HOA’s are organizations that make and enforce rules for properties and their residence. Once a property is purchased that is under HOA control, membership is automatic and owners are obligated to pay fees, or “HOA dues.” Dealing with an HOA can be a great experience…until things turn sour. It’s important to know your rights as a homeowner.
Although there are numerous laws that HOA’s fall under, there isn’t a specific agency that enforces Florida HOA statutes. This often leaves HOA’s to overstep their legal boundaries. Florida laws give clear guidelines and limitations as to what an HOA can and can’t do.
Here is a brief list of homeowners’ rights under Florida law:
Even though HOAs are powerful, you still have certain rights. These include:
- Disposition: Homeowners have the right to sell or rent their property to another person as long as there isn’t a lien.
- Control: Homeowners have the right to use their property in any way that they see fit, as long as it doesn’t break state and local laws and is following HOA community regulations.
- Possession: Homeowners hold the title to their property and not the HOA.
- Exclusion: Unless a warrant or court order is served, a homeowner has the right to control who enters their property.
Furthermore, homeowners have additional legal rights to:
- Change HOA rules according to its charter and procedures
- Contest fees and fines imposed by the HOA
- Access HAO financial reports and documents
- Right to disciplinary hearings when facing disciplinary actions by the HOA
- Sue board members and Community Association Managers (CAM)
- Display an American flag: Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005.
- Reasonable access and the use of service animals for homeowners with disabilities: Fair Housing Act.
- Not be discriminated against, per the Fair Housing Act
- Use solar panels, clotheslines, and satellite dishes
- Cultivating native plants that don’t conflict with the landscaping design of the community
If you feel that an HOA has overstepped its legal bounds and infringed upon your rights as a homeowner, legal counsel that is experienced with real estate litigation, is a must.