Can The HOA Stop Me From Using My Yard The Way I Want To?
Yes, that’s a big issue is that there are use restrictions that affect you as a home owner that would not affect you if you did not live in a community association. That’s their pros and cons to have people who like to live in the condominium, the HOA associations even though there are a lot of complaints and jokes about condo commandoes, Florida just has an enormous population in these associations, so they’ll do enjoy living there and one of the things that they enjoy is they enjoy uniformity and they enjoy the fact that they know that if there is some type of enforcement, that their property values aren’t going to plummet because their neighbor decides to do something that’s going to devalue not only their property but everybody’s surrounding property.
Certainly the condo or HOA board through the declaration of covenants and through what are called Architectural Review Committees and through the rules and regulations can restrict the activities not only of the exterior of the home but also your question was related to lawn and landscaping and things of that nature, they certainly can restrict those and make sure that those are uniformed, if that’s what the association wants, and there is a procedure usually where you can petition to get approval to make changes in your yard, or if you’re going to add something there, let’s say you want to put a trampoline and the association may say, “No, we have restrictions against that and here is the restriction and rule against it”. An association may say, “We don’t care but we are not liable for anything that happens on that”, or they may say, “Bring it through the architectural review committee, see what they say”.
It’s usually for building projects not so much that type of thing but sometimes they kind of broaden their base of what they’re there to hear. So, the high and low of it is it’s an HOA and the condominium certainly can restrict the way an owner uses his or her property and the owner needs to be aware of that prior to purchasing or moving in as a tenant.
Can We Rent Out Our Home As Part Of A HOA Or Condo Association?
Maybe. There is nothing that is in the statute that prohibits the leasing of an HOA or a condominium. Many associations allow rentals and tenancies and many that do allow those, they put restrictions on those. As long as there are restrictions, do not violate any type of housing laws, in other words, if somebody were to say, “Well, we’ll allow you to rent but you can’t rent to any particular religious group”, certainly that would be an illegal term and the declaration would not be enforceable. But they can put reasonable and legal restrictions in there. To give you an example, I have represented an association where the restriction was they didn’t want short-term leasing, so it was just like some type of a resort because it is very close to the ocean and almost had a resort feel to it but the owners did not want short-term rentals. There is a restriction saying that the minimum term for any lease would be six months, so you couldn’t rent it out over the weekend or for a month and have different tenants coming in and out of the association. So, certainly there can be restrictions.
There is some interesting case law in regard to what kind of restrictions you can have on tenants regarding criminal history and criminal background because there is case law that stands for the proposition that people may have been convicted of a crime but they still have to have the opportunity to be able to live places. On the flipside, there is law that states that an association can regulate that kind of activity but the documents have to be drafted very, very carefully and it takes a high degree of sophistication to be able to limit the types of tenants that you can have and have those limitations be upheld when they are challenged. Typically associations will allow for rentals. Sometimes they just outright ban them and you have to know that before you move then and there is nothing inherently illegal about an association saying, “No, you’re the owner but you can’t lease your property out.”
You have to know that before you move in. But typically that’s not the case. But usually when they are allowed, there are restrictions that are within the declaration of covenants or condominiums or the rules and regulations when it comes to restrictions on tenancies.
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