Gate Access Turned Off?
Has your Community Association turned off your gate access?
66 million Americans live in common interest communities with governing bodies, such as Homeowners’ Associations and Condominium Associations, designed to protect property values and quality of life. But when HOAs or COAs are mismanaged, life behind the gates isn’t as great as it may look from the outside.
If your association has limited your property access in the following ways, you can be entitled to $1,000.00 in statutory damages:
Limited your ability to enter your property through any of the community gates
- Denied guests access to your property at the gate
- Required an owner to use a visitors gate
- Required an occupant/tenant to use a visitors gate
- Denied tenants access to your property
- Denied contractors or delivery drivers access to your property
- Denied access to enter lobby when there are no other access points to your property
HOA Defense Against Gate Lockout
Were you behind in your community payments? Under Florida law, no association is legally allowed to interfere with your right to enter your property. Making owners use the “Visitors” gate is simply a way for the association to use embarrassment and harassment to make you pay them. Keep in mind that a community may not even disclose that you are behind on your payments. In many cases, the association has put residents on a “Did Not Pay” list and given that list to the person working at the gate. If this happened to you, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.
Limited Gate Access is Harassment
The association may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of fees or to coerce payment of the fees by the homeowner.
Florida HOA Law is Clear
Florida Statutes Section 720.303 allows a homeowners association to suspend, for a reasonable period of time, the right of a member, or a member’s tenant, guest, or invitee, to use common areas and facilities for the failure of the owner of the parcel to comply with any provision of the declaration, bylaws, or reasonable rules of the association.
This provision does not apply to that portion of common areas used to provide access or utility services to the parcel. Therefore, a suspension may not prohibit an owner or tenant of a parcel from having vehicular and pedestrian ingress to and egress from the parcel, including, but not limited to, the right to park.
Any such suspension of use of common areas or facilities must be approved at a properly noticed board meeting. Upon approval, the association must notify the parcel owner and, if applicable, the parcel’s occupant, licensee, or invitee by mail or hand delivery.
Know Your Property Rights
A similar provision pertaining to condominium associations is contained in Florida Statutes Section 718.303, which provides: If a unit owner is more than 90 days delinquent in paying a monetary obligation due to the association, the association may suspend the right of the unit owner or the unit’s occupant, licensee, or invitee to use common elements, common facilities, or any other association property until the monetary obligation is paid in full.
This subsection does not apply to limited common elements intended to be used only by that unit, common elements need to access the unit, utility services provided to the unit, parking spaces, or elevators.
Thus, associations who force homeowners and tenants to use the visitors gate are overstepping their authority. While it is permissible, after a noticed meeting and notice to the owner or occupant, to suspend access to common areas and facilities such as the pool, parks, playgrounds, or tennis courts, the entrance to the community is off limits. The statute specifically excludes those portions of common areas used to provide access to the parcel, which includes all entrances to the community.
An association cannot prevent an owner or the owner’s guests from getting to and from their unit and home and ability to park their car and cannot cut off utilities such as water, electric, phone and probably cable. The issue relates to basic property rights along with harassment of delinquent homeowners. The association cannot deny you access to your property, even by forcing an owner or tenant to use a visitor’s gate.
Are You Having Problems with Your Florida Homeowners’ Association?
How We Help Homeowners
At HOA Defenders, our attorneys are committed to defending homeowners from unreasonable HOA claims, from limited gate access and gate lockout, to HOA harassment, and more. We understand the unique complexities of Florida HOA law, and our team of licensed Florida real estate attorneys have worked in this area extensively to provide a full representation of your needs and rights as a homeowner.
No matter the complexities of your case, our attorneys possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to represent our clients with high-quality and effective legal strategies. HOA Defenders is here to fight for you.
Fight Back with HOA Defenders
Stop gate lockout and protect your rights with HOA Defenders today. Schedule your free consultation today and discover how our attorneys can help you defend your homeowners’ and property rights against illegal HOA practice. To get started, call 561-340-4577.