Saturday, July 17, 2010

Florida HOA threatens $100 a day fine for unapproved shade of mulch

Lynn of Davie couldn’t believe her eyes, but a letter from her homeowners association confirmed the worst: She faces a potential $100-a-day fine for having the wrong-colored mulch in front of her house.

Lynn tells me that her problems began when the Association made it known it was displeased that home’s mulch had thinned out too much and needed replacing. To appease the board, Lynn and her husband added new match, but apparently the golden shade of mulch the couple chose was not in accordance with what the Association wants. Thus the ultimatum: Put in new mulch or pay $100 a day until you do.


As the owner of this blog has noted, there seems to be no limit to how frivolous HOAs can be.


Shu Bartholomew said...

At least two states have found that fining by an HOA or condo is uncontitutional. Both cases are available on my web page

A couple of my favorite quotes from the Gillman case:

[4] “The imposition of a fine is a governmental power. The sovereign cannot be preempted of this power, and the power cannot be delegated or exercised other than in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutions of the United States and of Virginia. Neither can a fine be imposed disguised as an assessment.”


“The mischief that could be wrought if it were constitutionally permissible for a condominium association to levy fines on and exact penalties of unit owners is dramatically illustrated by this case.”

The other case, Foley, is a RI case where the courts, on remand from the Supreme Court, found that the statute allowing fines was an unconstitutional delegation of a police power.

It is absurd to allow associations to fine their members. Any sane state legislature should enact legislation prohibiting associations from fining their members.

Ironically it will be the industry (CAI) attorneys who will be crying the loudest if such laws were enacted.

It makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

Beth said...

The sad thing about this fine in Florida is that 2004 reforms made fining illegal, and a 2010 new law (pushed through by HOA law firms/lobbyists) put the fines right back.