Covenants Enforcement

 

Longwood Green is a deed restricted community with binding contractual rules and regulations called "Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions" (CC&Rs) or in short, "Covenants". These Covenants serve as a contract between individual homeowners and the rest of the association members with the explicit purpose to foster and maintain the best possible living environment for the well-being of all homeowners and to protect our property values. In addition, there are community By-laws which outline the responsibilities of the governing body of the HOA which is an elected Board of Directors. The By-laws stipulate the Board of Directors are responsible for enforcing the community Covenants.

The process of enforcing the HOA Covenants varies by the type and magnitude of the violation wherein it should be noted some Covenant violations are also violations of City and/or County code. When violations can be managed by the City or the County, it is standard procedure for the HOA to defer to the City/County to handle resolving the issue. This may include any of the City/County authorities such as the Longwood Police, Code Enforcement, Building Inspector, Permitting Department, Animal Services, etc. Contact with the City/County to address violations may be initiated by our property management company, HOA Board members or any resident of the community. Refer to the Most Common Violations page for a list of typical problems the HOA and/or the City addresses within our community.

Violations that cannot be resolved using City/County resources and require intervention by the HOA are generally categorized as either "fineable" or "non-fineable". An example of a non-fineable violation is parking a vehicle on the community streets during overnight hours. Since vehicles under this circumstance are automatically towed, no further action is required by the HOA.

Fineable offenses are those requiring direct intervention by the HOA to notify the homeowner of the violation and request compliance with the Covenants. The HOA follows an enforcement process which can be initiated from a report of a violation from a Board member, the Community Association Manager (CAM) or any member of the community. This process begins with a First Notice of Violation being sent to the homeowner which specifies the violation, cites the applicable Covenant and provides for the number of days the homeowner has to remedy the violation. If the homeowner does not either remedy the issue or does not contact the HOA with a plan of action to include a request for an extension of time, a fine may be levied. Note only the Board of Directors can grant an extension of time or approve a plan of action submitted by a Homeowner in response to a violation letter. After a specified or agreed upon period of time elapses without homeowner compliance the issue is elevated and details of the case are sent to the Covenants Enforcement Committee (CEC) to review. The CEC will recommend a course of action to the Board which could include fines and/or penalites. The Board reviews the CEC recommendations and can take any number of actions to include: (1) hiring an outside contractor to fix the violation and invoice the homeowner for the associated costs, (2) apply the CEC recommendations as is or (3) take more stringent action than recommended by the CEC. The Board decision will result in a Second Notice of Violation to include the finding of the CEC being mailed to the homeowner.

If the Board had elected to use an outside contractor to resolve the homeowner violation the Second Notice will include the invoice for services rendered, any applicable HOA service fees, and a deadline for the homeowner to pay the invoice. Otherwise, thnotice specifies the violation, cites the applicable Covenant, provides for the number of days homeowner has to remedy the violation and will include the Board approved penalties for continued failure to comply. If the homeowner remedies the issue and it is found to be satisfactory the homeowner's good standing status is restored. Homeowners must pay assessed penalties and/or the submitted invoice per the Second Notice of Violation in order to be restored to good standing status.

After having received the Second Notice of Violation the homeowner may request, in writing, a hearing in front of Board appointed committee. The Board's recommended penalties will be suspended a minimum of 14 days to give the homeowner an opportunity to plead his case at a scheduled hearing as setup by the CAM. Homeowners will be allocated 10 minutes to appeal their case to the hearing committee. The Board will review the case details to include the homeowner's pleadings from the hearing and recommendations from the hearing committee and will make a final determination as to what sanctions, if any, will be applied. There are several options the Board may decide upon:

  • Board may restore homeowner's good standing status if homeowner's pleadings are reasonable and consistent with the spirit of the HOA Covenants. Penalties may be reduced or waived as determined by the Board and as consistent with State statutes.
  • Board may recommend using a private mediator to resolve the dispute between HOA and homeowner.
  • Board may direct HOA attorney to send a Demand Letter specifying that legal action to include fines, etc. is imminent if homeowner does not remedy violation within a specified time period. Attorney costs associated with case review and writing/sending the Demand Letter are the responsibility of the homeowner.
  • Board may direct HOA attorney to place a lien on homeowner's property as a result of cumulative fines.
  • Board may direct HOA attorney to foreclose on homeowner's property as a result of cumulative fines or file a lawsuit to collect fines/assessments and/or to compel homeowner to remedy Covenant violation.

It should be noted that in some cases the homeowner may be required to submit an ARB applicationHomeowners who fail to get prior ARB approval before starting a project requiring such approval will receive a "First Notice" of violation from the HOA. Homeowners who continue to disregard their obligation to submit an ARB application prior to starting a project requiring ARB approval are subject to fines/penalties.

Florida Statute - Chapter 720 - Section 305 provides guidance for assessing homeowners fines for violations that remain unresolved by homeowners.

Florida Statutes stipulate:

  • Reasonable fines of up to $100 per day per incident
  • 14 day notification for unresolved violations prior to fines
  • Opportunity for a homeowner to appear before a Board appointed hearing committee to appeal sanctions
Additional action to be taken by the HOA for failure to comply may include:
  • Lien against the homeowner's property
  • Suit or court injunction
  • Foreclosure of an HOA imposed lien
  • Court action to collect fines
  • Recovery of HOA legal fees as a result of action taken against a homeowner
Working in conjunction with the HOA attorney, and with recommendations from the Covenants Enforcement Committee, the Board approves action towards getting homeowners compliant with the Covenants.