Law spells out proper way to impose, challenge fine
Q: I was fined by our homeowners association board for damages caused by my children in the clubhouse. I do not believe my children caused the damage. How can I challenge the fine? Would small claims court be the answer?
A: There is a correct way for the association to enforce fines and the board must follow instruction found in Florida Statute 720.305. A fine or suspension may not be imposed without notice of at least 14 days, and the person in question must have an opportunity for a hearing before a committee of at least three members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors or employees of the association, or the spouse or immediate family member of an officer, director or employee. If the committee, by majority vote, does not approve a proposed fine or suspension, it may not be imposed. You should have the right to present your evidence.
Seller should provide buyer with a copy of documents
Q: When a new owner buys into a condominium association, whose responsibility is it to give the new owner the documents? Does it matter whether the sale is from an owner, a Realtor or a bank?
A: I consider it the seller's responsibility to provide a set of documents to a buyer. Failure to do so could disrupt the sale or bring a future lawsuit if a buyer discovers hidden facts. It is in the best interest of the condominium to make copies for any seller or buyer at reasonable costs.
What to do about all those unsightly bumper stickers
Q: I live in a large condominium and our documents and rules state that no signs are allowed anywhere on the property unless approved by the board. This includes automobiles parked in our parking area, unit windows, balconies and front doors. We have several cars parked in our parking area with bumper stickers of all types. They include political messages, religious views, charitable donation requests and more. Does free speech give an owner the right to bring a vehicle onto our property with these types of announcements?
A: The board should define what type and size sign is considered improper. Board members also can address stickers on vehicles of a specific size and number. To force compliance as you described, I would recommend that the board talk to the association attorney about establishing sign policy and what can be done to limit bumper stickers.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.