Tampa Enforcement Of Association Rules Lawyer
Declaration and Rule Enforcement in Tampa HOAs
Homeowners Associations are governed by a Board of Directors made up of association members who volunteer their time to serve their community. Board members, who are elected by secret ballot at the HOA’s annual meeting, are responsible to create, amend and enforce rules governing many aspects of living in the neighborhood. Rule enforcement is necessary to maintain the association’s standards of quality and ensure fairness among all members. Tampa HOA attorney Alicia Seward helps community associations enforce their rules in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Seward Law Office also represents HOA and condo unit owners who feel rules are arbitrary or unfairly enforced against them. Learn more below about our rule enforcement services to HOAs and COAs in Tampa and St. Petersburg, and call Seward Law Office for assistance.
Declaration of CC&Rs
The list of rules, policies and procedures surrounding living in the community are set out in the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions commonly referred to as CC&Rs. Declarations may initially be promulgated by the owner of the property development. However, they may be revised or replaced by the HOA or COA when the property converts from developer control to owner control.
The declaration will contain a legal and physical description of the community, including the number of units, houses or condominiums. Recitals in the declaration will declare the intent to organize the community and make initial claims related to property ownership. Next come the covenants, conditions and restrictions. These are typically set out in separate articles covering distinct governing rules, such as an article on easements or an article on membership in the association.
A covenant is a legally enforceable promise, so when you buy into the community, you automatically become a member and agree to abide by the conditions and restrictions contained in the declaration of CC&Rs. Some common restrictions you may find in an HOA include:
- Deed restrictions – You cannot rent out your unit without permission from the Board
- Age restrictions – You must be of a minimum age to live there. Age restrictions can apply in the case of retirement communities or adults-only complexes.
- Pet restrictions – The rules might limit the number and kinds of pets allowed.
- Whether temporary structures such as sheds are allowable
- Fence height or type of fence
- Lawn care requirements
- Restrictions on the color of paint for building exteriors
- Street parking or overnight parking restrictions
- Restrictions on the placement of satellite dishes, clotheslines and garbage cans
- Whether freestanding basketball hoops or nets attached to the garage are allowed
- Backyard swing sets and playground equipment
- Roof type
How Are Community Association Rules Enforced?
Fines are a chief way that HOA rules are enforced. The HOA governing documents will set out the association’s fine policy. Depending on the rule violation, a warning letter might be sent out for a first violation before any actual fine is imposed. The association might also charge the owner for expenses incurred to correct the violation. For instance, if owners don’t keep their yards up according to community standards, the association could cut the lawns and send the bill to the owners. Likewise, owners who violate street parking rules could find their cars (or their guests’ cars) towed at the owners’ expense.
As with delinquent assessments, fines that go unpaid for too long or get too high could lead the HOA to impose a lien on the owner’s property, exposing the owner to the risk of mortgage foreclosure for unpaid fines. Seward Law Office will work with you to get fines paid in the most expeditious manner, and we are here for you as well when the legal system needs to be invoked to enforce compliance with HOA rules.
Can Use Restrictions Be Removed?
Use restrictions can be removed by a ballot vote at a board meeting, based on a homeowner’s motion. Some restrictions may be written into the home’s title, in which case they become an encumbrance on the property which impacts its sale value. Changing these deed restrictions requires the Board to amend its CC&Rs and re-file/re-record them with the County Clerk. Other restrictions that can be changed or removed without impacting the title don’t encumber the property.
Help With HOA Rule Enforcement in Tampa
If you are an HOA or COA board member or staff member in Tampa or St. Petersburg seeking advice and assistance in the enforcement of association rules, contact Seward Law Office at 813-252-6789 to discuss your concerns with a skilled and knowledgeable Tampa homeowners association attorney.