THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOA AND
CONDO LAW – IT’S LIKE NIGHT AND DAY!
November 2, 2012
To be very honest, I
am at a total loss when I look at the HOA Act the Florida
legislature created with
FS 720. Sometimes I wonder why they created this statute
at all, considering that the provisions contained in this
statute have no teeth -- and it is widely known that even the
best laws are useless without any proper enforcement tools.
The history of FS
720 clearly shows that enforcement of its provisions is only
possible for homeowners who have lots of spare change in their
The biggest “joke”
in the statutes is one sentence. Many good families lost their
homes and life savings because the following sentence headlines
the whole Florida HOA Act:
The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best
interest of homeowners' associations or the individual
association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or
other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of
In all honesty, the
only ones served by this sentence are specialized attorneys and
their bank accounts – to the detriment of the homeowners living
in these community associations.
FLORIDA CONDO ACT (FS718)
has many detailed provisions that can be partially and easily
enforced by a regulatory agency (Division of Florida
Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes), approximately 2.5
million homeowners living and/or owning property in these
homeowners’ associations are treated like unwanted stepchildren
by the Florida legislature.
With the existing,
unenforceable statutes in place, it’s a financially risky
proposition for retirees and investors to buy property within
these communities. Homeowners are left to fight for themselves
with no help to enforce the existing laws.
Simple matters, such
as elections, record requests or financial issues, turn into
expensive lawsuits that can quickly become monsters eating up
families’ life savings. Many homeowners run around with
blinders, ignoring permanent violations of Florida statutes,
because they don’t want to risk spending their last dime on
legislation that would make life in homeowners’ associations
much easier – and less expensive – is in place, but only
for condominium associations.
contained in FS 720 are stacked against the homeowners,
especially since in many associations budget shortfalls caused
by unpaid dues and/or foreclosures are causing heavy financials
burdens on the owners still paying their dues.
High legal bills are
creating an even bigger hardship on the owners still paying the
ever-increasing assessments, caused by the fact that the
provisions contained in the HOA Act FS 720 provide no easy
solutions for simple disputes.
The question that
baffles everyone: Why is the Florida legislature unwilling to
enact simple laws that would stop most of these shenanigans we
are all reading about daily in the media? The established
wording from the condo statutes could easily be used for the HOA
statutes. Case law and the Florida Administrative Code is in
place. Nobody has to reinvent the wheel.
But who fights these
bills that would simplify life in HOAs in Florida? The only
feasible explanation: The service providers, especially the
attorneys that claim to lobby for the associations. They are the
only ones who benefit from these useless HOA statutes.
It is definitely
easier to fleece the owners if the laws are confusing and can be
interpreted any way anybody wants. With the statutes for HOAs it
is very easy to create mini-dictatorships and fill their own
pockets – if some determined folks so desire. Is that what the
folks who “invented” homeowners’ associations had in mind when
they created these communities?