Homeowners associations should be regulated

Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel


Published October 21, 2008


It shouldn't matter whether you own a condo or a house. You should be able to rest assured that the association representing you and your neighbors is being run efficiently and ethically. That's why it makes no sense that members of condominium associations in Florida operate under a set of regulations, and those belonging to homeowners associations don't.

Homeowners in two recent surveys say they want the state to better regulate their associations. They also want an ombudsman and training standards for board members, the Sun Sentinel reported.

That much makes sense. Many HOAs are large, encompass lots of homes and have big-dollar budgets. Efforts to promote best practices and better association governance ought to be extended to homeowner groups.

State Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, said the inconsistency is due to the perception that there are fewer HOAs than condo associations. But while the state puts the count of condo associations at 21,737, the number of homeowner associations remains unknown. And that shouldn't be the case.

Robaina and state Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, plan to propose a bill that would provide homeowners associations with the same regulatory structure. Such a measure would be worth considering as long as it is tailored to the size of the association, and doesn't unnecessarily burden smaller associations with red tape.

Beyond that, however, homeowners shouldn't rely on the state to resolve all their disputes. HOA members must be their own watchdogs by knowing their association rules, investing the time to know what is happening and participating in their governance.