Unfair and Certainly Biased: Dealing with Selective Enforcement Woes in Homeowners’ Associations
“How come I am not allowed to park my car in my driveway, but my neighbor keeps multiple cars parked in his driveway? How come he hasn’t been given a warning?” “What do you mean I’m being fined for painting my house that color when my neighbor painted her house bright purple?” “How come I can’t use Crabgrass instead of St. Augustine grass for my lawn? My neighbor never mows his lawn!” These are some of the examples of what residents of Homeowners’ Associations may face with selective enforcement issues. Situations like these call for the expertise of residential lawyers. To understand selective enforcement in Homeowners’ Associations, let’s take look at both selective enforcement and Homeowners’ Associations.
Selective Enforcement in Homeowners’ Associations: Ultimately Unfair
Selective enforcement is the unfair and biased approach to enforcement of rules and regulations. You’ve heard a child shout “that’s not fair!” when an adult disciplines it, but not other child, for doing the same thing. Perhaps you were raised with siblings and there was always one of you who got away with everything. That’s unfair! That is a great example of selective enforcement. The disdain and general malaise that permeates issues surrounding selective enforcement can be deceitfully difficult to notice. But once you do, the apparent preferential treatment of others can make your blood boil.
Although residential lawyers can’t help you out when you’re fighting over preferential treatment between siblings, they can assist in selective enforcement issues. What do we mean when we use the term selective enforcement? When a Homeowners’ Association enforces a regulation against one resident or property owner, and not another or others, that is selective enforcement. This can be taxing and aggravating for residents of a HOA.
What are Homeowners’ Associations, also known as HOAs?
Homeowners’ Association are very common in Florida, and seem to be ever-increasing. HOA stands for Homeowners’ Association. If legal issues arise involving an HOA, Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes is the “go-to” guide. According to Florida Statute 720.302(1), the purpose of Chapter 720 is to, “…to give statutory recognition to corporations not for profit that operate residential communities in this state, to provide procedures for operating homeowners’ associations, and to protect the rights of association members without unduly impairing the ability of such associations to perform their functions.” But what are Homeowners’ Associations?
According to Florida Statute 720.301(9), a HOA is defined as a, “…Florida corporation responsible for the operation of a community or a mobile home subdivision in which the voting membership is made up of parcel owners or their agents, or a combination thereof, and in which membership is a mandatory condition of parcel ownership, and which is authorized to impose assessments that, if unpaid, may become a lien on the parcel. The term “homeowners’ association” does not include a community development district or other similar special taxing district created pursuant to statute.” Although selective enforcement issues can plague Homeowners’ Associations, it is important to remember that some HOA rules and regulations may contradict state statutes. As a result, these regulations may be unenforceable.
Homeowners’ Associations Rules and Regulations Do Not Always Reign Supreme
There is nothing quite like the smell of sheets that have been drying in the fresh air. Do you love the smell of clothes that have been drying outside? You’re not alone. Some of you may have heard of stories of whether a person is allowed to have a clothesline in their yard, and the arguments that ensued.
This debate isn’t unique to Florida. However, the growth of interest in protecting the environment is here to stay. As a result, many states are trying to encourage environmentally-sound ways to conserve energy and promote renewable energy resources. In the State of Florida, there exists a “right-to-dry” statute, and it means exactly that. You have the right to put up a clothesline and dry your clothes outside.
Of course, no right is absolute, and there may be some restrictions depending where you reside. Florida Statute 163.04 declares, “ A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement.” Speaking with residential lawyers can help you better understand your rights as a resident living in a HOA.
Enjoying Clean Sheets & Fresh Air
As a matter of fact, drying clothes outside was exactly what Terri Krass decided to do once she heard that her HOA’s clothesline ban does not supersede Florida’s “right-to-dry” statute. Krass stated that many residents were not aware of the “right-to-dry” statute. Indeed, many people in Florida are unaware of this Florida Statute, and Florida isn’t the only state that protects these rights. Promoting renewable energy sources and protecting the environment is one of the main reasons that this statue has been enacted. But many agree that there’s nothing quite like the fresh-air smell of laundry. (Payne, 2015). Nevertheless, sometimes you can’t deal with an HOA board on your own, and you need the help of residential lawyers.
Residential Lawyers at Bret Jones, P.A. to the Rescue
Whether you fighting selective enforcement or another issue with your HOA, our residential lawyers team at Bret Jones, P.A. understand that your home is your castle. Whether you are a resident in a HOA, or you are a member of a Homeowners’ Association Board, our residential lawyers can help you. Although there are many resources online that can assist you in any dispute that you may have where you live, you need the care and expertise of residential lawyers to assist you in your needs. Contact the offices of Bret Jones, P.A. to handle your selective enforcement woes. Let our office take care of your frustrations and burdens so you can focus on the important things in life.
Payne, Melanie. (December 6, 2015). Florida’s Clotheslines Law Trumps HOA Rules. News-Press.com, http://www.news-press.com/story/news/investigations/melanie-payne/2015/12/05/floridas-clothesline-law-trumps-home-owner-association-hoa/76571156/