What are my rights if I live in a deed restricted small housing community?

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What are my rights if I live in a deed restricted small housing community?

I’ve been here for 13 years. We pay annual fees for general maintenance, etc. There is a board of directors appointed and a property management company. Everything has gone smoothly for 12 years. Starting sometime last year, there was a group appointed apparently to oversee compliance with property upkeep. I received a letter 10/15 re: trimming a palm, and “mold” in the drive. I took care of those things within a couple weeks and f/u with an email to the company. Now, 1/16 I get a certified letter stating I didn’t take care of the mold problem. I believe my drive looks fine. There are some sl darkened areas, but do not change with pressure washing. What are my legal rights with this? Can I legally be fined?

Asked on January 13, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues here:
1) The association's legal authority to do this: if the documents (e.g. the deed; HOA agreements; etc.) give them the power to set standards for the exterior/yard/driveway/etc. and to fine--or adopt rules allowing fines--violators, then they legally can do this.
2) Practically or factually, they can only fine you if you are fact in violation of the standards or rules, so if you could prove that you are not in violation (e.g with photos or videos), they should not be able to fine you. 
However, note that they do not need to give you any "credit" for making good faith efforts--they strictly look only to whether or not you are in compliance. They also do not need to give you any consideration or take account of whether you are disable or have health problems, and again, could choose to look only at whether you are in compliance.


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