Disputes in South Florida
While the benefits of living in a planned community are great, problems undoubtedly arise. When they do, the attorneys at Perez Mayoral, P.A. are here to assist you. We represent homeowners facing the following common HOA disputes, and more:
Homeowners Association’s Duty to Maintain and Repair
Homeowner and Condominium Associations in Florida have a duty to maintain their common areas and elements. Unfortunately, associations commonly fail to meet their obligations and breach this maintenance duty, resulting in significant damage to people’s homes and condominiums.
If you are a home or condominium owner facing damages you believe were caused by your association, we can help. Our attorneys work with teams of expert inspectors, contractors, and engineers to prove both the cause and true financial extent of HOA-caused property damage. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to make your HOA pay to repair the damage they have caused.
Contact us today for a case review.
Violations of Homeowners Association Covenants
The internal management (or mismanagement) of your homeowners association may be negatively impacting your finances, peace of mind, home value, and safety. Your HOA may, for example, violate its governing documents by:
- Failing to maintain common elements and areas,
- Failing to enforce the community’s rules and regulations,
- Failing to implement and obey safety regulations,
- Selectively enforcing the community’s rules and regulations,
- Issuing excessive and/or baseless violations and fines.
If you are experiencing such conduct, our firm is here to help.
Contact us today for a case review.
Disputes Between Neighbors
Although HOAs normally have rules explaining how disputes between neighbors within the community will be handled, sometimes those in charge do not have the judgment, perspective, or sense of fairness to settle matters without legal intervention. If you have reached the point where your association is not properly handling your dispute with a neighbor, it may be time to involve a law firm that specializes in HOA disputes, such as ours.
Contact us today for a case review.
Discrimination and Harassment
Whether you and your loved ones are being treated in a discriminatory manner or harassed by a neighbor, the HOA, or a third party (such as a contractor or electrician working under the auspices of the homeowners association), such conduct is illegal.
Our HOA dispute attorneys are well-versed in the federal and state laws protecting your rights and will provide you with aggressive support if you are being targeted or treated unjustly because of your race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or identity, or any other category protected under the law. We are here to help.
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Structural defects that deface your home or threaten your family’s health or safety typically must be repaired by the HOA. Though an inspection may be required to determine the source of the defect, it is almost always the responsibility of the homeowners association to repair or replace defective external structures that were included in your purchase, such as a defective balcony or a faulty window.
Nevertheless, your HOA may fight to keep from financing necessary repairs by claiming you caused the damage. Without strong legal representation, you may feel that you are fighting a losing battle. Don’t let your homeowners association bully you into paying for repairs you are not responsible for. We are here to help.
Contact us today for a case review.
Accidents and Personal Injuries
In some unfortunate cases, an HOA’s failure to maintain common areas may result in damage to your personal property or in personal injury. If you have been hurt due to your association’s negligence or assaulted as a result of inadequate lighting or security, we may be able to hold the homeowners association accountable for all losses related to your injury, including your pain and suffering. Our firm has the experience in personal injury and HOA law required for these types of cases.
Contact us today for a case review.
Contact the Attorneys at Perez Mayoral, P.A. for Professional Legal Guidance on your HOA Dispute Today.
Conflicts with HOAs are complex. Don’t go it alone. Contact us today for a case review.
In Florida, you can sue your HOA or Condominium Association for negligence if you, a loved one, or your property were adversely affected due to their flawed, faulty, or negligent maintenance, repairs, or security. This includes both personal injuries and property damage. Examples of negligence leading to personal injuries include unrepaired steps, driveways, or other surfaces causing slip and fall accidents, or instances like malfunctioning elevators and falling debris. On the other hand, negligence leading to property damage could arise from the association's failure to repair, maintain, or replace certain common elements typically like the roof, walls, or pipes of a building. When such negligence leads to water intrusion into your home, causing damage, you may have grounds to pursue a negligence claim against the HOA or Condominium Association. These claims can be complex, and the success might depend on various factors including the specific circumstances of the damage, the language used in the lawsuit, and the governing documents of the community.
Due to the various pitfalls and the complexity of this area of law, it is highly advisable for individuals facing such issues to hire an attorney experienced in HOA and Condominium litigation to navigate this legal domain effectively.
Can I sue my HOA or Condominium Association for their failure to maintain the community or buildings?
In Florida, unit owners have two primary types of legal recourse related to an association's failure to maintain common elements.
- Negligence Claims: Negligence leading to property damage could arise from the association's failure to repair, maintain, or replace certain common elements typically like the roof, walls, or pipes of a building. When such negligence leads to water intrusion into your home, causing damage, you may have grounds to pursue a negligence claim against the HOA or Condominium Association. Such claims are aimed at obtaining compensation for the damages incurred due to the association's negligence.
- Injunctions: Unit owners can potentially sue seeking an injunction against the Association, where a court essentially orders an association to comply with their duties and obligations under the governing documents. A case that illustrates this is Amelio v. Marilyn Pines Unit II Condo. Ass'n, 173 So. 3d 1037 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015). In this case, the Amelios brought a suit against their Condominium Association for failing to address excessive moisture intrusion in their unit, which was linked to issues with the floor slab—a responsibility of the Association to repair and maintain as per the governing condominium documents. The case underscores that unit owners have a right to seek mandatory injunctions against their Association to compel them to fulfill their obligations as stipulated in the governing documents, particularly when the neglect results in irreparable harm and when there's no adequate remedy at law. It delineates that if a clear legal right has been violated, and ongoing neglect by the Association is leading to continued damage making the unit uninhabitable, unit owners can legally press for corrective action through the courts. This case exemplifies the legal recourse available to unit owners when an Association falls short of its duties, thus providing a pathway for unit owners to ensure that their rights, as outlined in the governing condominium documents, are upheld.
Both these avenues of legal recourse emphasize the importance of the Association's adherence to its duties and obligations towards maintenance and repair of common elements, and provide mechanisms for unit owners to seek justice and remedy when these obligations are neglected. Due to the complex nature of this area of law, it is highly advisable for individuals facing such issues to hire an attorney experienced in HOA and Condominium litigation to navigate this legal domain effectively.
The responsibility of an HOA or Condominium Association in Florida for repairing damage to your home largely depends on the nature of the damage, the cause of the damage, and the governing documents of the community. Here's a breakdown based on different scenarios and legal frameworks:
- General Liability Principles: While the unit owners generally bear the responsibility for repairing damages within their own units, there are scenarios where the Association may be held liable. If the Association's negligent repair and maintenance of common elements like the roof, walls, or pipes within the building caused property damage to individual units, then the Association may be liable to repair and/or pay for the repairs to the affected units. This liability could extend to covering costs such as lost rent if the unit was being rented out, expenses for alternative housing if the unit becomes uninhabitable, and compensation for lost personal property due to the damage. It's the Association's duty to maintain, repair, and replace common elements or other specified items as per the governing documents and Florida law, and failure to do so diligently can result in liability towards the unit owners for the ensuing damages.
- Negligence Claims: If the damage to your home arises from the negligence of the HOA or Condominium Association, particularly due to their failure to repair, maintain, or replace common elements like roofs, walls, or pipes which then result in issues such as water intrusion or other types of damage, you may have grounds to pursue a negligence claim against the association. In such cases, the association may be held liable for the repairs and/or the cost of repairs to the affected units. This liability might also extend to covering related costs such as lost rent, alternative housing expenses, and the replacement of lost personal property caused by the damage.
- Injunctions: In cases where the association neglects its duties as stipulated in the governing documents, unit owners can potentially seek an injunction against the association, compelling them to comply with their duties and obligations under the governing documents. For instance, if there's excessive moisture intrusion due to issues with common elements which the association is responsible to maintain, unit owners can seek legal recourse to compel the association to address the issue. Unit owners can potentially sue seeking an injunction against the Association, where a court essentially orders an association to comply with their duties and obligations under the governing documents. A case that encapsulates this is Amelio v. Marilyn Pines Unit II Condo. Ass'n, 173 So. 3d 1037 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015). In this case, the Amelios brought a suit against their Condominium Association for failing to address excessive moisture intrusion in their unit, which was linked to issues with the floor slab—a responsibility of the Association to repair and maintain as per the governing condominium documents. The case underscores that unit owners have a right to seek mandatory injunctions against their Association to compel them to fulfill their obligations as stipulated in the governing documents, particularly when the neglect results in irreparable harm and when there's no adequate remedy at law. Through such injunctions, unit owners can legally press for corrective action through the courts, ensuring the Association adheres to its maintenance and repair obligations to prevent further damage or harm.
- Statutory framework: In Florida, the statutes provide a comprehensive legal framework outlining the responsibilities of HOA and Condominium Associations concerning the maintenance, repair, and insurance of common elements. Specifically, Section 718.111(11) mandates that the association is responsible for insuring the common elements, outlining the insurance coverage requirements including property insurance for all common elements. If a casualty event like a hurricane, fire, or flood causes damage, the association's insurance may cover the repairs. The liability of the association and unit owners is also determined based on whether the damage was caused by an insurable event or other causes like normal wear and tear or intentional and negligent acts. On the other hand, Section 718.113 emphasizes the association's duty to maintain the common elements. If the association neglects this duty and a failure to maintain common elements like roofs, walls, or pipes leads to damage in individual units, the association may be held liable for the repairs. This section also outlines the association's responsibility for certain elements like hurricane shutters, impact glass, code-compliant windows or doors, etc., if stipulated as such in the declaration of condominium. Furthermore, if the negligence in maintaining common elements causes damage making the unit uninhabitable, the association might be liable for the consequences. These statutes collectively create a framework under which the associations operate, and deviations from these stipulated responsibilities can lead to legal repercussions. The specific obligations and liabilities may also be influenced by the governing documents of the individual community. Hence, understanding the interplay between the Florida Statutes and the community's governing documents is crucial for both the associations and the unit owners to ensure compliance and address issues related to repairs and maintenance adequately.
Given the intricacies of the legal frameworks and the potential variance in governing documents across different HOA and Condominium Associations, it is highly advisable for individuals facing such issues to hire an attorney experienced in HOA and Condominium litigation to navigate this legal domain effectively.
HOA and Condominium Associations typically carry various insurance policies for different purposes to safeguard both the association and the community against a range of potential issues and liabilities. Here are the typical types of insurance they carry:
- Property and Casualty Insurance: This insurance is carried to protect the general community and association property against insurable events such as hurricanes or fires. It covers damages to common areas or shared structures (e.g., buildings, community pools, clubhouses, sidewalks) caused by events like fires, storms, or vandalism.
- Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance: This insurance, often referred to as Errors and Omissions Insurance, is meant to protect the directors and officers of the association in case they are sued for breaches of fiduciary duty or errors in the commission of their acts as board members. It's designed to cover claims against HOA board members or officers for alleged negligence, mismanagement, or other actions that could be seen as failures in their duties.
- General Liability or Commercial General Liability Insurance: This insurance is to protect the association against negligence claims. These claims can arise from the association's failure to maintain common elements, leading to property damage to unit owners or claims for personal injuries to unit owners and members of the public occurring on association property.
It's crucial to note that the coverage details may vary depending on the specific HOA and COA insurance policy as well as the governing documents of the individual community. Therefore, it's always advisable to review your association's documents and insurance policy to confirm the coverage details and understand the extent of protection provided against different types of claims and liabilities.
We have significant experience dealing with HOA claims, so we are well-prepared to help homeowners with problems involving their HOAs and condominium associations. Some important things to know about our experience are:
- Diverse experience: Our lawyers successfully litigated on behalf of homeowners with many different claims, such as property damage, breaches of fiduciary duty, defamation, and shareholder derivative actions.
- Unique viewpoint: Since our legal team used to represent associations and insurance companies, they have the essential knowledge about how HOAs, condominium associations, and their insurers work. This helps them understand how associations operate, which can be helpful when fighting for homeowners.
- Focusing on homeowners: Our attorneys now only represent homeowners, demonstrating our dedication to protecting homeowners' rights and interests in disagreements with their associations. We have significant experience dealing with HOA claims, so we are well-prepared to help homeowners with problems involving their HOAs and condominium associations.
The type of claim determines the appropriate fee structure for our legal services. Most of our practice focuses on representing homeowners and condominium owners who have experienced property damage due to their association's failure to maintain and repair "common elements" like roofs, windows, water lines and pipes, balconies, and other association property. Generally, we handle these cases on a “contingency” basis, meaning we only get paid if we recover compensation for our clients.
For matters involving rule enforcement, selective enforcement, disputes with association board members, violations of the association's covenants, discrimination, harassment, conflicts between neighbors, or other related issues, we typically work on a refundable retainer basis. This means that our clients pay for the work we do on the case hourly rather than a flat fee. The retainer for each matter is determined based on the projected amount of work requested by the client.
Attorneys specializing in HOA and COA disputes handle conflicts between homeowners and their associations, whether they are homeowners' associations or condominium associations. These disputes can range from minor issues, such as payment of dues, to more complex matters, such as interpreting rules and regulations or enforcing covenants. These attorneys can help to resolve a wide range of issues, including but not limited to violation of association bylaws and regulations, breach of contract, disputes over property boundaries or ownership rights, failure to pay dues or assessments on time, and harassment from other members. Our practice focuses on representing homeowners experiencing property damage due to the association's failure to maintain and repair common elements.
Florida experiences a shortage of law firms that represent homeowners against their associations. While numerous "HOA Attorneys" can be found online, most exclusively represent HOAs. Only a handful of law firms that represent homeowners in disputes with their associations possess the necessary knowledge, skill, and litigation experience to effectively enforce their clients' rights and achieve results. We are one of the few firms with skilled civil litigators and trial attorneys prepared to handle various potential claims. At Perez Mayoral, we help homeowners enforce their rights against their associations by providing top-notch legal representation for all the aforementioned matters. Our dedication to representing homeowners against their associations sets us apart from Florida's other law firms.
Disputes between associations and homeowners can arise due to various issues, such as failure to comply with rules and regulations or disagreements over assessments. In such cases, an attorney specializing in HOA and COA disputes can significantly assist in providing legal advice and resolving disputes. These attorneys can help by reviewing the association's governing documents, researching applicable laws, negotiating settlements, and, if necessary, representing the homeowner in court. With their expertise in association law and dispute resolution strategies, attorneys specializing in HOA and COA disputes are invaluable for resolving conflicts between homeowners and their associations, particularly when it comes to addressing property damage caused by the association's failure to maintain and repair common elements like roofs, water lines and pipes, windows, balconies, and other association property. By working closely with homeowners and utilizing their extensive knowledge of the legal system, these attorneys can help secure fair compensation for damages and ensure that associations are held accountable for their responsibilities to maintain and repair common elements within the community.
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Perez Mayoral, P.A. combines the powerful and diversified services of a large law firm with the personal attention of a boutique practice. Get in touch with us for a consultation? Whatever your legal problem, we will be happy to discuss your options and provide you with the professional help you need.