Florida HOA Lawyers

Florida Attorneys

Serving You and The State of Florida

If you live in a home or condominium that is part of a subdivision or planned community, you may also be part of a neighborhood management program referred to as the homeowner association (HOA). This group is responsible for maintaining the appearance and functionality of the residential area, including groundskeeping, community utilities, housing design regulations, and parking.

While the HOA of some neighborhoods is minimal or requires few homeowner responsibilities, others may have strict policies that can be difficult to manage. Knowing how to approach disputes with your HOA effectively can preserve the comfort and peace of your residential living environment.

Common Legal Issues That Can Arise Related to HOA Actions

There are some common disputes that can arise with homeowners in a community, as well as some standard issues that can crop up within the HOA board or membership itself. All of these issues can necessitate the support of a legal professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations that are related to HOA operation and function in the state of Florida. HOA requirements can involve a lot of fine print, and both the HOA itself and the homeowners might need to secure legal support if there are issues related to the interpretation of the expectations laid out in the HOA contract.

1.       Breaches of Contract

The homeowners who live in an HOA-managed neighborhood sign a contract when they move into their home that state that they will abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the HOA. This might be things like caring for the yard, putting away garbage cans out of sight, and keeping cars parked near the home operational and registered to be driven.

The HOA can make the requirements that are expected of people living in the community as stringent or as lenient as they wish. The contract that was signed by a homeowner when they moved in is considered to be legally binding. This means that homeowners can be compelled to follow the guidelines of the HOA’s rules through legal action, fines, and even foreclosure.

When the board or the HOA membership has to take action against someone who is not compliant with HOA rules, they will often look to a lawyer to be sure that the actions that are being taken against the homeowners are legally correct. This is essential when it comes to things like liens and foreclosures. A skilled HOA attorney like the team at Lopez Law Group can help you to take these actions and ensure that you are not out of compliance with the HOA guidelines or the law when you do so.

2.       HOA Board Member Noncompliance

When a member of the HOA board is acting outside of the actions that are allowed within the scope of their duties, the board or the residents might take legal action against this person. There can be legal consequences for these kinds of breaches of contract and service. An experienced HOA lawyer will be able to represent either party needing to take action against the board member who is in violation of their duties.

No matter which group is taking action against the board member, there are legal steps that must be followed to take this kind of action and remove the board member from the HOA. These steps must be done correctly, or the HOA can open itself up to legal problems related to incorrect handling of the removal of a board member or an HOA officer. Avoiding legal wrangling is always the goal of every action that the HOA takes. Working with a supportive and experienced lawyer can make it much less likely that the HOA will be embroiled in legal proceedings for years at a time.

3.       Financial and Tax Issues

When the HOA in question is not paying the correct taxes or is not providing the services that they are being paid for, legal action is often needed to address the issue. There are various other legal concerns, such as embezzlement from the HOA accounts, that can also necessitate that a lawyer gets involved in the situation and represents the board or the homeowners themselves. These kinds of financial actions might be done intentionally, or they could be an accident, but they will still almost always require that legal action be taken.

These kinds of problems are some of the most common issues that require that a lawyer be involved. The team at Lopez Law Group knows how to support the homeowners or the HOA itself when there are problems to do with financial issues or illegal actions that have been taken by a board member or an HOA officer. Financial and tax issues can be very complicated, and there is no reason to try and handle this kind of issue on your own.

What Kinds of Actions Can the HOA Take Against Homeowners?

Homeowners often do not read the fine print on their HOA agreement when they move in. This means that homeowners in a community can be really surprised at the actions that can be taken against them when they are in violation of their contract with the HOA itself. There are also instances where the HOA is not correct in the action that it has tried to take against a homeowner and could be in violation of the rules and regulations of the HOA agreement.

These are the most common actions that HOAs can take against the residents that they govern:

·         Fines

Fines are the most common way that homeowners are compelled to pay attention to HOA rules. There are often very specific guidelines that must be followed when leveling fines against residents, and the HOA has to follow all the guidelines for giving notice and taking action against this person. When the HOA acts outside of the scope of the HOA contract or outside the scope of the law, even a fine can lead to the need for a homeowner to secure a lawyer.

Fines might range from a small amount of money into the thousands, and all of this information needs to be in the HOA contract for the fines to be enforceable. Fines are often the first line of defense that the HOA has to work with, but the HOA cannot level fines against people who have not been properly communicated with or allowed the change to resolve the issue.

·         Voting Rights

 The HOA can take away a resident’s voting rights if they feel that the resident is delinquent in the areas that lead to this consequence. There is usually a provision in the HOA contract that outlines what kinds of infractions lead to this outcome, and the HOA will need to be able to follow the guidelines in this part of the HOA documentation before they can take away someone’s voting rights. This is also usually not a permanent restriction, and the voting rights will be returned when the issue has been corrected.

·         Liens

This is one of the more complex things that an HOA can do to try and compel a homeowner to take the action that they have requested. A lien is not usually placed for minor infractions like a few weeds in the yard or painting the home a color that was not approved in advance. This action is usually only taken when there have been multiple serious infractions, such as yard cars being in the yard, damage to the property that has not been repaired, and any action that risks public safety.

This is the kind of action that necessitates that the HOA secure legal representation in nearly every case. Protecting the HOA from legal action in retaliation is critical and being sure that the lien was placed correctly and legally is also a key benefit to this kind of legal support. When a lien needs to be placed on a property, this can eventually lead to foreclosure, and this is a complex process to undertake as an HOA.

The team at Lopez Law Group can help HOAs to take these actions against a homeowner and to be sure that they are acting within the scope of their contract with the resident. There are many limitations on these kinds of actions that must be considered and legal requirements that must be met before a lien can lawfully be placed on a property. You will need to have skilled legal support for this process to avoid issues down the road.

·         Collections

When residents in the community do not pay their dues or are not compliant with some other financial requirement, collections proceedings might need to be initiated. There are various steps that have to be taken to notify a homeowner of their missed payments or other financial arrears. If the HOA does not take these steps correctly, it might not be possible to pursue the debt through collections.

Having a skilled lawyer working on the notification and the later steps that need to be taken care of to transfer the debt to collections can help greatly. HOA board members and officers need to be careful about following the legal steps when notifying residents that they owe money and are going to be sent to collections, or they could open themselves up to legal action in return.

HOA Management and Governance Can be Complex in the State of Florida

If you live in a community that is governed by an HOA or you are a member of the HOA board in Florida, you might need to secure the support of a skilled lawyer. There are various kinds of disputes or processes that can lead to the need for someone with experience in this area of law. Even simple processes, such as notification of missed HOA dues, can lead to legal altercations with homeowners, which is why skilled legal professionals can be so helpful both to residents and HOA board members.

The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience working on issues related to HOA governance and resident disputes. Working with a lawyer who is familiar with the complexities of HOA law in Florida can be the reason for a successful outcome for your HOA-related case. There is no reason to try and go it alone when it comes to HOA governance issues or laws. The team at Lopez Law Group is always eager to help you with your HOA-related case. Contact us today and get the legal support that you need for your homeowner’s association dispute.

What Are My Rights As A Homeowner in Florida?

As with any residential living area, homeowners and renters alike are entitled to certain rights, including the right to quiet enjoyment, the right of possession of the legally obtained property, and the right of disposition. Homeowners that are part of a community regulated by a homeowner association should also be aware of additional rights in the case of an HOA dispute. Should the HOA file a wrongful complaint against you or withhold community information, it is essential that you understand how to navigate the disagreement and when to seek legal support.

Florida Statutes require homeowner associations to disclose specific information to members and uphold certain member rights. Homeowners generally have a right to:

Request HOA documentation

This may include financial reports, governing documents, vendor contracts, board meeting agendas and meeting minutes, membership lists, tax returns, and more. As a paying or investing member of the homeowner association, you are privy to most proceedings and decisions made on your behalf. However, there may be an exception concerning disciplinary action documentation or executive minutes, depending on the jurisdiction. To request documentation:

  1. Review your HOA bylaws for instructions on how to submit a request
  2. Submit the request in writing or by certified mail
  3. The HOA has ten business days to fulfill the request and provide documentation

Documentation must be made available within 45 miles of the development or within the same county. A homeowner association does not have the right to request a reason for the inspection of documentation. If a board member or HOA leadership position denies your request or does not provide documentation within ten business days, contact a skilled attorney as you may be entitled to damages.

Question HOA fees and challenge sudden increases

Most homeowner associations charge a standard fee for community upkeep and membership maintenance. However, it is not uncommon for a sudden increase in dues to appear on your bill. When this happens, you have the right to question the fee and request a record of how the additional funding will be utilized. If you fail to pay the increase in dues, the HOA has the right to place a lien against your home or file for foreclosure.

Attend board meetings

As a homeowner association member, you have the right to attend all board meetings and speak in reference to designated agenda items. Board meetings must be in an accessible location, and the HOA should announce meeting times publicly so that each member of the community has the opportunity to attend. For those who are unable to participate in the meeting, minutes should be recorded for each meeting and distributed to interested parties. The board should keep these minutes for a minimum of seven years.

Fair disciplinary hearings

When a homeowner is non-compliant with HOA regulations, the homeowner association can approach the problem by issuing fees or a suspension of certain privileges. However, prior to any disciplinary actions by the HOA, members are entitled to a fair hearing in which they can defend their decisions. Even if a homeowner has clearly violated HOA policies, they should be notified of the hearing via written notice and have an opportunity to defend their case.

Reasonable accommodations

The Fair Housing Act mandates that all residents, particularly those with disabilities, maintain the right to reasonable accommodations. Fair Houstin Act compliance means that the homeowner association may be required to install ramps in communal areas or permit service animals into pet-restricted spaces.

Freedom from discrimination

An HOA cannot deny housing or enforce rules based on discriminatory practices. The Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination based on skin color, religion, familial status, race, disability, gender, age, and sexual orientation. If you feel as though you are a victim of discrimination by your HOA, consult with a skilled attorney.

Sue HOA board members

If disagreements persist and board members of the HOA file other disputes against you or begin to use harassment to persuade behavioral changes, you may be entitled to damages. As a member of the residential community and a paying member of the homeowner association, you maintain the right to sue if legal action is deemed a necessary next step. Consult with a lawyer to determine whether this is the right path for you.

How to Report HOA Abuse in Florida

If you are experiencing harassment from your homeowner association, including verbal threats, physical aggression, or clear cases of discrimination, there are several approaches you can take:

  • Document your grievances in writing: Send a letter to the homeowner or board member indicating the ways in which they have violated the HOA’s rules and regulations. Include an explanation of their problematic behavior and provide a suggested resolution.
  • Consider bringing in HOA mediation: When conflict becomes serious between members of the community, the homeowner association may request a mediator to help resolve the issue. Together, you should be able to work out a reasonable solution to meet the needs of all parties.
  • Issue a restraining order: If a written notice fails to influence a change in behavior, you might consider filing a restraining order to minimize physical or verbal assaults. This action requires evidence of a repetitive pattern of intimidation or harassment from the offending individual.
  • Contact local authorities: If necessary, involve local police to respond to any physical assaults or breaches of the restraining order.

The Lopez Law Group are experienced attorney’s in Florida who can help you if you are experiencing issues with your HOA. Contact us for information about documenting and responding to harassment by your HOA.

What To Look For In Your Florida Homeowner Association Contract

Buying a home in a residential community that is governed by an HOA can have its benefits. However, it would help if you were cautious in reviewing HOA rules and regulations prior to moving in. Make sure that you understand the specific policies and inquire about sanctions. Ask questions about how the association approaches residential conflicts and their process for amending HOA rules. Additionally, pay attention to whether the HOA is empowered to fine or sue residents for non-compliance or foreclose on residential properties for nonpayment.

When looking for a home within an HOA jurisdiction, research any past or pending lawsuits to evaluate the reputation of the association. If possible, ask current residents how they feel about their current HOA board members and the overall experience of living in the neighborhood.

Approaching HOA Disputes in Florida

An experienced nearby Florida HOA dispute attorney can provide guidance before, during, and after you move in. By evaluating the specifications of your HOA contract prior to purchasing your home, you are more likely to identify potential discrepancies and understand the requirements of your residential community. If a dispute occurs and you need legal support, your attorney can help to mitigate and provide strategies for reaching a viable resolution.

Contact the Lopez Law Group for a consultation about any dispute with you HOA. We can also offer a comprehensive review of the covenants to ensure you are protected from potential actions taken by the HOA against you or your property.

More on HOA Law:






What Is A Homeowner Association (HOA)?

The HOA is a membership organization that resides over a particular area or neighborhood. By purchasing a home within a homeowner association’s jurisdiction, you become an automatic member and will be required to pay applicable dues. Often, the residential community members manage the HOA rules and regulations rather than an outside third party. Depending on the neighborhood, the HOA can have more influence over your home than it might in another.

A homeowner’s association can maintain regulatory oversight of:

  • Landscaping
  • Parking
  • Trash management
  • Pets
  • Noise
  • Exterior storage
  • Home décor
  • Design changes
  • Rentals

Depending on the community, your HOA may have specific restrictions or requirements that dictate how high your fence can be, what color your house can be painted, and even what kinds of renovations you can make to your home. Non-compliant homeowners may be subject to fines.

What Are The Benefits Of An HOA?

Despite the potential list of restrictions, there are many benefits to living in an area with a homeowners association, including:


Residential areas that a homeowner association governs often have access to amenities, including playgrounds, swimming pools, communal fire pits or barbecue areas, parks, rental space for events, or exercise equipment. The fees associated with your HOA membership provide financial support for the maintenance of these shared spaces.

Maintenance And Landscaping

Whereas many homeowners are left to their own devices to manage lawn care and home maintenance, residents who are part of a homeowner association may benefit from the professional partnerships formed between the HOA and contracted service providers.

While these providers would be responsible for maintaining communal areas, they may be a resource for homeowners needing assistance with individual maintenance needs. Additionally, some HOAs provide complimentary lawn care to ensure a consistent look throughout the neighborhood.

Stable Property Values

Home values can often change as families move in and out of the surrounding properties. Depending on how well your neighbors maintain their property, your home can either see a progressive increase or detrimental decrease in value due to the neighborhood’s overall change in quality. With HOA rules and regulations in place, there is a minimized risk of reductions in the neighborhood’s quality and, therefore, individual home values.

Sense Of Community

Residential areas that are governed by a homeowner association are often more welcoming and engaging than a typical suburb. Communal areas make it possible to mingle with neighbors in a shared space, and planning committees will sometimes plan neighborhood events to foster a sense of community.

Settling Neighbor Disputes

With a homeowner association, navigating disagreements between neighbors can be easier for both parties. Whether a neighbor hosts loud parties or starts to give less attention to their landscaping and lawn care, you can often contact the HOA to address the issues. If meditation is necessary, the homeowner association can serve as an impartial third party to help find a solution.

Being part of a homeowner association has certain benefits and privileges, including quality amenities and a more predictable living environment. However, understanding the complexities of a community-governed residential area can be critical in making the most of your membership and ensuring your rights as an independent homeowner.

How Is A Homeowner Association Governed?

While each HOA may be governed differently, most are run by a board of directors or governors who are elected by the community to oversee the regulations. This group is responsible for maintaining and enforcing the document that is most often called a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). This document describes any and all restrictions or requirements of homeowners living within the community.


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