Our homeowners association includes a beautiful clubhouse with a great recreation room and fitness center. I work until 8:00 p.m. and used to work out in the fitness center after work. I went to the fitness center yesterday and it was closed citing a new “rule” adopted by the Board. I had no idea this was happening, and the Board is refusing to re-institute the old hours. What can be done? – J.G., Bonita Springs
Probably not much. Florida law concerning rules in homeowners associations are generally broken down into two categories: 1) rules concerning what can be done on the owners’ lots; and 2) everything else authorized by the governing documents. If the Board was considering a rule concerning what you can do on your lot such as rules concerning paint colors or fence heights, then the Board must provide at least 14 days’ mailed and posted notice of the Board meeting where that rule would be considered. In this situation, you would have known the Board was considering such a rule.
That being said, rules governing the common areas such as clubhouse hours, are only required to be adopted by the Board after 48 hours’ posted notice. Thus, unless you checked the bulletin board or unless the Board emailed you a notice of the meeting, you may not have known this rule was being considered. Clubhouse hours generally fall within the Board’s discretionary authority, so to change the hours you are going to need to convince the Board to change the hours.
There are other factors that are relevant to the above analysis, so I would recommend you consult a licensed Florida attorney to review the governing documents to determine the extent of the Board’s rule making authority and whether your community covenants require notice and due process above and beyond the statutory requirements.
Steven J. Adamczyk Esq., is a shareholder of the law firm Goede, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. To ask Mr. Adamczyk questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.