Figuring Out HOA Dues & Rights During Pandemic
When news of the coronavirus initially emerged, we discussed some of the initial disputes that often came up between residents and their Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) here in Florida; namely, disputes involving how far HOAs could go (legally speaking) in restricting residents’ rights in order to protect the safety of the community as a whole. However, now that a number of months have passed, even as Florida enters its first phase of reopening some counties, it has become clear that the US is far from returning to ‘normal,’ where citizens can go back to resuming activities that they once engaged in without social distancing concerns.
As a result, a number of residents residing in communities run by HOAs have asked whether they can legally obtain dues refunds for amenities they have not been able to use due to the pandemic, and aren’t expected to be able to use for some time, including use of their HOA’s clubhouses, gyms, and pools. These dues can be substantial, depending upon the community, and can range from several hundred dollars per month to thousands of dollars each quarter.
Below, we discuss some of the general issues and considerations that go into figuring out what your rights are during this time:
Look Over Your Contract
First and foremost, it is essential to look at your HOA contract to indicate whether circumstances like the pandemic are addressed and whether your contract specifically mentions residents’ rights to refunds, including whether that is affected by mandatory government closures. A number of residents have been informed that they are still required to pay these dues in spite of cities, counties, the state, country, etc. mandating that all gyms and pools close. While this may usually be the case, it may not always be the case.
You Have the Right to Obtain Documents & Make Requests of Your Board
Know that you, as a resident, have the right to view your HOA’s budget and work with other residents to request refunds as a group, including putting forth an official proposal to your board. Also know that both Governor DeSantis and the Florida Supreme Court issued an administrative order dictating that the requirement for clerks to issue writs of possession (on eviction and foreclosure) is suspended through May, indicating that if your HOA is threatening foreclosure proceedings due to your failure to pay dues, speaking with an attorney about your rights during this time is essential, as your rights may be more substantial than you realize.
Contact Our Florida HOA Resident Attorneys Today for A Free Consultation
At Suncoast Civil Law, our Sarasota homeowners’ association dispute attorneys are ready to provide you with the assistance you need to resolve any questions or concerns you might have about your home and rights during this time. Contact us today for a free (safe) consultation—our attorneys are still working at this time to ensure that you have access to the legal services that you need.