The lawyers who focus on homeowners association matters at our firm are often called upon by our hundreds of HOA clients throughout South Florida to assist them in compelling homeowners to abide by all of the association’s rules. One of the most typical complaints that we receive about rules that are being skirted by member homeowners involves the displaying of signs on homes and lots, as most associations require prior approval for any sort of signage.
One such case that caught our attention was covered recently in an article that appeared in both The Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel. It involved a sign that read “God Bless America” comprised of four-inch magnetic letters on the garage door of a home in the Springs Hamlet community in Broward County. The homeowner, who happens to be the assistant chief of police in Delray Beach, was quoted in the article saying that he plans to refuse the association’s request to take down the sign. He insists that his display is actually not a sign because it consists of individual magnets, making it similar to the address numbers on his house, and he plans to hire an attorney to fight the association on this issue.
Whether the homeowner will prevail in arguing that his display is not a sign and therefore does not require prior approval by the HOA remains to be seen. Even though most of the neighbors may approve of the homeowner’s patriotic message, the association is obligated to apply its rules in a consistent and uniform manner. It cannot turn the other way for a sign that most find unobjectionable and then enforce its rule for other displays that are more controversial and unpopular.
Our community association lawyers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties help homeowners associations and condominium associations to enforce all of their rules with their member unit owners. We offer free initial consultations, and we also take questions live on the air during our weekly radio show: “Straight Talk on Condos and HOAs” on 610-AM WIOD every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. To call the show and have your question answered live, call toll-free at 1-866-610-NEWS (866-610-6397), and visitors to our website can listen to past shows and submit questions via e-mail.