The 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.
The 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.