Article Courtesy of The
By Takesha Thomas
Published February 9, 2019
LAKELAND — A group of condominium owners have won a court appeal after the
state's Department of Economic Opportunity claimed that the association was not
entitled to amend or revise its property owners rules.
On Jan. 25, the U.S. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District
granted a reversal of a lower court ruling that found that Eastwood Shores
Property Owners Association was not entitled to revive its declaration of
covenants and restrictions because it is not a "homeowners' association" as
defined by the Marketable Record Titles to Real Property Act. The homeowners
sued the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity over the matter.
The appeals court found that the department "erroneously interpreted the
applicable sections of MRTA and chapters 718 and 720," and reversed the order
"determining that the Association does not qualify as a 'homeowners'
association' and therefore is not entitled to revive its declaration of
covenants." The court ruled that the department will now have to review the
association's proposed revived declaration.
The appeals court also found that "because Eastwood Shores' declaration of
covenants provides that '[e]very person or entity who is a record fee simple
Owner of a Unit…shall be a member of the Association,' that '[m]embership shall
be appurtenant to, and may not be separated from, ownership of any Unit,' and
that the Association is authorized to enforce the covenants and restrictions of
Eastwood Shores, the Association is a homeowners' association as defined in
According to court documents, the association was denied a proposed revival
claiming that the parcels in the association are classified as condominiums. The
department denied the proposal based on Florida Statutes, Florida's Condominium
Act and Florida's Homeowners' Association Act.
In its argument, the association said that it does not dispute the sections to
MRTA law, but argued that it remains eligible to seek revival of its declaration
based on the covenant revitalization sections of MRTA.
Eastwood Shores Condominiums recorded its declaration of covenants and
restrictions in the public record of Pinellas County in 1979, based on court
Chief Judge Edward C. LaRose, writing in part in his dissenting vote, "My
disagreement with the majority is one of statutory construction. The
Association's claim that it was established 'in 1979 in such a manner that it
would be considered a [c]hapter 720 homeowners['] association' does not compel a
conclusion that it is a chapter 712 'homeowners' association,' especially given
that it concedes it is subject to chapter 718."
Additionally, LaRose wrote, "the Association has not presented, and I have
not found, any indication that the legislature intended for section 712.11 to
apply to condominium associations."