My apologies I see that this is Florida. It did not show up initially.
When anyone purchases a property that is under and HOA they agree to be bound by the governing documents of the HOA. In Florida HOA's are governed by the following laws:
"Homeowner Associations are governed by a chain of governing documents and laws.
- The Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State provide the legal basis of the association in the form of an Incorporated Non-Profit Corporation.
- The recorded map or 'plat' defines each owner's title to property including the association's title to common areas.
- The CCR's (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) are publicly recorded deed restrictions.
- The Bylaws are the rules for management and administration.
- Resolutions are additional rules and regulations that the association may adopt.
- Federal Laws also apply. Some but not all include the The Fair Housing Act, Internal Revenue Codes, the American Disabilities Act, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act , the FCC OTARD Rule (Over the Air Reception Devices - Satellite Dishes) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Information regarding State Laws specific to common interest communities such as condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations are provided below and in the FAQ section of the Resouce Center. In addition there are typically additional state laws that are not specific to Common Interest Communities which require compliance. Some examples include stormwater runoff, coastal development, elevator inspections for condos, and pool operations to name a few.
- Local Ordinances, while not specific to homeowner associations, apply to building codes, animal control, abandoned cars, water restrictions, etc.
- Additional legal regulations can exist in the form of case law; standards set by professional organizations such as accountants, engineers, architects, home inspectors, and real estate brokers; as well as lender requirements.
- State laws affecting Common Interest Communities vary widely.
- Bills affecting Common Interest Communities are frequently being introduced in state legislatures and may be in different stages of consideration, approval, or enactment.
- It is not uncommon to find conflicts within or between governing documents such as the covenants and the bylaws. There may also be conflicts between governing documents and statutes. When this occurs, attorneys must often consider applying Rules of Intepretation.
- Because of the wide variance in state laws, constant changes and possible conflicts in governing documents or statutes, it is strongly recommended that association boards and members seek legal counsel and especially with firms that have expertise or strong practice experience in the area of Common Interest Community law. A good starting point is to check the HOA-USA Partner Directory for your respective state.
Florida State Laws
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation
Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Laws
The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (division) has authority to enforce the following laws:
- Chapter 718, Florida Statutes The Condominium Act
- Chapter 719, Florida Statutes The Cooperative Act
- Chapter 723, Florida Statutes The Florida Mobile Home Act, Chapter 723
- Chapter 617, Florida Statutes The Florida Not-For-Profit Corporations Act
- Chapter 607, Florida Statutes The Florida Corporations Act
- Chapter 468 Part VIII, Florida Statutes The Community Association Management (CAM) Law Rules
- Condominiums - Chapters 61B-15 through 25, 45 and 50, Florida Administrative Code
- Cooperatives - Chapters 61B-75 through 79, Florida Administrative Code
In addition, Chapters 61B-45 and 61B-50, Florida Administrative Code, contain rules relating to arbitration of disputes. Chapter 61B-25 contains rules regarding lists maintained by division for volunteer and paid mediators.
In June of 1998, the division adopted administrative rules to implement its responsibility to ensure compliance with the provisions of Chapters 718 and 719, Florida Statutes. The resolution guidelines specify the action the division will take when accepted complaints are received. The rules provide for different treatment of violations by developers and violations by unit owner controlled associations, designate violations as either major or minor, provide for different methods of complaint resolution, discuss repeat violations and aggravating and mitigating factors, and provide for civil penalties. The resolution guidelines are found in:
- 61B-20.004 - 61B-20.006 - Resolution Guidelines for Condominium Developers
- 61B-21.001 - 61B-21.003 - Condominium Resolution Guidelines for Unit Owner Controlled Associations
- 61B-77.001 - 61B-77.03 - Resolution Guidelines for Cooperative Developers
- 61B-78.002 - 61B-78.004 - Cooperative Resolution Guidelines for Unit Owner Controlled Associations
In conjunction with the jurisdiction granted to the division by the Condominium and Cooperative Acts, the following are responsibilities that the division has under Chapters 718 and 719, Florida Statutes:
- Each condominium and cooperative association is required to pay annual fees to the division based on the number of residential condominium or cooperative units in the association. This fee is currently $4 per unit and is due by January 1 of each year.
- The division provides training programs for condominium and cooperative association board members and unit owners, by contracting with a private vendor to provide training courses.
- The division maintains a toll-free telephone number accessible to condominium and cooperative board members and unit owners. This number is ***-***-****.
- The division has a program to certify both volunteer and paid mediators to provide mediation of condominium and cooperative disputes.
For some reason the areas that are receiving greater services are paying the same amount in dues.
The issue that comes into play is that if you are required by your governing documents to pay dues you must pay them or the HOA can file a lien against your property and could foreclose for unpaid fees.
We would want to see why your governing documents are written in a fashion that serves to benefit only certain owners.
You will want to pay the amounts owed to avoid them filing a lien or foreclosing you as there no ability for you to decide unilaterally that you will breach the governing documents. You cannot withdraw based on your opinion that this is unfair as the deed to your property has what are called deed restrictions that require you to abide by the rules unless you can get the deed restrictions lifted.
I agree that this seems very unfair. That being said you have a right to contest the rules and are entitled to due process as set out in your governing documents. The Board is required to make rules, regulations, amendments and resolutions that are in the best interests of ALL owners. You need to handle this through the correct legal process so we do not risk you losing your property.
Can you tell me in Florida where your property is located so we can find a local attorney that provides FREE consultations that can review your governing documents and see exactly what steps need to be taken?