DEED-RESTRICTIONS TO BE VIOLATED
November 17, 2017
How good is a
contract if the government allows it to be broken?
That’s exactly the question owners of property in community
associations have to ask themselves after some recent rulings
and “interpretations of laws” by some government officials.
Community associations are based on contract law – and the CC&Rs
are the contract.
Well, you – as an
owner -- break this contract and you are in deep doo-doo! Over
the years we have seen owners losing their homes to foreclosures
because they “dared” to violate the deed-restrictions. Often
ridiculous matters have led to very expensive lawsuits that
bankrupted the owners accused of violating the
deed-restrictions. Remember: In Florida’s HOA a fine can turn
into a lien and foreclosure.
Our society is dying a slow death because our government
officials are trying to be “politically correct” – totally
ignoring common sense.
In recent years the
Feds created rules that clearly allow the existing
deed-restrictions of these communities to be broken.
Remember the elderly
lady who made a few bucks on the side by giving piano lessons in
her home in a HOA? She was sued by the HOA and paid dearly for
“running a business” inside the HOA.
But here come the
Feds -- and allow so-called “sober houses” to be run inside
these HOAs, even if the deed-restrictions clearly disallow
businesses. And a “sober house” is a business, even if it’s
incorporated as a Not-For-Profit corporation. This has created
serious problems in some associations, lawsuits are flying and
the police has been busy dealing with the issues. Do you think
it’s a good idea to allow a “sober house” full of addicts to sit
in the middle of a family-orientated homeowners’ association?
And then there is
the hot dispute about “emotional support animals”. It has turned
quite a few NO-PET communities into a circus – much to the
pleasure of attorneys who make lots of money from the lawsuits
being filed over these “pets.” Make no mistake: There is a huge
difference between “service animals” – like seeing-eye dogs –
and emotional support animals that have no training whatsoever.
I love pets – we have four cats – but if you buy into a NO-PET
community you should honor the rules. Many people moved into a
NO-PET community for a reason – starting with allergies
With other words:
According to our government officials it’s ok for owners to
suffer from their serious allergies so one neighbor can keep his
squirrel he calls an “emotional support animal”?
The list goes on:
Now that Airbnb is pushing, short-term rentals are going to be
allowed, even in communities that have serious rental
restrictions? Here is the joke: In a HOA in Central Florida a
homeowner got fined $1,000.00 for parking in his drive-way. He
paid to avoid an expensive lawsuit. A few weeks later a
homeowner rented his home through Airbnb to a couple that used
the house for a weekend party. Lots of cars were parked all over
the place, even blocking some streets in the community. Now
what? Should the HOA fine the homeowner who rented out his home
multiple times for parking regulations? According to neighbors
the fine should be minimum $ 28,000.00 – $ 1,000.00 for each car
parked in violation of the deed-restrictions.
statutes saying that a convicted felon can’t serve on the board
until his civil rights are restored? Well: According to latest
rulings from the Feds a felon is not necessarily a felon. An
association has to check if the convicted felon may have been
rehabilitated in the meanwhile before allowing the statute to
take effect. How to do that? I honestly don’t know! And I doubt
our government officials know how to follow their rules.
regulations actually destroy the general idea of community
associations ruled by contract. And these rules made by our
government definitely destroy property values – not a white
fence or an elderly lady giving piano lessons.
No matter if you
like community associations – or the idea of it. A rule is a
rule – and a person buying into a community with
deed-restrictions should be able to rely on the restrictions
created by the initial contract – no matter if some government
officials want to be politically correct!
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking