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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33805
Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
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Hello. I live in Weston, FL. My HOA is Country Isles Executive

Resolved Question:

Hello. I live in Weston, FL. My HOA is Country Isles Executive homes. I applied to convert my garage to a room but agreed to keep the garage door. I am basically asking only for a wall with a door in it, set back a few feet from the garage door to store garden machines and tools. A month ago or so, prior to applying, I called the President of my HOA asking about if I could do this. He said yes, submit an application. I did and it was denied by the manager of the company my HOA contracted with. The manager said my HOA and the city of Weston does not allow garage conversions.

This is contrary to the information received from the HOA (president) and the City (where I inquired on garage conversions). In addition I know of at least one person in my community (same association) who was granted his application for same request as mine and has a garage conversion.

Please tell me if the manager has the right to tell me without going to the Board or checking previous grants on garage conversion in my HOA that I absolutely cannot do this. Does he speak for my HOA and the city of Weston. He has told me twice my HOA does not allow it nor the City of Weston!

This matter troubles me greatly, it seems sometimes they grant approval, sometime not. I do not want to miss your reply so == I would greatly appreciate if you could email me your response atXXX@XXXXXX.XXX or call me at my cell XXX-XXX-XXXX. I already had to pay an architect to draw the floor plan for my application ($500, contracted for $1600) as they required it in the application!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

The HOA management has no power over the city planning office. City zoning and planning regulations control. If the city permits the conversion, then the HOA could still refuse the conversion. But, if the city prohibits the conversion, then the HOA cannot grant the conversion.

 

So, if the city is willing to give you a permit, and the HOA has permitted a conversion in the same community, then you have a lawsuit for breach of the implied covenant of good faith, if the HOA refuses to permit your conversion, because the HOA is not providing fair treatment to all homeowners.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33805
Experience: Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 6 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello. Thank you for your very clear and concise answer. I thought of re-contacting the HOA President but I am afraid he will now say something different as I have no written proof of what he said in the telephone conversation. I also thought of going to the next HOA meeting to address/appeal the issue however, I am afraid they will have a pat answer to fall in line with reasons for the denial of my HOA application (and then, go no where). So, it is looking now as though I am leaning to file suit against the HOA.

 

The management company for my HOA is represented by Brough, Chadow & Levine PA. Can you recommend another law firm in Weston, FL or, can you direct me as to how to find an attorney who deals with HOA problems or real estate law and who has a good track record? I would value your opinion on what a reasonable approximate fee might be -- for consultation and for contracting for full representation in this matter.

 

The terms of agreement for this forum seem to include additonal questions for my main question. Please correct me if I am wrong, in that this additional question is not to be charged an additional fee. If there is an additional charge, please let me know what cost would be.-- Appreciatively -- Muriel

Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

Good morning.

 

What was the "written" reason for the denial of your application?

 

 

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I received an email from the secretary which said:

 

"The application is not and will not be approved. It is prohibited by HOA & City of Weston to create an additional room of the nature you have proposed (garage conversion)."

 

Then the manger emailed me:

 

"Sorry but no garage conversions are allowed by the association, or in Weston."

Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

If you can get a note from the City that the conversion is permitted in your community, then you could send the HOA a letter stating something like:

 

  • "I am in receipt of your denial of my conversion request, due to it not being permitted by the city. Attached, please find a not from the Weston building department stating that such a conversion is permitted in our community. Further, please find attached a photograph of a garage conversion located atXXXXX, which is a property located within our HOA.
  • Because the city permits garage conversions, and because the HOA has apparently permitted them in the past, I am unable to reconcile the reasons for your denial of my request with the facts. In view of this circumstance, I hope that you will reconsider my request for a garage conversion. I am enclosing a copy of the original request for your approval.
  • If I do not receive a positive response from you by ??/??/????, I will assume that you have decided to reject my request for arbitrary reasons, and I will take appropriate legal action to enforce my rights."

 

That's how I'd do it if it were me. You'll have to decide if this sort of approach would work for you.

 

Best of luck.



Edited by socrateaser on 6/27/2010 at 4:55 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello and thank you once again, for a most comprehensive answer. I appreciate that you give me an alternative approach, short of retaining legal representation (at this time ...).

 

While I was emailing you, the HOA manager emailed me and would not answer the questions I last relayed to him. Specifically, (1) why does the HOA approve some garage conversion and not others. and (2) it is not true that the City of Weston disallows garage conversions.

 

The HOA manager now suggests that I attend the next HOA meeting (7/8) and ask the Board of Directors directly about the garage conversion issue.

 

So one last question ... since I have already received two emails telling me that the HOA and city will not and cannot allow garage conversions, would you recommend that I now appear before the Board of Directors and the HOA manager to ask this question again, which was already presented in my application to the HOA.

 

Appreciatively -- Muriel

 

Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

I cannot recommend a course of action. I "justanswer" questions about the law. You get to make the choices.

 

The manager is trying to avoid responsibility, by deferring to the board. I don't see any particular harm in you attending and asking questions. I like the letter approach, because it creates an absolute deadline. Your opponent knows that you can prove that they have no defense, and that if they don't do something, that you will act in a certain amount of time.

 

Happy Sunday.

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