When John Lennon imagined all the people living in peace and hoped one day you would join them, he did not intend to set up a Florida homeowners’ association (HOA). Even if he did, the paperwork would have put him off. Dreaming of a peaceful environment is one thing, but it will not work without a sound legal framework.
When creating an HOA, be sure to consider these steps:
- Create your vision: The clearer your vision, the better you understand what you must do to preserve that vision. You need to consider how it will look in one year, in five years, in ten years and so on.
- Set our clear rules: Your Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCR) is the contract between the HOA and its members. The more clearly defined, the easier they are to understand and enforce.
- Understand the laws: There are limits to the rules you can make. For instance, you can ban pets, but you cannot ban children (except in some communities for seniors). The Florida Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on family status, gender, religion, nationality, color or disability.
- Implement an accounting system: Many an HOA has ended up in court defending how they have spent community money. Being in charge of other people’s money comes with a lot of responsibility. Accurate and transparent bookkeeping is essential.
- Fulfill your duties: If members do not abide by the rules, you have the right to take certain actions against them. If you do not fulfill your side of the bargain, they could take legal action against you.
Failing to take the necessary care when setting up your Florida homeowners’ association can lead to problems with members later. Seek legal help to ensure a smooth future and minimize the chance of litigation.