Unenforceable HOA Rules
If your homeowners association (HOA) is like most of them, you know that there are a ton of rules involved. But how many of these laws are actually valid? For example, do any of them violate state or federal law?
Most likely, they do. In communities governed by an HOA, the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) stipulate the rules that homeowners must abide by. The HOA is governed by bylaws that specify how it should be run. An HOA may enact additional rules over time, and homeowners who fail to abide by them can be fined or face a lien on their home.
However, board members may be abusing their privileges by enacting unfair, unenforceable HOA rules. Knowing which rules are not enforceable can help you stand up to your HOA and fight for your rights. Here are examples of such rules.
Rules Enforced Without Authority
HOAs do not have unlimited authority. For example, they cannot fine you for no reason. You must have violated a rule. If you are being fined unjustly, check the regulations and file an appeal.
Violations of the Fair Housing Act
You may notice that HOA rules are not consistently enforced. Maybe they are only selectively enforced for certain groups of people, such as those of a certain race, disability, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. If so, this could be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. As such, the HOA could face discrimination charges.
Freedom of Speech Violations
Freedom of speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, so an HOA covenant cannot contradict constitutional rights. This means that HOA covenants cannot prohibit homeowners from showing their preference for a certain political party or candidate. However, your HOA can make rules that limit where you can place political signs on your property based on aesthetics and curb appeal.
Second Amendment Violations
The Second Amendment, or right to bear arms, is another constitutional right that your HOA cannot infringe upon. Your HOA can ban the use of firearms in communal areas. However, they cannot restrict residents from owning firearms.
Limitations on Landscaping
Florida does have laws protecting homeowners’ rights when it comes to landscaping.
Florida and several other states prevent HOAs from banning the use of drought-resistant landscaping, also known as xeriscaping. Florida has also enacted laws to allow homeowners to install an electric vehicle charging station on their property.
Antenna and Satellite Dish Restrictions
The Over-the-Air-Reception Devices (OTARD) rule from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that an HOA cannot stop its residents from installing antennas or satellite dishes on their property. However, your HOA may be able to place limitations in regards to size and location.
Seek Legal Help
Your HOA may have rules for everything, but are these rules actually enforceable? What can you do? Can you dispute them?
Contact Fort Lauderdale HOA dispute lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. before taking legal action. Your disagreement may be easily resolved outside of court. Schedule a consultation by calling 954-764-4330 or filling out the online form.