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Condominium/HOA Disputes

When investing in a property located in a community governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA) buyers agree to abide by the rules the board sets. These rules typically govern everything from the colors you can paint your condo, which parking spots you can use, to whether the unit can be rented out. Should owners violate the rules or take issue with some of the regulations in the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), disputes can arise between owners and the members of the HOA.

Along the journey one may discover some red flags that may indicate issues of dishonesty or fraud on behalf of the HOA. It’s not as uncommon as many think, evidenced by the arrest in 2022 of several board members who were charged with stealing millions from the organization. That being said, we’ll explain what to look for and how to approach disputes with honest and even dishonest HOA organizations.

What Buyers Need to Know About CC&Rs in Miami

CC&Rs tend to go beyond prohibiting the owner’s behavior, as they are in place to maintain uniformity in the appearance of the property. This is why they dictate the aforementioned aspects of what owners can and can’t do and much more. Where laundry lines can be hung, colors of curtains, types of pets, and where fences can be erected are also controlled by the CC&Rs and many take approval from the HOA to avoid costly fines.

Bylaws are the Core of HOA Rules

While CC&Rs cover the “what” of the homeowners’ association, the bylaws explain the “how” about the day-to-day governance of the HOA. This includes issues including:

  • Process for nominating and electing new members to the board
  • Number of members that can serve at one time
  • Maximum length of board members’ service terms
  • Frequency of HOA board elections
  • Meeting frequency
  • Quorum requirements for official votes
  • Duties and responsibilities of board members

Bylaws require a vote with the quorum minimum present or signing a voting waiver to amend them.

Rules & Regulations

The community’s Rules & Regulations are kind of a catch-all for everything that isn’t covered in the CC&Rs or the Bylaws. These rules tend to get revised over time as the community grows and changes, so you’ll want to stay apprised of the most current rules. However, some condo buyers may not realize the impact of some rules and find themselves receiving notices of violations or warnings to enforce action against them. Some tips for avoiding fines that result in disputes include:

  • Review the relevant rules
  • Know about any recent rule changes
  • Protest wrongly applied rules
  • Attempt to compromise with the HOA
  • Consider legal action against the HOA

Stay Apprised of the Rules

Rules can be changed by board members, and owners may eventually live under different rules from when they invested. Issues like time frames to follow through on property insurance claims and rules for using common amenities are common updates, so know what they are to avoid fines and disputes.

Protest HOA Rules That Are Wrongly Applied

Should an owner want to protest the HOAs actions against them, giving the CC&Rs a close look is essential. This will disclose whether the owner’s actions were allowable or were an actual violation. The board may set a hearing or the owner may have to follow certain procedures to request one to state their grievance.

Try to Compromise in a Dispute With the Condo HOA

Should owners notify the HOA of problems with other homeowners or certain HOA rules, they may be obligated to arrange for arbitration or remediation. This is intended to open up an opportunity to compromise or make rule amendments.

Hire an Attorney with Experience Handling Condo HOA Disputes and Resolution

Should owners notice that the HOA isn’t following their own rules, hiring an experienced attorney near Miami, FL could be a smart investment. Owners may find that the HOA is requesting them to take or avoid actions that aren’t covered in the CC&Rs or are showing preference to other homeowners over others.

Battling the Condo HOA? How to Handle Disputes in Miami, FL

HOAs are legal entities, so owners can ask the courts to get involved, which is why having legal representation may be necessary. They can argue on behalf of the owner and ask the judge to order the association to follow its own rules. The court can decide if certain rules are unconstitutional or unfair and go on to order such rules to be removed from the governing documents.

Contact Our Miami, FL Condominium Dispute Specialists

Disputes between owners and their Florida condo HOA can happen over small to major violations or involve conflicts after a damaging storm rolls through. The Morgan Law Group has over 25 years of experience with property dispute resolution in condo communities. We’ll work with you every step of the way to help find workable solutions. Contact us online or call 888-904-2524 for a complimentary consultation to learn how we can turn around your situation legally.