FLORIDA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS: IMPOSING FINES AS A TOOL FOR ENFORCING RESTRICTIONS, RULES AND REGULATIONS
Author: Jay Fraiser
Has your Board of Directors found it difficult to enforce the restrictions, rules and regulations contained in the Association’s governing documents? Your Board is not alone. This is one of the most challenging issues that Community Associations face.
Enforcing rules and regulations is oftentimes the most burdensome yet necessary duty that an Association’s Board has. Fortunately, Condominium and Homeowner Associations have an effective legal tool in accomplishing this important duty. Florida statutory law sets out specific procedures that must be followed in order to levy and ultimately enforce fines against residents that routinely violate rules and regulations. Following is a brief overview of those step by step procedures.
- Step One: The Board must establish an independent “fining committee” made up of Owners that do not serve on the Board or as an Officer and are not related by blood or marriage to a Director or Officer.
- Step Two: The Board meets to discuss the alleged violations and levies a fine if a violation is confirmed. Note that fines are limited to $100 per occurrence and $1,000 in total per ongoing violation, unless a different total amount is permitted under the Association’s governing documents.
- Step Three: A notice must be sent to the resident at least fourteen (14) days before an upcoming hearing in front of the “fining committee” where the resident will have an opportunity to dispute the Board levied fine. At the conclusion of the hearing, the “fining committee” will either confirm or reject the fine levied by the Board.
- Step Four: If the “fining committee” confirms the levied fine, then the fine is enforceable against the resident. A notice informing the resident that the fine was confirmed must be sent to the resident providing five (5) days for payment of the fine.
- Step Five: If payment is not made within the five (5) day period, the Association is permitted to move forward with enforcement of the fine. Enforcement options include the possibility of recording a claim of lien for Homeowner Associations and pursuing collection of the fine through a legal action against the resident where attorney’s fees and costs are typically recoverable in addition to the fine.
It is critical that Associations follow all statutory procedures in imposing fines when enforcing restrictions, rules and regulations. Failure to follow statutory procedure may result in a successful challenge to the fine. Consulting an attorney that specializes in Florida Community Association Law is highly recommended if your Association is considering imposing fines. Moorhead Real Estate Law Group is happy to discuss this, or any other, topic facing your Community Association.
Jay Fraiser is a Partner of Moorhead Real Estate Law group.
His primary focus is Condominium and Community Association Litigation and general servicing.
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