Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Homeowners Association - Where Does The Power Come From?

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Community associations and Homeowners Associations derive their basic legal authority for their existence, activities, and actions from state statutes (laws) and certain legal documents.
Florida Statute 720, specifically Section 720.301 Definitions Section (4) Defines “Declaration of Covenants. These are the rules established by the developer or the Association that will absolutely control every facet of your life on your property and in your home.
What are the Declarations in a Homeowners Agreement?
From Fla Statute 720 (4) “Declaration of covenants,” or “declaration,” means a recorded written instrument or instruments in the nature of covenants running with the land which subject the land comprising the community to the jurisdiction and control of an association or associations in which the owners of the parcels, or their association representatives, must be members
If you are already railing and thinking “I’ll sue them,” think again.
Scroll down Statute 720 to Section 720.311 Dispute Resolution and read carefully. You will note that if you lose at any point, you will pay your legal fees and those of the Association.
When you agree to purchase a property or condo in Florida that is a managed community or building you essentially sign away a significant number of rights guaranteed under the US Constitution.
4.2 No Vested Rights. Each Owner by acceptance of a deed to a Home irrevocably waives any claim that such Owner has any vested rights pursuant to case law or statute with respect to this Declaration or any of the other Governing Documents. It is expressly intended that Declarant and the Association have the broad right to amend this Declaration and the other Governing Documents, except as limited by applicable law as it exists on the date this Declaration is recorded in the Public Records or except as expressly set forth herein.
In Florida, Statue 720 was lobbied into place by developers and lawyers.
For developers, it is a means to maintain control as a development is completed and makes it easier to establish a revenue flow (HOA dues) for the development of common property, for lawyers it is a boondoggle of revenue beyond belief and for the HOA industry it is heaven on earth.
Doubt me?
Click on these links:
HOA Lawyers Florida over 1,000,000 hits
HOA Management Companies Florida  over 2,000,000 Hits
HOA Industry in Florida almost 3,000,000 hits
If you think, this industry is without influence, I called a local newspaper and ask the editor if they had a reporter who covered HOAs and Condo Associations. He laughed and said, “Oh we don’t get into that mess.”
A big part of that “mess” is all the revenue that comes from developer and real estate advertising.
Why does the Florida Legislature continue to allow this type of feudal land development?
Since lawyers and developers have major influence and lobbying power in Tallahassee, it should be pretty easy to understand why the homeowners are on the losing end.
There have been some attempts to modify State Statute 720, but they are usually tweaks that benefit the industry and not the home owner.
If you are already stuck in one of these feudal kingdoms, your just stuck, unless you want to gamble a lot of money, and be sure to note that all the people who bleed money from this statue will do everything possible to make sure you don’t win even the slightest concession.
If your new to Florida and thinking about buying a home, carefully consider shopping for a development with no HOA or community association(almost impossible to find) or just buying a lot and building a home.  
Worried about amenities such as a club house, pool or golf course? A lot of cash starved HOAs allow outside memberships. Even a big price is better than a big assessment and a managed life.
Why don’t you send a link to this post to your Florida State Senator or Representative?
Not sure who that is? Here is a link Florida Legislature.
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