HOME OWNER ASSOCIATION LAWYER IN NAPLES FL.
Homeowners’ Associations (or “HOA’s”) bring a different set of challenges when compared to condominium associations. The primary purpose of an HOA is to protect and enhance property values, and it does so by providing two (2) main functions: 1) enforcing the deed restrictions; and 2) maintaining common areas and amenities. In HOA’s, the homeowner has primary responsibility for the home and the lot on which it sits. However, one of the big misunderstandings on the part of an owner of a single-family property is that there are much greater freedoms and that there will not be any “condo commandos” telling them how to live. Unfortunately, this is largely untrue…
While the owner of a single-family property enjoy the rights to a larger piece of property, the deed restrictions and rules of the HOA are binding and will govern the manner in which you can use your property. Our attorneys have lived in HOA’s, they have served on HOA boards, they have handled “turnover” from developers and they have represented hundreds of HOA’s in their legal matters. Adamczyk Law Firm not only has the experience to guide your HOA through its legal issues, but we also offer proactive solutions and strategies that will allow your HOA to set the standard of excellence for community living.
DOCUMENT AMENDMENTS AND UPDATES
HOA’s can only go as far as their documents will take them. Yes, Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes provides guidance and certain legal restrictions for HOA’s, but the community documents truly define the community. When your community was created, the developer recorded a set of deed restrictions that were designed primarily for the initial development and sale of homes. If your community is still using the documents created by the developer, it is likely that your HOA is hitting road blocks on various issues and projects that would otherwise be manageable with updated documents. Another serious issue for HOA’s is the age of the documents. In Florida, the HOA’s recorded documents became stale and unenforceable after 30 years. To avoid this result, the documents need to be preserved or revived under specific legal procedures. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of document amendments and updates for HOA’s, and we can tailor our services to the needs and budget of your HOA.
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW AND STANDARDS
One thing that is unique to HOA’s is the ability of a board or committee to approve architectural changes you wish to make to your property. HOA’s cannot tell you what colors you must use inside your home or whether you can renovate your kitchen, but generally they have the legal right to approve exterior modifications and alterations before the homeowner performs them. Homeowners who ignore the HOA’s right to approve exterior improvements can face fines and other harsh legal penalties. However, an HOA does not have the unrestricted right to say “no” to improvements you wish to make. In order to have any reviewing authority, an HOA must adopt specific standards regarding sizes, locations, materials and colors and make those standards available to the homeowners. Further, when a homeowner submits an application for a certain renovation or color change that complies with the HOA’s adopted standards, the HOA cannot arbitrarily reject your request. Our firm has helped many HOA’s draft their architectural standards so that they are specific enough to comply with the law, but also flexible enough for the HOA to protect property values. Contact us if you wish to discuss ways to improve this process in your HOA.
DEED RESTRICTIONS & NUISANCE ISSUES
The restrictions found in your community Declarations are routinely enforced by Florida courts. The community Declaration serves as an agreement and “contract” between the HOA and the homeowners, whether or not the homeowner bothers to read the document before buying in the community. In the Declaration for your community, you will likely find restrictions regarding commercial activity, vehicles, parking, pets, leasing, storage and other activities. This restrictions can and should be enforced by the HOA when a homeowner or tenant refuses to comply, but an effective enforcement process requires assistance from experienced legal counsel. Your HOA will also likely deal with “nuisance” issues, which can range from unreasonable levels of noise to improper conduct in the common areas. Our firm has designed tools and processes to handle the most difficult of “nuisance” cases, and we encourage you to contact us if your HOA needs assistance enforcing its deed restrictions.
LAND — USE, GOVERNMENTAL AND OTHER SPECIAL ISSUES
At some point, it is likely that your HOA will encounter a special issue involving the PUD or zoning restrictions, or your HOA may face a dispute with a neighboring subdivision or with the local land use authorities. These issues go outside the realm of HOA operations and involve complex real estate and zoning laws. Our attorneys have the necessary experience to handle these special issues when they arise, avoiding the need to engage “outside counsel” in most cases. We have handled disputes involving roadways, easements, title and public dedications, and we have also represented in HOA’s in various re-zoning and PUD amendment projects. We are truly a “full service” law firm for your HOA.