Homeowners Association, Condominium Association, & Community Association Disputes
King Hudson | PLLC aids in community association disputes and other real estate law disputes in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and surrounding areas. Because of their legal status, these cases can be more complex than they appear from the outside. We can help you, whether you’re involved with a dispute with a community or homeowners association, or you are a Board Member or Licensed Community Association Manager.
Community Association Disputes
A community association is the broad term used to talk about HOAs, condominium associations, and all other associations that base their membership off of property location or residence. These can range from HOAs to community-owned properties or organizations. Most property-based community associations require membership to benefit from anything the community provides or owns. With membership comes an obligation to pay fees and agreement to abide by the regulations put in place.
When disputes arise involving community associations, legal guidance can be helpful to ensure compliance with any relevant laws or legal considerations.
Homeowners’ Association Disputes
In many Florida neighborhoods, home buyers are required to join a homeowners’ association (HOA) when they purchase a home. When you join an HOA, you agree to abide by the governance of the HOA, follow their set regulations, and pay membership fees.
Disputes can arise with any party affiliated with the HOA, including a fellow member, vendor, developer, contractor, builder, insurer, local municipalities, board members, or otherwise. Legal consultation will be useful to ensure your interests are represented during the dispute.
Condominium Association Disputes
Similar to HOAs, condominium associations generally have mandatory membership within certain apartment buildings or neighborhoods. Legal representation may be needed to assist you in resolving disputes that involve you and anyone else affiliated with your condominium association, especially when the association itself is involved in the dispute.
Understanding Your Rights
Homeowners’ associations, condominium associations, and community associations are treated as separate legal entities in Florida. They are required to operate within the legal boundaries set by federal and state laws, but can also implement regulations of their own. Associations do not need to be directly connected to an individual and will generally have the same legal standing as other organizations or businesses that are considered separate legal entities.
As an individual who is a member of an association, a board member, a founder, a manager, or in any other way affiliated with an association, it’s important to understand your rights in your situation. If there is an existing dispute or if a dispute should arise in the future, you need to know where you stand legally in order to act appropriately in each situation. A Florida real estate attorney from King Hudson | PLLC can consult with you to help you understand your legal position more thoroughly and provide representation when needed.
Examples of Common Disputes
Disputes between parties involved in associations are very common in the state of Florida, and in the Saint Petersburg area specifically. Here are some examples of common issues surrounding associations and members:
- Unpaid Regular and Special Assessments, and collection of fines
- Enforcement of bylaws or association covenants
- Common area disputes
- Disputes between neighbors
- Integrity of board actions (favoritism, fraud, arbitrary action, personal bias, etc.)
- Violations of lease agreements
- Lien Foreclosure, Deed Restriction, and Enforcement of Covenants
- Board member election disputes or recall petitions
- Breach of work contracts
- Disputes between property managers and workers
- Construction disputes
- Agreements between associations and local golf clubs, country clubs, marinas, community centers, etc.
- Non-performance of contractors or contractor fraud
- Professional representation of board to other legal bodies
This list does not contain every legitimate reason for dispute between affiliated parties and associations. Even if your situation is detailed in bylaws or the process is already laid out, legal consultation can still be a useful step to get advice for moving forward with the dispute.
King Hudson | PLLC serves homeowners, board members, associations, and third-party affiliates with legal consultations, advice, and representation for disputes that may arise. We are experienced with resolving Saint Petersburg HOA disputes between all different parties in many varied situations. For consultation about your dispute, contact us for legal advice.
Many Community Associations require you to be a member. However, whether you are required to be a member of your community association is determined by Florida Statutes. Not all HOAs are mandatory, and if your HOA is not made mandatory by law you are not required to be a member. You can not be forced to join a voluntary HOA, nor to pay dues to an HOA that is voluntary.
Mediation and Court Proceedings
Mediation, nor any dispute resolution, is determined by the Association documents. It's all contained in the statute. Although HOAs and other associations do create regulations for all members, they are still governed by Florida state laws and US Federal laws. For this reason, a lawyer may be useful to clarify the relationship between the HOA and any laws it is bound to in a particular situation. Legal representation can ensure that all applicable laws, bylaws, regulations, and other statutes are considered in a case.
It is within the legal rights of an association to specify how disputes should be handled, as long as they are not violating any legal rights provided to individuals by Florida state laws. While mediation and arbitration are common alternatives to court proceedings, they are not always mandatory and may be given as an optional, preferred alternative.
Neither mediation nor dispute resolutions are determined by the Association documents. Everything is contained in the statute laid out by Florida state laws and US Federal laws. Saint Petersburg real estate lawyers can provide legal guidance in any situation dealing with associations and anyone affiliated with them. If you have an ongoing dispute involving a community association, or if you represent a community association in need of legal guidance, contact King Hudson | PLLC for a consultation.