Florida HOAs must often balance the unique needs of individual community owners with the needs of the entire community.
Laws governing homeowner associations (HOA), and community associations in general, in the state of Florida, are constantly evolving.
Because of the evolving legal landscape it can often be challenging to understand the appropriate application of laws and regulations governing these types of communities.
We help homeowner associations with everything from drafting by-laws and articles of incorporation to providing title services.
Our experienced HOA attorneys provide real estate, business and litigation services to community associations.
Give us a call and find out how our legal services can help your HOA maintain a peaceful and healthy community (407) 259-2426 or Schedule a Consultation
HOAs, and other community associations, are responsible for both enacting and enforcing the legal and contractual rights of community owners. This involves multiple areas of real estate law, contract law, business law, and even constitutional law. Further, most Florida community associations, or HOAs, must resolve owner disputes, interpret contracts, maintain the premises, make repairs, ensure the safety of residents, and implement emergency response procedures. Community rules and regulatory covenants must also be uniformly interpreted and applied.
HOA attorneys may provide the following services on the association’s behalf:
The majority of owner disputes arise when a restrictive covenant is breached. These covenants are often contained in the deed itself. Therefore, duly recorded covenants are enforceable in a court of law. Community associations are tasked with enforcing these restrictive covenants, which are designed to ensure the community’s uniformity, upkeep, and quality of life. These covenants are designed to help maintain property value and/or serve the needs of a particular social group, i.e., age-restricted communities.
Not all disputes involve community owners. Third-party vendor lawsuits, construction defect claims, insurance disputes, and developer litigation can drain association resources. Hiring general counsel for your community association may prevent various lawsuits, saving you money and promoting community cohesion. However, there are times when litigation is unavoidable.
Common types of HOA related lawsuits:
Most buyers purchasing property in deed-restricted communities are drawn by the uniformity of appearance and use guidelines governing the neighborhood. Owners may also benefit from access to regulated common areas and amenities, community maintenance, and emergency protections. Florida leads the United States in community association membership with almost 48,000 community associations across the Sunshine State.
Despite the complex nature of restrictive convents and community ownership, volunteers run most HOAs. These unpaid owners are seldom attorneys. Instead, they’re community owners committed to maintaining the quality of their homes. They deserve the same right to quietly enjoy their property as the remaining association members, but it’s difficult when they have the thankless task of enforcing community by-laws and covenants. An experienced Florida HOA lawyer can draft, interpret, and even enforce community association restrictions.
An HOA attorney is especially important during fee enforcement proceedings and financial disputes. Having a neutral party handle defaulting members promotes neighborly cohesion while protecting the legal rights of all members. Most owners don’t relish confronting their neighbors about financial reproductions. HOAs may place a lien on the property of a member who fails to pay dues, which requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.
A qualified Florida HOA attorney can also answer common legal questions board members cant. HOA membership disputes often involve matters of contract interpretation, which is reserved for attorneys. Non-lawyers cannot advise owners as to the legal interpretation and enforceability of HOA provisions, but experienced Florida community association attorneys will be familiar with HOA-specific case law. Florida is on the forefront of community association law, which means thousands of community association cases are litigated in Florida courts each year.
A “community association” consists of participating property owners in a single community whose deeds contain property use restrictions. These restrictions generally require community owners to abide by regulations established by the developer and future regulations enacted by the community association, typically through an elected board of directors.
Community associations are controlled by a set of governing documents, which include:
Different laws govern each type of community association, but they generally abide by the same principles of restrictive ownership and community enforcement. Florida recognizes five types of community associations:
As the Orlando area continues to grow, HOAs and community associations are becoming increasingly commonplace in newer single family home and townhome developments. If you are a unit owner or an association, you want to have a complete understanding of all the legal documents involved.
You’ll also want to ensure that you understand all of the rules and regulations – as well as your rights and obligations – under your community’s governing documents.
Finally, you’ll want experienced legal representation on your side in the event a dispute arises between homeowners/unit owners and the association.
When it comes to working out issues and disputes, you should look no further than the experienced lawyers at Walsh Banks Law. Our skilled attorneys have been representing both unit owners and associations for many years and pride themselves on offering thorough, result-oriented legal representation and practical solutions to legal disputes. Contact us today to find out how we might be able to assist with your legal matter.