Author Archives: Beanie

TEXAS – Texas Supreme Court:   “…the homeowner did not violate the restrictive covenants …”

Tarr v. Timberwood Park Owners Ass’n, Inc. (Opinion)

         Argued February 6, 2018

Tarr v. Timberwood Park Owners Ass’n, Inc.

Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s decision that a homeowner violated certain restrictive covenants that limit tracts to residential purposes and single-family residents by operating a business on a residential tract and engaging in multi-family, short-term vacation rentals. 

The court of appeals concluded that the rental agreements contracted the residential-purpose limitation because the renters’ stays were merely temporary. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the unambiguous restrictive covenants did not restrict the homeowner from renting his single-family residence to occupants to use his home for a “residential purpose,” no matter how short-lived; and (2) therefore, the homeowner did not violate the restrictive covenants by entering into short-term vacation rental agreements.  Read:

FLORIDA – Fountain Gate Condo owners opposed to proposed $20k special assessment fee

CCFJ.NET:  Fountain Gate Condo owners opposed to proposed $20k special assessment fee
The HOA is securing a loan for a $1.5 million project. To pay back the loan it is imposing a special assessment, approximately $20K per unit, to be paid monthly over seven years.

Article Courtesy of First Coast News
By Kenneth Amaro      

Published August 2, 2018

The Fountain Gate Condominium community was built in the 1980s and now some of the buildings are in need of repair. The wood siding is rotting. Many of the property owners are aware of the need, but there is growing outrage over a special assessment fee to meet that need.

“They feel like we’re being railroaded in this because most of the homeowners are on a limited budget,” said Jody Kilgore, “they’re retired.” 

Kilgore owns a unit, she is also a director on the Homeowners Association Board. But Kilgore is against the current proposal to impose a fee on the owners for repair.

“I think we need to listen to the people’s vote,” she said. 

She acknowledged the need for the repairs but believes the unit owners are being left out of the decision-making process. Read more:

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:

FLORIDA – Botched mold removal causes debilitating illness, lawsuit says

CCFJ.NET:  Botched mold removal causes debilitating illness, lawsuit says
Contractors did not remove dangerous toxins from behind walls, woman says

Article Courtesy of Local 10 News — ABC
By Amy Viteri 

Published July 23, 2018

FORT LAUDERDALE – Annette Davis struggled to understand what was happening to her body.

For some time she had been living with a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome, but she was managing it with medication. Then in 2014, something changed.

“I couldn’t explain it. I just dropped so much weight. I got down to 97 pounds,” Davis said. “I started cracking teeth because I was anemic. I had my hair falling out.” 

The trouble started after February 2014. A water cooling tower on the roof of her condominium building, the Tides at BridgeSide Square in Fort Lauderdale, ruptured and dumped water into the building.

“I just started hearing what sounded like 30 bathtubs at once pouring behind my wall,” Davis said.

Davis got sicker but the cause was a mystery until 2017, when medical tests found toxins in her system that had been caused by fungus. She asked the condo management to test for mold behind the walls of her unit.  “What he found was aspergillus, which is also what was found in my body,” Davis said.  Read more:

FLORIDA – Accused Miami Beach arsonist had serious issues with mold

CCFJ.NET:  Accused Miami Beach arsonist had serious issues with mold
…his motivation: years’ worth of toxic black mold.  The board had moved to foreclose on Stopler’s unit and evict him.

Article Courtesy of Channel 10 Local News
By Glenna Milberg    

Published July 24, 2018

MIAMI BEACH – The first look inside the condo unit where Walter Stopler’s unit in the condominium he is accused of trying to burn down reveals what neighbors say may have been his motivation: years’ worth of toxic black mold. 

He was very frustrated, very frustrated about the mold in his apartment and how this has been going on for at least since 2016, I think,” said Priscilla Suarez, a former condo board member.

Stopler, 72, is in jail with no bond, accused of a plan to stockpile gasoline, incinerate the condominium.

He had seen doctors because of physical symptoms he related to the mold in his apartment. Research shows inhaled mold could be connected to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease.

Miami Beach police officers report Stopler talked about wanting to “kill all the Jews” in the Pavilion condominium, and found Nazi-themed materials in his condo, and in a storage closet he rented, dozens of jugs with gasoline, sulfur powder and potassium nitrate.  Read more:


VIRGINIA – Special Habitat or Covenant Violation? Purcellville Homeowner Sues HOA to keep 2-Acre Meadow

Special Habitat or Covenant Violation? Purcellville Homeowner Sues HOA to Keep 2-Acre Meadow

For more than four years, the Farmington on the Green Homeowners Association in Purcellville has been trying to get resident Mike Pugh to mow his grass. Now the dispute is headed for Circuit Court where a judge will be asked to weigh in.  Pugh has created a two-acre meadow filled with an array of native plants and wildlife in the back section of his 5.6-acre.

The HOA made it clear that if Pugh wanted to sell his home, he would be required to mow the meadow before it approves the transfer. Pugh, however, said that turning the meadow into a lawn would destroy the habitat that shelters deer, foxes, hawks and monarch butterflies. Pugh filed a lawsuit against the HOA in 2014 to preserve the meadow. The case is set for trial in Loudoun Circuit Court on Aug. 1.

“We’re very, very confident of our legal case,” he said.  Read more:

CALIFORNIA – Ex-manager at Sun City retirement complex in Indio pays $125,000 in embezzlement case

DesertSun.Com:  Ex-manager at Sun City retirement complex in Indio pays $125,000 in embezzlement case
Amy Di Pierro
June 26, 2018

The former general manager of an Indio retirement community accused of embezzling money from the development where he once worked paid $125,000 in victim restitution on June 4.

Ceasar Larrach, 47, was an employee of Associa, the for-profit housing management company

contracted to oversee Sun City Shadow Hills. The Indio development includes 3,450 homes for people ages 55 and over.*

The Riverside County District Attorney alleged in a Jan. 19 complaint that Larrach stole about $104,000 from the Sun City Shadow Hills HOA between February 2015 and June 2017.

Larrach initially pled not guilty to three counts of grand theft, including an enhancement for fraud and embezzlement. But he reversed his pleading in May, and signed an agreement pleading guilty to all three of his charges and the enhancement. In addition to being ordered to pay $125,000 restitution, Larrach received a sentence of 36 months probation and 120 days custody, with electronic monitoring.

Kim Fuller, President of Sun City Shadow Hills’ board of directors, said Larrach arrived at the front gate of the community on Monday, June 4 with a cashier’s check for $125,000. Two staff members met him at the gate to receive the check. The staff told Fuller the meeting with Larrach was brief and amicable.

“If you’re asking if there was an apology,” Fuller said, “then no.”

Fuller said the community association is still negotiating with Associa/Desert Resort Management over an estimated $60,000 in costs the community incurred to investigate its financial accounts.  Read:

ARIZONA – Scottsdale man hears one HOA complaint too many. Now he’s fighting back.

AZCENTRAL.COM:  Scottsdale man hears one HOA complaint too many.  Now he’s fighting back.
By Lorraine Longhi
July 24, 2018

A Scottsdale homeowner who says he feels singled out for rule enforcement in his homeowners association is fighting back.

When Sands North Homeowners Association President Sandra Price texted homeowner Sean Bandawat earlier this month and told him to replace a missing gate outside his townhome or face a $2,500 fine, he offered a one-sentence reply:

“My attorney will be in touch — “

When the HOA followed up a day later with a letter to Bandawat saying the gate’s removal constituted an architecture change and required replacement, he kept his promise.

Bandawat’s lawyer wrote a letter to the HOA, saying that several properties in the neighborhood do not display the original wrought-iron gate. Bandawat said the gate leading into a front courtyard area was damaged after movers ran into it and that it would be costly to replace.

“By singling Bandawat out where there are other gates missing as well, the HOA is breaching its duty of care,” Bandawat’s attorney wrote in the letter. “We believe that Mr. Bandawat was racially targeted simply because he is not Caucasian and is of a racial minority.” (Bandawat’s father is from India).

An attorney for the HOA would not comment and has yet to draft a response.

But an attorney who frequently deals with HOA matters says selective enforcement is often difficult to prove.  Read more:

FLORIDA – Oviedo HOA board opposed to Little Free Library resigns after outcry

CCFJ.NET:  Oviedo HOA board opposed to Little Free Library resigns after outcry

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

By Stephen Hudak

Published July 16, 2018

Directors of an Oviedo homeowners association who opposed a Little Free Library in a resident’s yard resigned this week after appointing three replacements, including Autumn Huff Garick, who refused to get rid of the book-sharing nook near her front sidewalk.

“Yeah, the library is saved,” Garick said in a text after the meeting Wednesday.

The fight over the birdhouse-sized book box in Bentley Woods had triggered a heated discussion on social media earlier this year and led some residents of the middle-class neighborhood to question “inconsistent application” of the so-called nuisance clause in the community rules.

About half of the 200-plus households in the community signed a petition Garick carried door-to-door earlier this year that read, “I like the little library on Bentley Street. Please let it stay.”

In a letter to residents last month, community association manager Raymond Shrum defended the volunteer directors and decried “public animosity that … only serves to unfairly disparage neighbors and discourage people from volunteering in essential roles of the community.”

“The board members are not your enemies,” he wrote.

Shrum noted board members had been advised by legal counsel not to discuss the matter of the library.

INDIANA – Homeowner selling home, moving out amid spat with HOA over goldfish in driveway

WKBW.COM:  Homeowner selling home, moving out amid spat with HOA over goldfish in driveway
Carol Hanquier says fish calm her anxiety
By: Kara Kenney
July 17, 2018
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind — A Johnson County, Ind. homeowner is selling her home and moving out amid a spat with the homeowner’s association over goldfish ponds in her driveway.

Carol Hanquier has lived in the Silver Springs neighborhood for 20 years and uses the fish to sooth her anxiety and other health problems.

However, the Silver Springs HOA says the ponds are considered above ground pools and are a violation of the neighborhood’s declaration of covenants and restrictions.

Records show on May 16, the HOA filed a lawsuit against Hanquier, saying she has violated and continues to violate the HOA’s declaration.

The lawsuit says it’s a violation to maintain two large pond structures in the driveway “that are visible from the street, which reasonably tends to detract from or diminish the aesthetic appearance of the real estate and the homes around her lot.”  Read more: