and Video Courtesy of Channel 7 News
By Patrick Fraser
September 16, 2019
Ah, the life in an association. One homeowner says
the board is making him take up his walkway while letting other walkways
stay. He calls it selective enforcement. Can they do that to him? It’s
why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Daniel and Bethany
had a 3-year-old when she got pregnant with Alex. You
know what that means: a bigger house.
Daniel Farago: “We like the aspect, that this property
was on the marina, that we can go out there and walk.”
A few feet from their back door is a walkway around the
marina. A nice place for a family.
Daniel Farago: “These don’t come up for sale very often,
so once it came up for sale, we took the opportunity to
When they bought the home at La Mirage in Aventura, a
small area behind their house was not paved.
Daniel Farago: “Without that walkway, after it rains, it gets very
muddy, it gets dangerous. It could be a slip-and-fall incident.”
Since it’s the common area, Daniel and a neighbor
both filled out an application for permission to put down these pavers —
and got it.
Daniel Farago: “They did correct.”
Patrick Fraser: “In writing?”
Daniel Farago: “In writing, by the president.”
Fast forward a year. A new board is running the associations at La
Mirage, and said the walkway was installed illegally.
Daniel Farago: “The association was saying that I never received
Daniel thought, no problem, and showed them the approval, signed by the
prior board president.
He then got a letter from the board’s attorney.
Daniel Farago: “He said I fraudulently signed or forged the president’s
signature to obtain approval.”
Being accused of forgery irritated Daniel, but again, no problem. The
prior president wrote that’s his “authentic signature.” It’s “not a
forgery,” and the “association approved the walkways.”
Daniel Farago: “A hundred percent. We thought it would be all done.”
Nope. Daniel says he was told the pavers were now illegal because he
needed approval from the majority of the 88 residents living at La
Daniel Farago: “It’s not in the bylaws, so they made this up.”
Daniel says other people have put in pavers like he did, making it clear
to him what’s going on: selective enforcement.
Daniel Farago: “About 60 to 75 out of the 88 units in this community
have either a walkway in the front that they repaved on a common element
or in the back. However, all those have stayed or remained.”
Well, Howard, the board is telling Daniel to remove pavers approved by a
prior board president but letting other pavers in the common area stay.
Can they do that?
Daniel Farago: “It may surprise you, but one board can reverse the
decisions of a prior board. However, no board has the right to
selectively enforce the rules against other homeowners. If a walkway
built in the common area, whether in the front of the back of the home,
is acceptable for some residents, it has to be acceptable for all of the
residents. That means Daniel’s walkway can return.”
A La Mirage board member told me that the former president did not tell
the board he was approving the walkway and should have, that they wanted
everyone to look the same.
When Daniel refused to remove what he considered a legal walkway, the
association hired workers to take them away. The pavers are now sitting
on the side of another resident’s house.
The board’s attorney didn’t want to talk to me, but in a letter to
Daniel denied any selective enforcement or discrimination against him.
Daniel says he will not give up and now feels he has to fight back and
take the board to arbitration.
Howard Finkelstein: “If Daniel goes to arbitration and wins, the board
not only has to pay to replace his walkway, and they have to pay his
attorney’s fees. But if he loses, he has to pay the board’s attorney’s
As Daniel prepares to fight back, he sees why many residents don’t
battle their boards.
Daniel Farago: “They are using the community’s money to pay for
arbitration, and we’re using our personal money. So for them it’s easy;
for us it’s hard.”
If Daniel wins in arbitration, the board could refuse to reinstall his
walkway, but he would argue, to avoid being selective, they’d have to
make every resident tear up the walkways they installed in front of
What happens when Daniel to arbitration against his board? We’ll follow
him and let you know.
Heading down a walkway paved with problems? Ready to install a solution?
Be selective and contact us, so we can create a path for a common-sense
approach for you.