Claims Court Lawsuit for Violation of Florida Statutes
An Easy "HOW-TO"!
Since July 1, 2007 any dispute regarding access to the official records of the association has to mediated, according to FS 720.311
Are you living as well in one of these fancy Homeowners' Association, where the Board and their Attorney feel that they are above the Florida Statutes and don't have to obey them? Or they tell you in a public board meeting that you should sue them, if you don't like the way they are doing business?
Don't feel alone! It happens on a daily basis all over Florida. And you're in pretty good company. Even the General Attorney's office was rebuked by a HOA attorney in a recent legal challenge. Quote: "Association attorney Donald Peyton responded with a letter dated Oct. 14 in which he questioned the 'legal authority' of the Attorney General's Office to demand the records."
maybe you should take them up on their challenge and show them you really will
sue them! Homeowners in
It all started with a so-called 10-day
by certified mail, return receipt requested to the registered agent of the
association (in this case, the management company). If
you don't receive any response, call after ten days to remind them. Then wait
another ten days before going to the local courthouse to file the necessary
Small Claims Court Form.
This is just a workable example.
Just fill in the applicable questions and attach the copies of the 10-day letter
and a copy of the certified mail receipt. (You
do need minimum three copies each.) Use
wording in Question 1 below. Usually
there is a special office, where somebody will assist you with the filing. You
do have to pay the fee -- somewhere around $50.00 depending on the Court --
and the charge for the process server, normally $20.00. In order to make things
easy on you and the judge, just file for one item at a time. You might anyway
not get more than $500.00, depending on the judge. From then on, everything will
go automatically. Possibly your board might contact you and offer to give you
the required document. They may have realized by now that you were serious about
it? Don't forget, in the meanwhile
that it's requested document PLUS filing fee that you are now entitled to
At trial all you have to bring is
a copy of the Florida Statutes, or make it two, in case the HOA attorney claims
he doesn't know about this rule. Explain
to the judge that you filed the lawsuit for monetary damages, according to
Florida Statutes 720.303. The
HOA attorney might come with a few excuses, but actually there are none. The
Florida Statutes are very clear in this matter.
You should end up with a Final Judgment as seen below.
it's time to make copies of this final judgment to send to your neighbors.
Make sure that they don’t vote again for board members that violate
the Florida Statutes and waste valuable association funds.
don't forget: The place where you've built your dream home is called a homeowners'
association. As the
homeowner, YOU should have the last word in regard to decisions made for the
"welfare" of the members. It's
not called "Board" or "Attorney" or "Management
Company" association for a reason. Supposedly, the board, attorney and
management company are just the tools to make your community work right.
They are not to be dictators that call the shots and disregard the
wishes of the homeowners.
remember: This only works in
To whom it may concern,
William “Bill” F. Lewis, Jr.
Jacksonville, FL 32244 PHONE# (904) XXX-XXXX
Board of Directors
AMENDED STATEMENT OF CLAIM
Plaintiff(S) William “Bill”
F. Lewis, Jr.
1. THIS IS AN ACTION FOR DAMAGES THAT DOES NOT EXCEED $5000.00.
2. (GIVE A BRIEF
DESCRIPTION OF WHY YOU HAVE FILED THIS SUIT)
a) All proxies submitted to the Secretary prior to 7:00 pm at the December 4, 2001, Chimney Lakes Owners Association Annual Homeowners Meeting. The proxies are part of the official Minutes of the Chimney Lakes Owners Association Annual Homeowners Meeting and as such, according to FS 720.303 Subs. 4 f, an official document.
b) The list of owners in attendance at the December 4, 2001, Chimney Lakes Owners Association Annual Homeowners Meeting. The list of members present is part of the official Minutes of the Chimney Lakes Owners Association Annual Homeowners Meeting and as such, according to FS 720.303 Subs. 4 f, an official document.
c) The minutes from the November 20, 2001, Chimney Lakes Owners Association Board of Directors regular monthly meeting. The minutes are part of the official records of the Chimney Lakes Owners Association and as such, according to FS 720.303 Subs. 4 f, an official document.
d) The rules regarding the videotaping of Board of Directors meetings of the Chimney Lakes Owners Association. A copy of the current rules is part of the official records of the Chimney Lakes Owners Association and as such, according to FS 720.303 Subs. 4 e, an official document.
Despite various verbal and written reminders, the Association did not comply with this request. According to the Florida Statutes (FS 720.303 Subs. 5 a + b) the Association is required to pay damages. The minimum damages are to be $50 per calendar day up to 10 days, the calculation to begin on the 11th business day after receipt of the written request. 99 business days have elapsed since the February 8, 2002, expiration date.
I hereby ask the court to render a judgment in the amount of $ 2500.00 + the cost for filing this suit (FS 720.305 Par.1) against the Association for willfully disregarding the Florida Statutes Section 720.303.
WHEREFORE, THE PLAINTIFF(S) DEMANDS JUDGMENT
FOR DAMAGES AGAINST
Dated this _28th_ day of June, 2002.
F. Lewis Jr._
A. Jeffrey Tomassetti
Board of Directors
F. Lewis Jr._
William "Bill" F Lewis Jr
Jacksonville, FL XXXXX
Board of Directors
came on for Trial and the Court having heard evidence and being
A. Jeffrey Tomassetti, ESQ