Man Suing Neighbors Over Alleged Illegal HOA

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 9

Published April 21, 2011

ORANGE COUNTY , Fla. -- An Orange County homeowner is taking on his neighbors. Jeff Busch is suing his entire neighborhood over an alleged illegal homeowner's association.

"I was right, they were wrong," Busch said.

Busch said his neighbors were trying to force him to pay HOA dues against his will. So he's now suing 90 people in the Sand Lake Hills community off of Dr. Phillips Boulevard .

Busch put a sign on his garage stating he should have property rights and there should not be an HOA. He's been fighting with the Sand Lake Hills homeowners association since 2008. He sued the HOA and 99 homeowners because he claims the HOA was formed illegally.

Each homeowner is supposed to agree to form an HOA, but he says that did not happen.

"This is property rights. How can they come on my property and assess me for anything they want?"

The homes were built more than 30 years ago, and in the past, the HOA was voluntary. Homeowners donated money to the association to maintain common areas.

Jerry Rarden supports a mandatory association and says its only costs $100 a year.

"I think it's a frivolous lawsuit," said Rarden.

Busch says that's not the point, and a judge recently agreed. The neighborhood was built in sections and she said Section 2 HOA was not authorized to enforce use restrictions in Section 3 after 1985.

Busch claims the title of his property is also muddied. He's says the HOA is not allowed to put a lien on his property, but he also has to fight it out in court.

"They have dumped trash on Busch's title to their property. Now they have to come to figure out who has to pay," said Busch's attorney, Fred O'Neal

An HOA board member says a judge dismissed the suit against the individual homeowners, but Busch says he intends to sue all of his neighbors for his legal bills. He says he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

WFTV spoke with another HOA attorney not related to the case. He said most likely individuals homeowners would not be responsible for legal feels, only the association.