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Naples Real Estate Law Blog

Are any clauses prohibited in HOA documents?

When people buy homes, the most important document they will sign is the purchase agreement, and people typically inspect this agreement closely before signing it. However, there are other documents that warrant just as much inspection if you are buying a home in a homeowners' association.

Before you buy in an HOA, you will want to review numerous documents. These include: HOA bylaws, a declaration of covenants, articles of incorporation and even minutes from recent board meetings. Examining these documents could help you identify any problematic or unlawful clauses.

Little Free Library causes big problems for homeowner, HOA

One of the most frustrating disputes homeowners can get into with a homeowners' association involves adding something or making changes on their property that they view as harmless. They might even argue that it makes the neighborhood a better place.

However, HOAs don't always agree and they can reject or request removal of an unapproved element. This can (and does) lead to fights that can spiral out and affect the entire community. 

A look at HOAs and limits on religious expression

Being part of a homeowners' association can mean giving up some freedoms you would otherwise have if you lived on separate property without the confines of condo boards and HOAs. This could include certain religious-related freedoms.

If you are religious, then you will want to be especially thorough when reviewing the rules before buying a home in a condo or HOA. Failure to do so could lead to some frustrating and upsetting disputes that make it difficult to enjoy your home and feel comfortable expressing yourself. 

Issues can arise when people do short-term leasing in HOAs

Florida is a popular vacation destination for people all over the world. Naples in particular offers visitors a unique and charming getaway, whether they are here to visit family or soak in the sun at the beach. And even though there are numerous hotels in the city, visitors are increasingly choosing short-term home rentals over hotels when they visit the area.

As such, more homeowners are considering the possibility of renting out their home through companies like Airbnb and HomeAway. However, if you are considering this as an option, you should be aware of issues that can arise if your home is part of a homeowners' association.

4 things to consider before buying in an HOA

Before you buy any home, it is crucial that you think carefully not just about how much money you plan to spend, but also what your purchase means for your future.

For instance, if you are considering buying a home in a homeowners' association, you will want to be sure you understand what you are signing up for. You are not just buying a home; you are also buying a community that could come with strict rules. Below, we offer four important things you will want to consider before buying a home in an HOA.

Preparing for presuit mediation

Disputes involving a homeowners' association can be contentious and emotional, especially when they affect community relationships and enjoyment of one's own home. 

As such, it is important to take HOA disputes seriously and take deliberate actions to seek a resolution. In most cases, this means attending presuit mediation. If you are a homeowner who is battling your HOA over issues like covenant enforcement, board meetings or changes to your parcel, then it can be wise to prepare for presuit mediation.

3 reasons why it can be wise to resolve HOA issues quickly

For all the pain points that a homeowners' association (HOA) might alleviate, disputes can arise when residents and the association disagree. In these situations, it can be wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible as there are numerous benefits to resolving the matter quickly.

One situation in another state illustrates the various consequences of failing to reach a timely agreement. That case, which can be read in detail in this article, involves a couple who recently purchased their home and an HOA which refused to mitigate their concerns over a noisy access gate.

What is an ARC?

CONDO and HOA issues: If you live in a homeowners' association, or if you are considering buying a house or condominium in an association, then you should be prepared for the limitations that come with membership. For instance, if you plan to make any changes to your home, or even your landscaping, chances are that you will have to get approval from an Architectural Review Committee ("ARC).

For instance, as specified in Florida statutes,  an ARC (or similar group) is a committee of a HomeOwners Association that has the authority to review and approve any proposed plans that would alter certain aspects of a structure in the association.

HOA Board Meeting - Traps for the unwary

Homeowner's Association (HOA) Law - Attorney Holly Rice's notes from the arena:

Recently, I had sat in on an interesting Board of Directors meeting for a homeowners' association. I liken the experience to watching a shark maul its next meal. This particular HOA had only FOUR members, and they were all on the Board. Alliances had been created, such as you might see on that show, Survivor. Two on two. To me, that meant basically nothing was going to get done. Two issues stood out: FIRST - suspension of voting rights of one of the members. SECOND - enforcement of the covenants to compel removal of a boat from one of the docks. Let's take a look at each issue.

The first issue was whether one member would have his voting rights suspended. Curiously, the member in question was permitted to vote on whether his voting rights would be suspended. However, the President refused to allow him to speak. Not surprisingly, it was a 2-2 vote. Florida Statutes Chapter 720 deals with Homeowners' Associations. Fla. Stat. §720.303 provides that members have the right to attend and speak at board meetings. The President violated Florida law when he refused to allow this board officer to speak. Interestingly, the Florida Statutes do not directly address whether a board member has the right to vote on the suspension of his own voting rights. However, one should always look to not only the Covenant Declaration, but also to the Association Bylaws for guidance. Also, Florida's Not For Profit Corporation Statute, governs where the HOA statute doesn't address an association issue.

The second issue was slightly more complicated,

Condos - Common problems involving common areas

Common areas are often desirable spaces or amenities that come with living in a condominium. They can be lobbies, party rooms, pools or rooftop gardens, though elevators, storage areas and hallways can also be common areas.

Whether they are fun or functional, common areas are owned by the condominium association, as opposed to the individuals who use them. As such, disputes can arise when it comes to control or use of these spaces. Below, we discuss three common problems involving common elements as well as what you can do to resolve them.

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