Enforcing Government Documents
by Candice J. Gundel, Esq.
Many of us choose to live in planned communities, whether it is a Homeowner or Condominium Association, because we value the benefits and security provided by the governing documents. However, with these benefits comes the responsibility of adhering to the guidelines established in the governing documents and Florida Statute. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to ensure that the governing documents in your community are being enforced in a uniform manner. This job can be extraordinarily difficult and thankless, that is why there are professionals such as managers, accountants and attorneys to help.
What happens when a homeowner doesn’t follow the guidelines or pay assessments? Your community must have a strategy in place to make sure the guidelines are being uniformly enforced in the best interest of the neighborhood. Your association’s team of professionals should work together to resolve all issues the community is facing. Failure to enforce the governing documents may prevent the association from enforcing the regulations in the future and potentially expose the association to liability for arbitrary and capricious enforcement.
Each community association has different regulations which, together with Florida Statutes, dictate what remedies are available to enforce the governing documents. Before initiating any enforcement action you should consult with your professional manager and attorney.
REMINDER: It is crucial that your association’s collections counsel is apprised of any changes to your budget, assessment amounts, special assessments, and other financial information related to the collection of delinquent assessments to ensure timely and uniform enforcement.