PARTICIPATE: Your rights and obligations as a homeowner and member of the association include attending meetings and participating in the community. In Florida, all meetings, with very limited exceptions, must be open to all members. Notice must be posted in a conspicuous place at least 48 hours before meeting or 7 days if by mail, except if an emergency. Further, Florida law mandates that the association be required to hold an annual meeting, open to all members. Without question, most homeowners have busy schedules. Finding the time to attend meetings and to take an active role in the community is difficult. However, failure to participate can leave you at the mercy of a rogue board.
LEGAL ADVICE/ACTION: Association laws are complicated and, thus, legal advice is often warranted. If you find that you are unable to resolve a conflict through the association as a homeowner, you may seek relief through the courts. Officers and directors have a statutorily imposed fiduciary duty to the homeowners. In Florida, the homeowner has a statutory right to seek legal relief against the association, a member, officer or director for noncompliance with the provisions of the statutes or the documents. The statutes do provide for attorney fees to the prevailing party. Therefore, carefully consider the merits of the case before filing a lawsuit. Despite the risks, when your rights have been violated and it becomes necessary to hold the board accountable for their actions, there may be no recourse but to resort to the courts.
Protecting your individual private-property rights within a community association begins with being informed, taking an active role and, if necessary, taking legal action.
Ms. Lively is a Florida licensed Attorney who represents individual homeowners in action related to enforcement and protection of their individual rights. Ms. Lively’s South Florida office:
6810 Lake Worth Road # 336
Lake Worth, FL 33467