to corporate law. This article is designed to give a general background on how board members in a homeowners’ association are elected and what processes are in place to protect homeowners from problematic board members.
For homeowners living in homeowners' association communities, one of the questions often asked is what happens when HOA rules are ignored? How do homeowners' associations enforce them? Can a homeowners' association fine owners? How can members of the community respond to violation notices of HOA Rules? These are all issues that individuals who reside in communities governed by homeowners' associations and those who are considering purchasing properties in such communities need to carefully consider.
Homeowners’ associations typically are formed to manage any property in the community that is owned communally, as opposed to individually, such as a playground or building hallways. Whether an HOA is made up of a condominium building, townhouses, or single-family homes, the responsibilities generally include the same type of tasks – maintain landscaping, employ property managers, maintain shared private roads or driveways, arrange trash removal, operate a swimming pool, and the like. This article will help you better understand the ins and outs of HOA fees.
For Homeowners either living in communities governed by Homeowner’s Associations or for those considering buying property located in such communities, how the application of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) might impact the use and enjoyment of any property located in such a community is an important consideration. This article is designed to give homeowners who are part of an HOA community or those who are considering becoming part of a homeowners association a snapshot view on how to address the various concerns that arise with regard to CC&Rs.
The homeowners’ association board of directors is the governing body of your community, and can have a significant impact on the lives of those who live there. The board of a homeowners’ association is required to hold meetings to conduct the business of the association; the type and frequency of these meetings can vary, and can be confusing. But, members of the association are encouraged to attend most meetings, and to participate when permitted. This article will help you better understand HOA meetings. First, it’s important to know that HOAs are governed by the law of the state in which they sit.
The installation of solar panels often leads to discussions about how the solar panels change the look and character of the neighborhood or that they may cause a decrease in property values for the neighborhood. The legal back drop that exists also involves a careful balancing of a homeowner’s right to use solar energy and a community’s right to control the aesthetics of a neighborhood. The question then becomes who can decide whether a homeowner can install solar panels in an HOA Community and if so, what are the other enforceable rules that might govern the installation and maintenance of such solar panels.
Most HOA’s, especially newer ones, are required by their declarations or bylaws to carry one or more forms of insurance. Acquiring the necessary coverage and paying premiums is the board’s job, and board-members should take great care to ensure all obligatory coverage remains in place. If anything goes wrong and the association does not have insurance that it’s supposed to have, board-members or officers could end up on the hook personally. Many states have laws mandating HOA insurance. There are numerous types of insurance coverage which could potentially benefit an HOA, including the three forms required by the UCIOA: physical damage, general liability, and fidelity insurance.
A district judge in Florida described community associations as “a little democratic sub-society of necessity.” And, as with federal, state, and local governments, for the “little sub-society” to function, it needs revenue. Association revenue comes in the form of HOA fees paid by homeowners – the functional equivalent of property taxes paid to a local government. An association’s authority to collect HOA fees (or “assessments”) arises from two places:state law and the HOA’s declaration.The declaration is a document recorded in the county land records that serves as the association’s constitution. It grants certain powers to the HOA and imbues homeowners with certain rights and obligations, one of which is the duty to pay assessments.
Rental restrictions undeniably limit the free-use of property. Nonetheless, courts throughout the country have consistently upheld such restrictions when rationally calculated to promote the development’s greater good. Even blanket rental prohibitions have been reluctantly upheld in some states, as long as the association has a legitimate purpose for the restriction. “Legitimate purposes” justifying rental restrictions typically involve maintenance of property values and promotion of community standards. Along with serving a legitimate purpose, to be enforceable a rental restriction must be a “reasonable” means of accomplishing the stated goal. Rental restrictions come in several forms, two of the most popular of which are caps and lease restrictions.
Pets can be a welcome addition to your family. A loyal dog, a comforting cat, or even a calming fish tank can vivify a household and provide a soothing distraction from the daily grind. But, unfortunately, pets can also occasionally become an annoyance to neighbors. Overly abundant cats or noisy dogs negatively affect a development’s quality of life and aesthetic appeal. Aiming to curtail potential nuisances, many homeowners’ associations have adopted pet restrictions within their declarations, establishing rules regulating members’ pet choices and practices. Learn what homeowners' association can (and cannot) do under the law when it comes to enforcing pet restrictions.
Given the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, it is only right that the Congress passed a law in 2003 to assist military members with collections and foreclosure issues. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), all creditors have limitations on debt collections against active duty military members. These limitations include the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions that may affect the civil rights of military members during their service. This article will examine in detail the protections afforded by the law to military members who own properties within homeowners' associations.
As part of the Fair Housing Act, Congress granted the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the authority to adopt rules to meet the statute’s objectives. In October of 2016, the department completed the formal rulemaking process and published the final rules that are now law. One of the new rules codified by HUD can potentially significantly affect the number of harassment claims an HOA will face. Today we will focus on what might be the most significant new rule: liability for discriminatory housing practices, found at 24 C.F.R. §100.7(a)(1)(iii).
Unique to HOAs, the elected board of directors owe a special responsibility to all the dues-paying homeowners, called a fiduciary duty. We have previously written in depth about the different elements of this fiduciary duty, and if you are unfamiliar, that article is certainly worth your time. Simply for this discussion, we just need to know that because of this fiduciary duty that the board owes to member homeowners, the board has a legal obligation to maintain common areas with the same care and diligence that they would apply to their own private property.
Getting in on the ground floor of a new master-planned community is very exciting. If you are fortunate enough to be in such a scenario, you likely now have a budding interest in how the developer of the HOA community will eventually transfer power to the homeowners. In a nascent HOA community, a new homeowner has the option to sit back and permit the developer to govern the community until he sees fit. Yet, this can be risky and may cost you money/time in the long run if there are any complications in the completion of the work.
Finding the homeowners' association linked to a property can sometimes be frustrating and time-consuming. The good news, is that you may not have to drive down to your county's office to retrieve the HOA information you need, thanks to google. This article will attempt to help you save time by giving you step by step instructions and directing you to the right government agencies where the homeowners association information and documentation are usually stored.
Today’s homeowner needs to know how to intelligently take on an HOA board if/when such a dispute may arise. As we will soon discuss, the mistaken judgment in pursuit of a claim against a homeowners' association could result in a five-figure legal bill. To assist if you are in such a problematic scenario, we will describe the three concepts you need to master before taking the fight to your homeowners' association: learning your association's CC&Rs, the relevant law regarding your dispute, and how to craftily pursue a resolution with your association's board.
The right to record liens, and to foreclose on unpaid liens, is perhaps the most powerful tool homeowners’ associations have to enforce assessment obligations. State HOA laws are designed to allow associations to recover unpaid fees without undue effort and expense while protecting homeowners from overly aggressive associations by requiring strict compliance with statutory procedures and ample notice to homeowners.
Little did you know when you first got into home ownership that your brain would be flooded with a plethora of new acronyms to comprehend. Whether a dispute has arisen, or you are about to participate in the conveyance of a property that part of an HOA, it is likely you have a now developed a sudden interest in what are termed “covenants, conditions, and restrictions,” knows as CC&Rs.
Too many terms and acronyms are thrown around and used interchangeably when folks are discussing homeowners' association documents. Sometimes when people are referring to the entire suite of homeowners' association documents, they will use the term CC&R, which stands for covenants, conditions, and restrictions. In fact, CC&Rs are just one part of the association's documentation. This article will distinguish CC&Rs from the other documents you need to know including articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules, and regulations, and financial documents.
Whether you are buying or selling a home that is a party to an association, we know how important it is to complete the transaction the right way so as to not upend the lives of you and your family. Today’s article will provide the guidance you need—either as a buyer or seller—to operate with confidence regarding the home transaction. We will address where these disclosures come from, how they balance the rights of buyers and sellers and clarify once and for all the difference between disclosure and transfer fees.
Homeowners' Association laws vary considerably from state to state. But the right of homeowners to inspect association documents is uniformly recognized. After all, as a homeowner, you are a member of the association, and the ultimate purpose of any association is to benefit homeowners. Just as the shareholders of a corporation have a right to know about the financial status, management, and assets of the business they own, so, too, do HOA members have a right to stay abreast of association budgets, expenditures, and financial transactions.
The enforcement mechanisms of a homeowners’ association may seem a bit arcane and obtuse, but they are important to understanding if either you or a fellow member is accused by the board of violating the rules. There are very specific duties, obligations, and procedures that the board of directors must follow. We will provide the full explanation you need to understand how and why your board of directors is permitted to assess a fine by addressing why associations are granted the power to enforce Bylaws, the necessary procedure to assess a penalty to enforce the rules, and what is considered a “reasonable” fine under the law.
The ability of a homeowners’ association to regulate certain property details, impose obligations on members, and levy fines is governed by a combination of statutory and case law in the jurisdiction where the association is located and the community's governing documents—including articles of incorporation, bylaws, declarations (also known as CC&Rs—Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), and rules and regulations, which contractually bind the homeowner association and its members.
We all have what we like to think is a general understanding of the basic elements of Homeowners’ Association—there is a president, a board, and a set of rules that these nice people are entrusted to enforce. And the cursory understanding of these elements of an association are perfectly fine, until something happens. Upon the formation of a dispute between a homeowner and a homeowner's association, these seemingly innocuous details will suddenly be anything but.
This article will help elucidate what the law requires of an association Board with respect to its obligations toward homeowners. There are three broad categories of fiduciary duties of association Boards that we will discuss: the duty of care, the duty of reasonable inquiry, and the duty of good faith. With each topic, we will first explain general concepts then delve into examples for clarification. These rights for homeowners derive from old English common law (meaning that this law has grown over time through court decisions), but today almost every state has codified these rights into state statutes.
Congress initially effectuated the Fair Housing Act (FHA)—codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619—in 1968 to prevent discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion or national origin. By 1988, the FHA had been expanded to protect classes to include sex, disability, and familial status. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in concert with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), brings actions against housing providers that violate the statute.
In 1977, Congress passed the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA” or “Act”) to prevent abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by debt collectors. The act prohibits debt collectors from harassing consumers or using deceptive conduct when attempting to collect a debt. Homeowners or condominium maintenance assessments are subject to the FDCPA, therefore, the association’s debt collectors must follow the law when attempting to collect past due fees from homeowners.
The association, under its documents and local laws, has the authority to charge annual, special, and capital assessments against all owners in the community to pay for the maintenance expenses and improvements to the common areas. The common areas consist of parks, pools, gyms, sidewalks, and any other area in the community, except those portions which lie within the boundaries of the owner's property.
The local statutes and recorded Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (the "CC&Rs" or "Declaration") serve to establish the association's authority to charge maintenance fees and enforce non-compliance against all owners and properties subject to its authority. The HOA fees cover the costs of the maintenance and repair of the common areas, amenities, and operation of the association to preserve property values.