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The surprisingly common way Florida HOAs may violate state law

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | HOA Law |

Homeowners associations (HOAs) serve a very important role in communities around Florida. They help to establish home maintenance standards and protect the value of residential properties accordingly. They may also provide certain amenities, ranging from security to community pools and exercise facilities.

Florida state statutes allow HOAs to charge residents a monthly fee and to impose certain restrictions on how people use and maintain their real properties. For example, HOAs can prohibit certain colors of siding or certain types of plants in the front lawn of the home. They might impose noise curfews or prohibit short-term rental arrangements. If someone violates those rules, they could face penalties, including fines.

Yet, an HOA’s ability to continue assessing fees and enforcing standards depends on its compliance with the law. It is surprisingly easy for HOAs to violate the law, and one mistake, in particular, can undermine an HOA’s authority or lead to the removal of certain members.

Florida law requires open meetings

Having authority in a local community could very easily lead to corruption. People might dole out contracts to businesses that they own or to people that do them favors. They will act for their own benefit rather than in the best interests of the community. Preventing such abuses of authority requires transparency on the part of the HOA. Therefore, Florida statutes require that every HOA meeting is open to all community property owners. Additionally, the HOA has to post advance notice of the meeting schedule. Meetings should not occur behind closed doors without public knowledge.

There are many reasons beyond corruption why in HOA might want to hold a closed-door session. For example, there might be one local resident who comes and derails the meeting frequently. They may demand a lot of time and cause friction in the community. However difficult certain individuals may be to deal with, the HOA board has to give them an opportunity to make their concerns heard and to provide feedback on the HOA’s operations.

If local property owners uncover evidence of closed-doors sessions, they could potentially take action, theoretically including seeking to remove people from their position on the HOA board. Understanding and complying with Florida Statutes can help to preserve the authority and integrity of a local HOA.