The truth about Homeowners Associations
of Homeowners Associations protects rights
But what about your rights?
saying good fences make good neighborhoods rings true for many people. But
what if your neighborhood will not let you build a fence?
now, more than 50 million Americans live in deed restricted communities.
Homeowners Associations are supposed to maintain your neighborhoods appeal and
your property value. But what about your rights?
closely beyond the manicured lawns and palms trees, and you will see an ugly
division in many picturesque
restricted communities are a big selling point, but by moving in, you are
agreeing to pay your dues and follow the associations rules.
many neighborhoods, an un mowed lawn, setting your garbage out too early,
installing a flag pole or even having the wrong colored flowers can mean a
fine. Ignore it and you could end up in court.
a five year battle over the right to fly the American flag on a flag pole, a
Jupiter man faced foreclosure after he was sued by his homeowners association
for $20,000 dollars in legal fees.
extreme case? Think again.
estimates say more than half of
look at a house and say, ‘Oh well, we're going to buy it’, but they don't
realize it comes attached with a lot of restrictions," say Jan Bergemann,
organizer of a grassroots organization called Cyber Citizens for Justice.
a homeowners association, you’re really suing yourself because the developer
or the board is using your dues to defend its own mistakes,” says Bergemann.
“It makes no sense."
Carr knows both sides of the equation. He spent four years as President of his
you volunteer to serve, you need to take the time to familiarize yourself not
only with the rules and regulations but with the people that make up the
homeowners association," says Carr.
a situation where one complaint can lead to bad blood, it is recommended
complaints be taken to a board member or the management company, rather than
putting it in writing. Also, talk to your neighbors. They may be having the
you've been cited for an infraction, don't ignore it. You typically have 14
days to respond or face fines.
can go before the board to ask members about your citation. By
are not getting much help in Tallahassee where a house measure to regulate
homeowner and condo associations died in committee, as did a senate measure
forbidding condo associations from
foreclosing over small amounts of money.
a recent vote, the Florida House voted 99 to 11 in favor of a measure that
allows homeowner associations to force you to sell your home to collect fines
for violations of use restrictions.
comes despite a recent court ruling in March in which a
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