Family in dispute with HOA over alleged harassment from HOA

Article Courtesy of The First Coast News

By Kenneth Amaro

Published August 23, 2016


ST. AUGUSTINE -- Complaints about the HOA are not uncommon, but when the complaints involve allegations of overreaching and selective enforcement, it gets attention.

"I cannot not say anything any longer," says Michael Branck.

In 2015, Branck, his wife Lisa and their five disabled children moved into the Istoria community.

"We have been on pins and needles especially after Ethan was diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing Sarcoma," he says.

Now, they wish they had purchased a home elsewhere.

"Neighbors have said they don't want us to move," says Branck.

They love the area, but recently they've developed a hatred for the HOA.

"The community needs to know that this sort of activity goes on with HOA," he says. "And the impact it has had on my family. My wife is in tears."

For example, in July the HOA's property management gave them a courtesy notice to clean up the oil stains in the public streets.

"These stains are from the garbage trucks, the maintenance trucks," he says.

Then they received a notice for having a small trampoline in the backyard.

"It is for therapeutic needs," says Branck. "For my son."

Branck says he has also had to deal with repeated visits from the Sheriff's Office repeatedly over complaints about parking on the street.

"I would like the harassment to stop," says Branck. "I need to defend my family, and I am going to contest the fact that we haven't done anything wrong."

One officer wrote that the issue was a 'civil dispute' versus a parking violation.

Branck says he has reviewed his Code, Covenant and Restrictions Deed and the alleged violations do not exists.

"The notice of violations are for issues that are not in the CCR or specified in the CCR," he said.

Adding to the already fractured relationship, Branck says he asked the HOA to make the common areas ADA compliant and his request was rejected.

"We're talking signs, lighting access and egress points," he said.

Branck says he wants the notices retracted and an apology. We reached out to the property management company and so far no response.

Jacksonville Attorney Fred Elefant is an expert in HOAs. Elefant says Branck should take his complaints to arbitration process and if that fails take his concerns to court.