Florida – A $2,000 HOA fine for a small infraction? Is that right?

FLORIDATODAY.COM:  A $2,000 HOA fine for small infraction? Is that right?
Ryan Poliakoff
July 28, 2018
QUESTION: A neighbor in our “over 55 community” has been charged $2000 by our “infraction committee.” They had added small “fenced doggie area” in their back yard, without getting prior approval from the architectural committee. They were declared in violation of exceeding their “home footprint area”. The neighbor has removed the “fenced doggie area”. The “infraction committee chairman” has refused to rescind the $2000 violation fee. The neighbor has offered to pay with monthly installments. The “infraction committee chairman” has refused to accept this method and has demanded immediate payment. The neighbor is trying to decide whether or not to hire a lawyer. What would you do in this situation?
Poliakoff: The laws governing fining in an HOA are very precise, and so there are a few variables that your neighbor can check to determine whether or not the fine was properly applied. First, and at a very basic level, the statute provides that the maximum fine is $100 per incident, up to $1,000 in the aggregate, unless the governing documents provide that there is no aggregate dollar limit (this is different from the Condo Act, which provides that no collective fine may exceed $1,000, period). So, the first thing I would check is whether your declaration or bylaws allow for fines of greater than $1,000.   Read more:

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