Firm shareholder Marc A. Smiley authored an article that was featured as the “Board of Contributors” guest commentary column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Association Protected by Business Judgment Rule Against Disgruntled, Litigious Homeowner,” discusses how the enforcement of restrictions against property improvements that are in violation of association covenants can become very contentious in single-family home communities. It notes most of these disputes are between a homeowner seeking approval for alterations and their association’s architectural review committee, but some of the cases stem from third-party unit owners who become dissatisfied with their association’s decisions. His article reads:
A recent ruling by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal involved just such a dispute brought by a homeowner who was disappointed with his association’s approval of a neighbor’s new garage. In Miller v. Homeland Property Owners Association, the appellate panel affirmed the lower court’s partial final summary judgment in favor of a homeowner that had secured the association’s prior approval and built the garage on his property.
The Fourth DCA only addressed whether disputed issues of material fact precluded the entry of summary judgment and the proper application of the business judgment rule. Owners in the community of Homeland Property Owners Association are required to obtain approval of their plans by the association’s architectural review board prior to commencing any work. Restrictions that are in place in the community include a maximum building height of 32 feet and a prohibition against flat roofs.