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.
In other words, if you want to paint your house, put on an addition, redesign the facade of your home or otherwise change its external appearance, you will likely need to secure approval from an ARC.
These committees are in place to preserve the character and appearance of the community. In some cases, their authority and guidelines are rigidly enforced. In other cases, they can be more flexible.
This article from Zillow offers some helpful suggestions for how to get a design proposal approved by an ARC. Some suggestions include making sure it is clear, being flexible (if you can be) and taking time to review the design guidelines of your association before submitting the proposal.
However, disputes can and do arise. Oftentimes, arguments stem from allegedly unauthorized or inconsistent actions by an ARC. Homeowners can refer to their association guidelines and declaration of covenants for guidance on such situations, but it may be necessary to take legal action to protect your home and your rights as a homeowner.
If you are involved in a dispute with your HOA or an ARC in Florida, then a legal representative can provide the support and answers you need to resolve the matter.
For other material on community assoication disputes: http://www.naplesattorney.net/2012/06/20/community-association-disputes/