The Hammocks Homeowner's Association of Orange County, Inc.

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published April 8, 2014


Honestly, if you read this proposed amendment you can only ask the question: "Why don't these boards just ask the owners to hand over the deed to their homes and get it over with?


Since certain board members and their attorneys found out that Governor Scott and Speaker Weatherford killed a homeowner-friendly bill that would have finally created a regulatory agency to protect homeowners from abuses by dictatorial board members and their attorneys, these folks are getting even more brazen in their attempts to remove the given rights of homeowners.


The latest attempt of removing homeowners' rights comes from the board of The Hammocks Homeowner's Association of Orange County, Inc. Just read the proposed provisions of these planned amendments to the Declaration of Covenants and Notice of Restrictions on Real Estate for The Hammocks: Amending Article IV, Section 3 and adding Article IV, Section 9.5 of the Declaration of Covenants and Notice of Restrictions on Real Estate for The Hammocks.


This is the real scary part of these proposed amendments (Click on link above to read the complete proposed amendment):

THE ASSOCIATION may collect such attorney's fees and costs as an Individual LOT Assessment upon judicial determination of the Association's entitlement to such attorney's fees and cost against one or more LOT OWNERS. ALL OWNERS of a lot re jointly and severally liable for attorneys' fees and costs and any Individual LOT Assessment levied against a LOT.


This is an obvious attempt to circumvent the ruling of the FOURTH DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL in the case of GEORGE ANDRES and ANNA ANDRES, v. INDIAN CREEK PHASE III-B HOMEOWNER'S ASSOCIATION. This was the case of the "JUPITER FLAGMAN" where the association still tried to foreclose on the home of the veteran for attorney's fees after the legislature passed a law to protect owners flying "Ol' Glory" from a flagpole. 


The appeals court clearly ruled that homesteaded property is protected against foreclosure for legal fees. But it seems there is always a slick attorney available here in Florida willing to find some language trying to kill homeowner's rights!


Homeowners considering to vote in favor of this amendment should never forget: "YOU MAY BE NEXT!" And if you read this amendment carefully you will realize that the language allows the association to foreclose on your home by making homeowners liable for any actions of family members, guests, invitees and/or tenants. Do you want to vote on anything that may cost you your home at a later time? You know the old saying: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!


If my memory serves me right, attorneys who would have attempted to push such amendments in former times would have been tarred and feathered and kicked of town. I think it was a good way to deal with such folks! Nowadays these attorneys are actually being awarded with huge amounts of money paid for by unsuspecting homeowners who often don't realize the dangers of such amendments!