If a homeowners association is not maintaining common property equitably throughout the subdivision what can I do

Asked almost 3 years ago - Tampa, FL

They (HOA) decided to not maintain cul-de-sac in front of my home and are not willing to put new plants in (approximate cost of $75.00. It look barren and unkempt. Last plants lasted about 12 years with little to no maintenance. Xeroscaping.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Marshall C Deason Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Many homeowners associations are in difficult financial shape because of the high number of foreclosures and a large number of homeowners who do not pay thier dues or maintenance fees. Because of this lack of money, associations have had to cut back on maintenance. You should contact the president of your HOA and start attending board meetings to let your feelings be known and to get a better understanding of the financial situation of your HOA.

    Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does... more
  2. Barbara Billiot Stage

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . I have to agree with the answer already provided. Associations are suffering financial losses because approximately 40% of the properties in most communities are in foreclosure and not paying their assessments. The associations have few remedies to collect assessments from these properties. Since the only source of income for most associations is assessments, they either have to cut back on services or raise the assessments.

    Your question does not indicate this, but these answers may not address your question if what you mean is that your association is maintaining other areas and just not the one by your home. I have seen many times where the Board of Directors will make sure the areas around their own homes look nice, but the other areas are not maintained. This is self-dealing and a breach of their fiduciary duty.

    The only problem is that HOAs are not regulated in this state except for elections. Your only recourse is to file suit against them, but before you can do that you have to submit to them a statutory offer of pre-suit mediation. If they agree to mediate, then each party pays half the costs of mediation. If they do not agree to mediate, then they can not claim attorneys' fees should you sue them and lose.

    Here's the part that prevents most homeowners from suing their associations. If you lose, you have to pay their attorneys fees, which could be anywhere from $60,000 - $150,000. That's enough to make anyone back down and unfortunately these associations and their attorneys know this.

    Homeowners need to stand up for their rights, but the State of Florida needs to step up and do something about this.

    This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult... more
  3. Andrew F. Garofalo

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . An HOA's duty to maintain common areas is set forth in the HOA's Declaration. Even though they are responsible to maintain common areas (unless there is a sub or master association whose responsibility it is), they may be short on money to actually do so. Having said that, even in bad times the HOA Board is responsible to mitigate losses caused by homeowners who are slow paying or non-paying. The HOA has the power to foreclose liens for unpaid assessments and has a duty to and should aggressively collect assessments due to it. The best course of action is always to work it out with the HOA Board outside of litigation, but if the HOA Board is not aggressive and sophisticated enough to collect the monies needed to care for the common areas, perhaps it is time to hire a property manager (or find a new one) and/or an attorney for advice on how to correct the problem by implementing an aggressive collections strategy. Good luck!

    Note that the foregoing is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, which... more

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