Article Courtesy of FOX 29 - WFLX
|Published: May 27, 2004
Home and Condo owners throughout Florida are an enormous step closer to getting something they've never had before: consistent guidelines, outlining their rights. It's all spelled out in two bills, recently approved by Florida lawmakers. One Bill is tailored for condos. The other for homeowner associations.
Both are the result of an HOA taskforce set up by governor Bush. They come not a moment too soon for disgruntled property owners.
The honeymoon of home-ownership ended quickly for all of these people because of conflicts with their Homeowner's Association.
Phil Castronova: "We are fighting over some flowers and landscaping, we have spent, to defend ourselves, 14 thousand dollars."
For this woman the fight was over the color of her driveway.
Marinanne Musella: "I've wound up with 2 1/2 years of legal bills. Defending myself against foreclosure on a home from what started as a 25-dollar fine."
A Flag-pole is the source of this man's flap with his H-O-A.
George Andres/may lose home: "I've spent out of my pocket, over 40-thousand dollars."
But help for these people and every homeowner in Florida is coming. Florida lawmakers passed new legislation now awaiting the signature of Governor Jeb Bush. The legislation is sponsored in part by Senator Jeff Atwater.
Jeff Atwater: "People around Florida had been calling legislators, calling the governor."
The result: the passage of two bills giving property owners more rights and giving HOA'S more rules uniform rules.
Jeff Atwater "You may have differences within your associations by laws, but this is going to rule over that."
Among the biggest changes: more disclosure from individual HOA's when you shop for a neighborhood and 3 days to change your mind once you sign the association's contract.
The new rules also prohibit HOA's from foreclosing on you for unpaid fines, whether it be over the color of your driveway, your plastic grass, or, to the delight of George Andres, for flying the American flag.
Jeff Atwater: "That would not be able to happen under this law."
What also wouldn't happen under this law is this: two different people claiming to head up one H-O-A.
The new guidelines have specific rules about recalling board members. What isn't as clear is the penalty facing violators.
Cathy Lively: "I think that we need to see more as to the specific rights as to enforcement of the rules."
Homeowner's association Boards throughout the state will receive a copy of the new guidelines, courtesy of the state of Florida.
These bills are expected to reach the Governor's
desk any day now.. It's then up to him to sign them into law.
Most of the changes would take effect October first.
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