Florida has an Office of the Condominium Ombudsman that handles homeowner complaints against HOAs. It is not uncommon for such issues to arise, especially regarding “fine print” matters that might be overlooked if written policies are not carefully reviewed. An interesting HOA dispute is unfolding in another state.
The dispute involves a mother whose young adult daughter suffered brain damage following a hit-and-run collision. After being struck by a vehicle, the accident victim was no longer able to speak or walk. She spends most of her time in a wheelchair, and her doctor recommended horticulture therapy, which prompted her mother to build a rock garden and small fountain in their yard.
The HOA began charging the woman $25 per day
The HOA in the woman’s community sent a cease-and-desist notice, claiming the garden violated HOA policies because the woman had not sought approval before installing it. The woman immediately filled out the proper application for approval, stating that she had not been aware of her oversight. The HOA denied her application and began charging her $25 per day for every day the garden remained in the woman’s yard, which is located in Georgia.
The community association also filed a $25,000 lawsuit against the homeowner, who says she is disheartened that the HOA would treat her this way simply because she made a beautiful rock garden as the doctor recommended for her daughter’s well-being. Emotions often run high in HOA disputes like this. Anyone in Florida facing similar legal problems may want to seek support from an attorney who has real estate law experience.