Does a homeowner’s association have to define “immediate family” in it’s by-laws?

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Does a homeowner’s association have to define “immediate family” in it’s by-laws?

My brother and I own a mobile home and the property it sits on in a mobile home park. The HOA by-laws state that “only the owner or their immediate family are allowed to occupy the unit”. They do not define “immediate family”. Currently my wife’s uncle is staying there for a couple of months and they are threatening us with legal action. What are my options?

Asked on February 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I would start by doing a little investigating in to if the state of Florida deines immediate family in any statutes.  Missouri does for example in their code of state regulations.  Missouri statute 19 CSR 15-7.021 (18) (H). It defines immediate family as follows: An immediate family member is defined as a parent; sibling; child by blood, adoption, or marriage; spouse; grandparent or grandchild. If the by-laws rely on state law then they may not need to.  But you can force their hand by asking them to state their position in writing.  You can do this by writing to them and indicating that the by laws do not define the term and that your Uncle is consdiered by you to be an immediate family member.  He is also a guest and guests are allowed.  Good luck.


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