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Covenant & Violations Enforcement in Your Florida Community

  • Host: Eric Malloy, with Steven Rappaport (Partner, Community Association Law, Sachs Sax Caplan). 
  • Focus: Covenant enforcement in community associations. 

Overview of Covenant Enforcement 

  1. Governing Documents 
  • Covenants: Declaration of Condominium (for condos) or Declaration of Restrictions/Covenants (for HOAs). 
  • Rules and regulations: Board-adopted policies. 
     
  1. Hierarchy and Enforcement 
  • Declaration provisions supersede rules. 
  • Enforcement: Ensure rules are reasonable and don’t conflict with the declaration. 
     
  1. Process 
  • Identify the provision and determine if it’s a rule or declaration. 
  • Ensure proper board vote and notice for rules. 
  • Address conflicts between rules and the declaration. 
     
  1. Amendments 
  • Declaration amendments usually require a 2/3 or 3/4 vote of the membership. 
  • Amend rules by board vote; ensure proper notice and compliance. 

Challenges and Recent Legislative Changes 

  1. Recent Legislation 
  • HOAs: Restrictions on prohibiting certain vehicles and vendors without a license. 
  • Changes affecting trash can violations and holiday lighting. 
     
  1. Self-Help Remedies 
  • Associations may have the right to perform necessary remedial work. 
  • Legal obligations and safety considerations for self-help remedies. 

Practical Takeaways 

  • Communication: Start with conversations to resolve violations. 
  • Documentation: Ensure thorough documentation of violations. 
  • Violation Letters: Use courtesy and follow-up letters before escalation. 
  • Committees: Use independent committees for fines and suspensions. 
  • Legal Remedies: Understand the process for fines, suspensions, and lawsuits. 

Q&A Highlights 

  • Marijuana Odors: Address as a nuisance if it affects neighbors. 
  • Fair Housing Act: Accommodations for emotional support animals and reasonable modifications for disabilities. 

Conclusion 

  • Consult with association counsel for specific issues. 
  • Keep up with legislative changes and ensure compliance. 
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