HOA & Condo
What is an HOA?
An HOA is a homeowners association, which is a type of non-profit organization that governs a community of homeowners. HOAs are responsible for maintaining the common areas of the community, such as the landscaping, pools, and clubhouses. They also enforce the community's covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).
What is a Condo?
If I say "condo," you almost certainly think of a multi-story apartment block, mostly filled with owners rather than renters. That is the most common form of a condominium, but technically, a condominium is a type of "ownership" not a type of building. Townhouses can be condos, single-family detached houses can be condos. Even manufactured, mobile homes can be condos. A condo is a form of housing ownership in which the owner owns the unit they live in, but the common areas of the building, grounds, and amenities are owned by all of the unit owners together in an undivided share. Condominium associations differ from regular HOAs because in those communities, the HOA owns the common areas, not the individual homeowners. Most of the laws in Florida are similar or even identical for HOAs and Condo associations, but many laws are different and apply only to one type of association. While they are actually "condominium owners' associations, they are commonly called HOAs, too. This can make researching legal issues about your property confusing for the inexperienced. For this FAQ, I will also refer to a Condo association as an HOA in the general sense of the term.
What are the benefits of living in an HOA or Condo community?
Some of the benefits of living in an HOA or condo community include:
* Access to common areas such as pools, clubhouses, and tennis courts * Maintenance of common areas by the HOA * Enforcement of CC&Rs to protect property values
What are the drawbacks of living in an HOA or Condo community?
Some of the drawbacks of living in an HOA or Condo community include:
* Monthly HOA or Condo dues * Restrictions on what homeowners can do with their property * Potential for disputes with the HOA
What are the top HOA and Condo law issues in Florida?
Some of the top HOA condo law issues in Florida include:
Covenant enforcement disputes
Assessment Payment and Collection disputes
Management company disputes
Cooper Law is experienced and equipped to handle these types of disputes for the homeowner or the association.
What are my rights as an HOA member in Florida?
As an HOA or Condo owner in Florida, you have the right to:
Participate in the HOA's decision-making process
Vote on HOA matters
Inspect the HOA's financial records
Use the HOA's common areas
Be free from discrimination by the HOA
What are my responsibilities as an HOA member Florida?
As an HOA or Condo owner in Florida, you are responsible for:
Paying your HOA assessments and other fees
Complying with the HOA's CC&Rs
Maintaining your unit
Being respectful of your neighbors
It is vital that you pay your assessments and other fees before they become delinquent. If you do not pay, your HOA can suspend your access to the amenities, revoke your voting privileges, and even foreclose on your home.
What should I do if I have a dispute with my HOA or condo association?
If you have a dispute with your HOA, the first thing you should do is try to resolve the dispute amicably. Remember, the board of directors is made up of your neighbors. Other than the few bad apples we sometimes hear about, these unpaid volunteers just want the community to be the best it can be. They are almost always willing to work with you to solve an issue if they can. Sometimes, however, they may feel constrained by the rules of the community they have to enforce or they just don't agree with your interpretation of the rules. If you are unable to resolve the dispute amicably, you may want to consider contacting an experienced HOA lawyer to get him or her involved.
Can I sue my HOA?
Yes, you can sue your HOA if they have violated your rights. However, it is important to note that there are certain restrictions on suing HOAs. For example, you must typically attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation or arbitration before you can file a lawsuit.
Can I use any lawyer to handle my HOA issue in Florida?
You can use any attorney admitted to the Florida Bar. However, when choosing a lawyer, it is important to select someone who has experience in HOA law in Florida. HOA law if far more complex than most other areas of law, touching on laws affecting real property, contracts, corporate governance, discrimination, fair housing, ADA, and torts, just to name a few. Moreover, there is no one set of laws that applies to every HOA. The HOA's governing documents must be read in relation to multiple chapters of the Florida Statutes and sometimes multiple versions of those statutes from different years. Cooper Law has over 20 years of experience advising homeowners and association boards of directors in all types of HOA matters in Florida.
If you have any questions about HOA or Condo law in Florida, let us know how we can help.
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