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Florida Residents Battling With HOA Nobody Knew Existed


Those moving into the Wedgefield community in Orange County were usually told that the Wedgefield homeowners association (HOA) was voluntary or that there was no HOA at all. Property owners in the area are finding out neither of these were true.

In early 2023, a new board swept into power and set out to revamp the HOA that apparently was implemented decades ago. For many years, the HOA had just one board member and no overhead. It pretty much existed with the sole purposes of maintaining a website and publishing a monthly newsletter. Dues for anyone who wanted to be a voting member were voluntary and  just $54 per year. Only 10% of the residents paid them.

That changed when community members were told that the HOA had power over all properties in Wedgefield and not just the ones paying dues. That has hit property owners pretty hard. Realizing that there is actually an HOA here and they do have some restrictions hit many property owners like a ton of bricks. A lot are having regrets, as many moved to the area specifically because they didn’t want those restrictions.

The new HOA board decided to review and amend the community’s guidelines and enforce the laws that were already on the books. In September, the HOA sent out letters to property owners warning them about fines for noncompliance.

The restrictions include fencing guidelines, vehicle and equipment storage, and other aesthetic upgrades to make the community neater and more uniform. While not too many property owners are concerned about those rules, the HOA is getting pushback about the guidelines regarding animals. The number of horses that can be owned is now limited, and the HOA board must approve farm animals. Poultry is limited to a maximum of 12. Animals other than dogs and cats can only be outside for an hour each day.

As part of the Wedgefield community is in a rural area, these laws have not gone over well. It’s common for property owners with a lot of space between houses to have farm animals.

The HOA board  has sent out a newsletter addressing the situation. It provided a Q&A section that answered some basic questions and tried to push back against alleged misinformation about various topics, such as whether board members are paid.

Many people in the community are working to get property owners signed up as HOA members so that the current HOA president would not be able to approve any changes on her own. The members are hoping to recall her and continue the current practice of leaving homeowners alone. Property owners love the current community, which includes Halloween parades and weekly food trucks.

Seek Legal Help 

When buying property, you should be able to know for sure whether or not an HOA exists. You should not be made aware decades later and told to make changes right away. That’s just not fair.

HOAs can be frustrating to deal with. Are you having a dispute with one? If so, a Fort Lauderdale HOA dispute lawyer from Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you take legal action or resolve the matter quickly. Fill out the online form or call 954-764-4330 to schedule a consultation.



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