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Articles Tagged with HOA architectural reviews

Shari-Garrett-002-200x300The 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.  SGarrett-Herald-clip-for-blog-7-16-23-103x300The 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.

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Chere-Trigg-225x300The firm’s latest Miami Herald “Real Estate Counselor” column was authored by shareholder L. Chere Trigg and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper.  The article, which is titled “Takeaways from Boca HOA’s Suit Against Owner Over Unapproved Fence, Paint,” focuses on a recent case that illustrates the significance of pursuing violations and enforcement matters as reasonably, uniformly and transparently as possible for community associations.  Her article reads:

. . . By their very nature, violations and enforcement matters can be very contentious and therefore difficult to manage, making them a challenge for directors and property managers. The associations that do it best are typically those that make effective use of independent committees, open hearings and published guidelines.

Among the most common disputes are those involving unapproved improvements and alterations to properties in communities that require a board’s or committee’s prior review and approval in order to maintain aesthetic standards. One such example involves a lawsuit that was recently filed by the association for the Fieldbrook Estates community in Boca Raton, Florida, against one of its homeowners over the unauthorized removal and installation of a fence and the painting of their home in an unapproved color.

CTrigg-Herald-clip-for-blog-7-9-23-99x300The association’s lawsuit, which was filed in the circuit court for Palm Beach County on May 9, states the dispute began this February when Umit Yigit, the homeowner, and his tenant Michael Trussell painted the exterior of their home a different color without first applying for approval from the community’s architectural review committee. Matters then escalated in April when the owner and tenant removed a safety fence enclosing their swimming pool, again without seeking prior approval from the association’s architectural committee nor from Palm Beach County, which requires swimming pool safety fences. As such, the unapproved removal of the fence not only violated the association’s governing documents and county regulations, but also posed a safety risk for the community.

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