and Video Courtesy of
By Mike Holfeld
July 8, 2008
of the violations listed in the report included white fences
painted the wrong shade of white, the wrong color curtain
lining showing from widows and palm trees on front yards.
Fla. -- Complaints made against
homeowner associations in Florida include anything from requests to
wash and wax mailboxes to threats over for-sale signs in yards,
according to a Local 6 investigation.
Jan Bergemann, who is the president of a consumer
group Cyber Citizens for Justice, said he receives hundreds of
complaints from people saying their homeowner associations have gone
of the violations listed in the report included white fences painted
the wrong shade of white, the wrong color curtain lining showing
from widows and palm trees on front yards.
almost sounds like a dictatorship," Local 6's Mike Holfeld
"It is," Bergemann said.
"Sometimes it's worse. Even the best homeowners association is
only one election away from a dictatorship."
Bergemann was appointed to the state's HOA
task force under Jeb Bush, Holfeld reported.
Through the years, he's seen neighborhoods
splintered over everything from grass to the color of paint.
In Brevard County's Plantation Oaks, the right
to sell your home has a catch in the fine print of the HOA rules and
covenants -- for sale signs are not allowed.
"In my opinion, it's just not
right," homeowner Josh Travis said. "I don't feel like I'm
living in America anymore if I can't put up a sign in my front
The report also featured Mildred Zilka who
called Local 6 when her HOA gave her 14 days to paint her mailbox.
The request included a recommendation to wash and wax the mailbox.
"I called you, yes, because I thought it
was ridiculous and I thought it was a thing of nitpicking,"
Zilka painted her mailbox because she didn't
want a problem or a fine.
Orlando attorney Peter McGrath said when you
buy a home in Central Florida, chances are you signed up for an
address with enforced neighborhood sanctions.
"You ownership is going to be subjected
to these covenants and restrictions," McGrath said.
McGrath said you can fight an HOA violation if
there is proof the board is out of line or the rules are vague.
"I can cite one example of a situation
involving an owner who painted their sidewalk a different color and
in that case, the owner prevailed," McGrath said.
Holfeld reported that in the case, the rules
were vague and the homeowner won. In fact, the homeowners association ended up
paying the homeowner's $60,000 in legal fees.
Holfeld recommended that before anyone buys a
home they should check the deed restrictions to learn about the