Architectural Control

Can Florida Associations Regulate Exterior Appearance of Homes?

Florida associations have considerable discretion in regulating exterior appearances of structures and improvements as long as the community’s declaration grants authority for the type of regulation contemplated (e.g., location, size, type, or appearance). Fla. Stat. §720.3035(1). This could potentially include anything from exterior color, fences, lawns and artificial turf, parking, and trash-can placement, to restrictions on above-ground pools and solar panels (which are specifically protected in a few states, but not in Florida).

Notably, neither the association nor an architectural review committee can further limit homeowner rights preserved in the declaration or enforce any policy inconsistent with what is set forth in the declaration. Fla. Stat. §720.3035(4) and (5). Unequal or arbitrary enforcement can be asserted by an owner as a defense to an HOA suit to enforce restrictions. White Egret Condo., Inc. v. Franklin, 379 So.2d 346 (Fla. 1979).

Florida associations are expressly prohibited from preventing homeowners from implementing “Florida-friendly landscaping” designed to conserve water resources. Fla. Stat. §720.3075(4)(b).