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What are some things that your homeowners association cannot do?

Many factors may motivate you to buy a house located in a homeowners association (HOA). You may like the idea of gaining access to amenities like a clubhouse or having block parties with neighbors. You may appreciate knowing that the value of your Melbourne home is protected by the aesthetic standards that they set. Although there are positives associated with them, there are instances in which an HOA may overstep their rights.

One thing that HOAs cannot do is establish new bylaws or covenants and attempt to enforce them without them being voted on by the board first. The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) document that you sign when you purchase your home should list the procedure for new rules being implemented. An improvement must explicitly be listed as prohibited in order for you be accused of having violated the CC&Rs.

Another factor that goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned is fines. You cannot be assessed a fine for a supposed violation of the CC&Rs unless it is written into your association's rules. Those bylaws should also list the appeals process for challenging any violations of convents.

Your Florida HOA can't ask you to remove your satellite dish. If they were to do so, then this would violate the Federal Communications Commission's Reception Devices Rule. If you see such language in the CC&Rs allowing them to do so, then you should bring it to their attention that it's illegal and an unenforceable rule.

Another thing that your HOA cannot do is discriminate against homeowners in any way that violates the Fair Housing Act (FHA). If the bylaws for the community say anything about prohibiting people of certain races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation and other protected classes from moving into the neighborhood, then it likely violates the FHA.

Oftentimes, CC&Rs will spell out a policy for resolving grievances including you needing to have the matter heard in front of the board or having to resolve differences via arbitration before any lawsuit is filed. An attorney who has credibility, knowledge and experience can review your community's bylaws and advise you of the steps that you may want to take in your legal matter with your HOA.

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