Florida Disclosure Laws
Chapter 720, Part II
Part II - Disclosure Prior to Sale of Residential Parcels
Up until the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), homeowners associations had a lot of leeway to interfere with religious practices or promote particular denominations. But now that the FHA is firmly entrenched in the national lexicon, there are significant limitations on the power an HOA has to restrict religion. The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604(b), makes it unlawful for “housing providers” (including community associations) “[t]o discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.”
Restrictive covenants in homeowners’ associations are not unusual—nearly every community has them. For homeowners, the restrictions are something of a trade-off. You accept a limitation on how you can use your property because, if everyone else in the community does, too, the neighborhood as a whole will be better off. ‘If we all agree to keep our yards well-maintained and our houses painted nice-looking colors, we all benefit from a more attractive neighborhood with higher property values.’ Courts view HOA restrictions along the same lines as any contract and presume the restrictions are enforceable unless there’s a specific reason why the restriction should not be enforced.
For community associations, the challenge is to craft an unmanned-aircraft policy that balances the interests of amateur drone operators against the rights of their neighbors. On one hand, drones unquestionably offer many practical advantages, and piloting a drone can be a fun and rewarding hobby. On the other, homeowners have a right to a safe and nuisance-free community where they can enjoy their property and families without any unwarranted intrusions—whether by man or machine. It can be tricky to find that cozy middle ground, but doing so gets easier if you know a little more about the positives and negative aspects of drones.
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.