Can my HOA enforce a ‘no commercial vehicle’ policy if they don’t define what a commercial vehicle is?

I have a pickup truck that is both my work and personal vehicle. My deed restrictions only say ‘no commercial vehicles allowed’. They do not define what makes a vehicle a commercial vehicle. Can I fight the violation notices and threats of legal intervention?

Asked on April 4, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can fight and *may* win--but also may not. When a deed or other legal document (e.g. a contract or lease) does not adequately define a term and the two parties disagree, if neither party backs down or compromises (e.g. they want the truck gone; you want to keep it), the matter will end up in court and a judge will decide what that ambiguous or undefined term means. In my experience, however, as a landlord-tenant attorney, where restrictions on home commercial activities sometimes comes up, if a vehicle is used for work (other than just for driving/commuting to work), it is a "commercial" vehicle for this purpose; it is likely that a judge would find that the truck is a commercial vehicle and subject to the restriction.


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