ORLANDO, FL LITIGATION ATTORNEY DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUAL HOMEOWNERS AND UNIT OWNERS
When Central Florida residents or real estate investors purchase houses, townhouses, villas, or condos in planned unit developments, they expect to sacrifice a certain amount of autonomy. Many feel that the tradeoff is warranted, as HOA and condo association covenants and restrictions ensure that the properties are similarly maintained, thereby supporting real estate values. But what happens when the rules that are meant to protect property values infringe on personal property rights? Or when some board member—or "condo commando"—decides to pursue a personal agenda and applies the rules in an irresponsible manner? The Orlando Law Offices of Peter R. McGrath, P.A. defends the individual rights of property owners. Our attorneys have decades of experience in representing condominium and homeowner associations. This experience places us in a unique position to defend the property rights of owners from unfair or oppressive actions taken by associations.
Attorneys Representing Homeowners in Disputes with Homeowner and Condominium Associations
Sadly, it's not uncommon for a homeowner or property investor to find themselves at the receiving end of unfair treatment from an association. Frequently, our clients' problems with the association stem from one or more of the following causes:
- Repressive, Unreasonable Rules: Homeowner and condo associations are notorious for establishing rules that are either too vague to be objectively understood, or too stringent, and hence, unreasonable and unenforceable.
- Misinterpretation of Poorly Drafted Rules: Often, the rules governing a set of properties were written by board members without the assistance of a qualified attorney. Consequently, the original intent of a rule may be completely different from the way it's supposed to be enforced.
- Selective Enforcement/Non-Uniform Application: The covenants, conditions, restrictions and rules and regulations of a planned community must be applied and enforced against members in a fair and uniform manner. Unfortunately, board members will sometimes overlook violations being committed by friends or fellow board members but rigidly enforce restrictions against those outside the clique of owners which control the association. Sometimes, a dispute which has nothing to do with the association will result in one of the parties unfairly invoking an alleged violation of the association's governing documents to use as leverage in the dispute.
- Unfair Changes: Associations will sometimes advise an owner that he or she may take certain actions, such as altering the appearance of their property or paying an obligation over time, but then after the owner has relied on the promise, the association changes its position, insisting that the alteration was not authorized or otherwise revoking what had been a prior agreement. Owners in that instance may insist that the board cannot change its position, or is estopped from so doing, because of the reliance placed on the prior promised.
- Erroneously Altering the Covenant or By-Laws: When a homeowner purchases a house or condo, they agree to the existing set of covenants and restrictions, but associations will sometimes unreasonably infer powers from those existing restrictions. When an association is acting in a way that is in contravention of the plain meaning of its governing documents, the association may be in violation of those governing documents.
- Waiver of Enforcement, Laches: If an association, over a period of years, knowingly permits owners in the community to engage in obvious violations of the covenants, the association may be deemed to have waived its ability to enforce compliance in the future. In addition, when an association which sits on its rights, and does nothing to enforce restrictions, and owners come to rely on the ongoing failure to enforce compliance, the association's rights may become stale and unenforceable.
Choose an Experienced Litigation Attorney
For over thirty years, the lawyers at the Orlando based Law Offices of Peter R. McGrath, P.A. have been protecting the rights of individual property owners. When a condominium or homeowner association engages in unfair treatment, or outright harassment, you owe it to yourself and your family to seek help and find out what your rights are in the situation. The attorneys of the Law Offices of Peter R. McGrath, P.A. represent clients in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Volusia, and Polk Counties, the City of Orlando, and throughout the state of Florida. To schedule an appointment at our Orlando office, contact us at (407)872-7010.