Can The Florida HOA Regulate Repairs On The Exterior Of My Home?
There are two separate issues there. The repairs are a fairly simple answer. There can be some complications but typically if the repair is done in a fashion which leaves the premises in substantially the same condition as it was before the repair was required then the owner is allowed to do that and probably would not need the association’s permission. I say probably because you have to look at the declaration and a lot of times there are terms in there with architectural review committees. Those may be found in the rules and regulations as well which talk about whether or not permission is needed but certainly an association could not deny a reasonable repair that would leave the condition of the premises in substantially the same condition that it was before the damage or the need for the repair occurred.
If you repair in such a manner that it substantially changes the nature of the premises then that becomes a problem because obviously, in these association’s uniformity and is a big reason why people move in the community associations. Now, when it comes to additions, then typically what you would have to do is to look into the declaration and the rules and regulations and kind of see what restrictions there are and if you need to actually go through the process of going through the committee and getting board approval for any types of additions or changes and typically the answer to that is yes. You are going to need to go through those to get permission for those additions and they can restrict additions based upon language in their governing documents. If the language is not there, it’s tougher for them to do so but there is still the argument that it’s a substantial change or material change to the overall nature of the community and if that’s the case then a judge will rule based on case law and the arbitration decisions that are currently out there.
A judge certainly could deny such an addition. So it depends on the governing documents, it depends on the type of addition that is being requested and depends on if it requires board approval and then it depends on whether or not it would be considered a material change to the premises based upon the current nature of the community itself.
What Qualities Should I Look For In An Attorney To Handle My HOA Related Case?
As discussed in the beginning, you are going to want someone that is completely familiar and concentrates in an area of community association practice. The second thing that I think someone should look for is for an attorney like myself that handles the transactional side and the litigation side. There are some attorneys that practice in the area of community association law and there are some firms which concentrate mainly on the transactional side which means the drafting of documents. So the initial drafting of the governing documents, if there need to be amendments to the governing documents, if there need to be restatements which are where there are so many changes that instead of writing out 20 amendments, you actually just amend the entire document. It’s called a restatement.
It’s important to have experience in drafting those because you know what to look for when you have a particular issue. So you are not spending a lot of the client’s time and money going through a section on assessment when really you are looking for an area of whether or not you can make an addition to your home or your unit. So you need to have someone or find someone who is experienced on the transactional end. Now, a lot of the transactional lawyers don’t litigate as well. So what happens is that they can look those things up but they are not experienced in going to court. You need someone that is an experienced litigator, and litigated hundreds of cases and if you include non-jury trials, probably thousands of cases. So you need somebody who is familiar with the rules of evidence.
Someone who is familiar with the judges in the area, is familiar with how to try jury cases, familiar with drafting discovery documents that are going to be required during the course of litigation and if you have someone who is inexperienced, who doesn’t know how to do that when the client is going to be at risk of losing their case and once they have hit the litigation stage, typically the clients have invested a great deal of time and money up to that point. They don’t want to have the attorney drop the ball, so to speak because they are not experienced at litigation. So I think you would want to have someone that is experienced in both of those areas.
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