I own my home in an HOA community. Another neighbors dog bit a landscaper. My dogs have never hurt anyone and are either in my home or in my gated yard. After the incident they sent me a letter that I was in violation because I had "Pit Bulls" . Had DNA testing done. They are both mixed breed. One is Golden retriever/Staffordshire Terrier mix, one is American Bulldog/Staffordshire Terrier Mix. They fined me $1,000; fining committee comprised of renters, not owners. What should I do?
State/Country relating to question: Florida
Nothing but submission of the DNA results
Hello and welcome,Do you have the language of the rule that you allegedly violated? Your dogs are not Pit Bulls at all correct?
No where on the DNA test results does it say Pit Bull. Only what I said
Do you have the language of the rule that you allegedly violated?
Yes, it says specifically "No Pit Bull Terriers"
I see.This clearly appears to be a misapplication of the rules since your dogs are not Pit Bulls. In this case, one would typically follow the steps to appeal the decision as set out by the HOA's bylaws or other controlling documents.If the appeal is not successful for some reason (I can't imagine that it would not be), then one would typically have a basis to file suit against the Board for breaching their fiduciary duty since they are attempting to apply a rule to you that does not exist or, at a minimum, construing a rule beyond its ordinary meaning in penalizing you.If you retained a local real estate attorney that is familiar with HOA's to communicate a demand to the Board to terminate all efforts to penalize you with regard to this rule, I suspect that would be the end of the matter since they usually do wish to avoid litigation.If you do not wish to retain an attorney, you could try sending such a demand to the Board, and copy the committee on the letter, as well as pursuing your right to appeal the decision as set forth in the HOA's bylaws.
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Thank you and all the best to you,
15 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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