Which Florida Officials Have Jurisdiction over HOAs, Management Companies, and Developers?
Florida condo associations are regulated by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. But no state regulatory agency directly exercises full jurisdiction over Florida HOAs. In fact, the Homeowners Association Act specifically finds that it is “not in the best interest of homeowners’ associations or the individual association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of homeowners’ associations.” Fla. Stat. §720.302(2). In some instances, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation can get involved in matters relating to elections, recalls, and mediation of covenant-enforcement issues. Fla. Stat. §720.302(2).
Property management companies in Florida are licensed and regulated by the Regulatory Counsel of Community Association Managers of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Most developers fall under the jurisdiction of the Construction Industry Licensing Board, also a division of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
The Florida Secretary of State has authority over any nonprofit and for-profit corporations in the state with regard to matters of corporate governance.
Condominium living can be a great experience. You get the community feeling of an apartment complex with the financial benefits of homeownership. But before purchasing a condo, you need to know what you’re getting into. Condo associations offer tangible benefits and services to their members, but members also owe certain obligations to the association and duties to their neighbors. Of course, condo associations are not all the same, and the legal framework governing condominiums varies from state to state. In general, though, there are a few important principles every condo owner or prospective purchaser should keep in mind.
Voting rights and procedures for members of a community association are extremely important as the right to vote for the Board of Directors and other important issues that affect a member’s ownership and use of his or her property are central to an HOA members fundamental interest. Thus, members of homeowners’ associations should familiarize themselves with the applicable bylaws and rules of the community so that the processes and procedures are known and understood. This knowledge will prepare members to vote on important issues with a clear understanding of the processes involved.
An elected HOA board is tasked with general administration and operation of the association, including enforcement of covenants, restrictions, and rules. When running smoothly, a board serves a valuable purpose in the community, helping to maintain an orderly, peaceful neighborhood. Unfortunately, though, friction between an HOA board and individual members, or even among board members, is not uncommon. And the resulting conflict can lead to litigation and other unpleasantness.
While constitutional free-speech rights can be applied to homeowners associations in only a small minority of jurisdictions (and there only under limited circumstances), many states and the United States Congress have decided that some forms of speech are too important to leave completely between homeowners’ associations and their members. With that in mind, numerous laws specifically restricting the authority of associations to impede certain forms of expression - most notably political speech and patriotic displays – have been enacted throughout the country.
One of the issues faced by homeowners living in communities governed by homeowners’ associations is the issue of when either the association itself or another homeowner encroaches on the homeowner’s property. This article is designed to give basic information to homeowners living in these private communities concerning how issues of encroachment affect their use and enjoyment of their property. One thing is imminently clear about case law involving encroachments in HOA communities – this is that disputes of this nature spin out of control and take on a life of their own which can be long, drawn out and expensive for all involved.
Zoning ordinances and HOA covenants often disallow commercial uses of properties in residential areas. A group home that accepts payments for services provided at the home is almost certainly engaging in commercial activity. But, although the plain language of an ordinance or covenant might appear to prohibit such a group home, federal law forbids state and local governments or HOAs from impeding certain protected uses (more on that later). Importantly, there are different categories of group homes, and the laws protecting each home depend in large part on what kind of home is involved.