Boca couple forced out of their home after having a baby

Homeowner’s association wants family out by April


Article Courtesy of The Boca Raton News

By Nicol Jenkins
Published on March 10, 2005


A Boca Raton resident, his wife and their 6-month-old child will be forced to leave their home in the Boca Chase community by next month after the homeowner’s association decided they did not want residents under the age of 55.

Kevin Snyder, 43, had been living in the Boca Chase community for nine years before the homeowner’s association decided to change the rules.

The association voted to make the homes a 55 and older community a few years ago, and added a no children policy.

But Snyder said he and his wife, along with several other families who had children, were ‘grandfathered in’ before the new rules were set in stone.

“When I moved in I was single, and in 2001 I got married. Shortly after the community had become 55 and older, my wife and I were grandfathered in,” said Snyder, whose wife found out a short time later she was expecting a child, “When the 55 and older was up for voting we asked the board what would happen if she gets pregnant, they said they would have a meeting with us and discuss it, but they said they thought it would be okay.”

But when his wife actually did get pregnant, Snyder said he got an unexpected response from the board.

“I e-mailed them two months after we found out she was pregnant, and the president of the board of directors called me back saying we had to move. He said the baby was born after the ruling went into effect and we couldn’t stay here,” Snyder said.

Now, the local resident, his wife and their 6-month-old child are being forced out of their home because of the laws.

“We’re forced to put the house up for sale and supposed to move out by April
10,” said Snyder, “I think it’s dead wrong. I’ve been here since December of ’92, and I haven’t caused them any problems. These things just happen, you don’t always plan them.”

Board members of the Sweetwater Home Association at Boca Chase refused to comment on the case and referred the Boca Raton News to their lawyer, Keith Backer.

Backer, a Boca Raton- based attorney, said the members of the association would be breaking the law if they allowed the Snyder family to stay in their home.

“The community is one for older persons. They have to be 55 or older to reside there. They can’t just allow children to live there or they’ll lose their exemption,” said Backer. “Mr. and Mrs. Snyder were committed to live in the community, but that doesn’t mean they can have children. They were grandfathered for 55 and older but not for having children.”

Backer said the Snyders had signed a written agreement in November of 2004 stating they had 6 months to find alternate housing.

“They signed an authorized agreement to stay for 6 months more,” said Backer.

But the soon-to-be father said he didn’t want to sign the agreement and only did so because he felt there was no other option.

“If we didn’t sign we would have been severely fined. And it was getting nasty and we decided to just get out of there,” said Snyder.

Joel Messinger, a local expert on homeowner’s association policies, said the case is an 80-20 percent law.

“They have to have the support of 75 percent of the members. They had to make sure the majority decided, not just the board of directors,” said Messinger.