If you live in a home that falls under a homeowner’s association, or HOA, this group must abide by the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act. This law establishes rules for HOA management, operation and scope of power. It also determines the route to resolve issues depending on the subject matter.
Understanding these rules can guide your next steps if you become involved in a dispute with your neighborhood HOA.
The act requires homeowners to attempt to resolve certain disputes with mediation before filing a lawsuit. This includes disputes involving access to HOA and community documents, non-election member meetings, board committees and meetings, modification and amendment of HOA regulations, enforcement of covenants, and changes to common areas and parcels.
Florida requires homeowners to enter arbitration in two specific types of HOA disputes. If you participate in the HOA as a member, the law mandates arbitration to resolve claims about elections and member recalls.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation manages the arbitration process. If either party disagrees with the arbitration results, they can proceed to file a lawsuit.
Taking legal action
Homeowners must resolve some HOA disputes in court. These issues include claims that an HOA director has breached his or her duties, property title disputes, injunctive relief lawsuits, arbitration or mediation settlement enforcement, and financial matters such as fines and assessments.
Regardless of the type of dispute with the community HOA, homeowners have the right to attorney representation. Gathering careful documentation about the issue can build the necessary case to present in a mediation session, arbitration meeting or legal proceeding.