The firm’s latest Miami Herald column was authored by partner Shari Wald Garrett and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article, which is titled “Real Estate Counselor: Neighbors, HOA Dispute Over New Fence Becomes a Legal Saga,” focuses on a recent ruling by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal over a case that escalated from a minor fence dispute into a major courtroom quarrel with an appeal and reversal. Shari writes that matter illustrates the potential ramifications of discrepancies and confusion in homeowners associations’ reviews and approvals of owners’ submissions for planned architectural changes to their properties. Her article reads:
. . . The saga all began when homeowner Craiger Scheuer complained to the board of directors of the HOA for The Cottages at San Lorenzo, in Bradenton about his neighbors’ new fence. Neighbors Luis Antonio Beckett-Morales and Sharon Talamantes-Santiago had submitted plans for their new fence to the association and received its prior architectural review and approval as required, but unfortunately there was an issue.
The application included two conflicting plans: one called for a fence that would obstruct the view from Scheuer’s property of a stormwater retaining pond directly behind their home but not abutting his, and the other was for a fence that retained his view. The HOA nevertheless approved the application, but it importantly provided that the approval was subject to the written condition that the fence follow all the architectural review committee guidelines for the specific lot type.
When Scheuer complained that the fence installed by Morales and Santiago obstructed his view of the pond, the association ultimately agreed and covered the cost of modifying the fence. However, the remodeled fence also obstructed Scheuer’s view, so he sued his neighbors and the association.