Florida HOA Laws

Florida HOA Laws

Last Updated: June 15, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

In Florida, certain planned communities are governed by a homeowners association (HOA). Their powers and responsibilities vary based on the property type and governing documents.

Who Regulates HOAs in Florida?

In Florida, HOAs are regulated by the Florida Homeowners Association Act found in Title 40 Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. This act applies to all corporations responsible for community areas and membership is made up of parcel owners or their agents.

HOAs traditionally have documents that regulate themselves. Every HOA is different, however, the governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules.

HOAs in Florida may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:

HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:

How to Find HOA Regulations in Florida

The documents governing an HOA are not available to the public in Florida. HOA governing documents are only available upon request by members and must be recorded in the official records of the county to be enforced.

HOA records filed with the Florida Secretary of State are accessible to anyone online and include the creation of an HOA, annual reports, financial statements, and dissolution of an HOA.

HOA Powers in Florida

In Florida, an HOA has the power to:

  • Regulate common areas
  • Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
  • Collect payments for common assessments
  • Levy reasonable fines
  • Foreclose on a house for unpaid liens

Additionally, HOA governing documents can grant further powers such as restrictions on membership, exterior paint colors, fencing, and parking requirements.

Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Florida?

In Florida, HOAs can impose fines on a homeowner for violating its rules. Charges can be added due to late payment of assessments and other late fees.

Before a fine can be imposed, HOAs must give homeowners notice of at least 14 days and an opportunity to be heard. Fines cannot be more than $100 per violation and cannot exceed a total of $1,000 unless otherwise stated in the governing documents.

An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:

  • Displaying the American flag, State of Florida flag, or any military branch flag so long as the flag is displayed in a manner consistent with federal flag display law
  • Incorporating water conversion, quality protection, and restoration measures
  • Incorporating “Florida-friendly landscaping”
  • Installing a flagpole for the display of the American flag, the State of Florida flag, or any military branch flag
  • Installing satellite dishes and antennas
  • Installing renewable energy devices
  • Hanging clotheslines

The governing documents of an HOA may include reasonable rules and regulations about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above.

Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Florida?

In Florida, an HOA has the power to foreclose on a home within its community. The process includes an HOA placing a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If a lien goes unresolved, the HOA can foreclose on the house.

Before bringing an action for foreclosure, the HOA must provide a 45 day written notice or demand of the total amount due. If the amount is still not paid after this time, the foreclosure process can begin.

Evicting homeowners is not within the power of the HOA. However, if the homeowner is leasing a tenant, the HOA can evict the tenant for unpaid HOA fees and place a lien on the property. In addition, the HOA may have other powers regarding rental properties in its governing documents.

Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Florida?

In Florida, there is no provision that allows an HOA to enter a homeowner’s property. The governing documents will most likely contain provisions for HOAs entering a homeowner’s property as reasonably necessary to maintain units, common elements, or shared utilities.

Units are private spaces only intended for the property owner’s use but have certain spaces that require maintenance by the HOA, such as balconies. Common elements are the shared spaces around the units owned by the HOA, such as elevators. Shared utilities may include water or trash removal directly provided by the HOA.

Except in the case of an emergency, the HOA must generally give prior notice before entering the property. Usually, an HOA will give 1-2 weeks’ notice, but the timeline of the notice is ultimately determined by the governing documents.

Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Florida?

The venue for filing a Complaint against an HOA in Florida depends on the complaint.

For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.

If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Florida state or federal court.

Otherwise, a homeowner with any other complaints can bring a claim in state court in the appropriate county.

Joining and Leaving an HOA in Florida

In Florida, if a person purchases a home in a neighborhood with a preexisting HOA, they are required to join and abide by the HOA rules. The homeowner should be presented with a disclosure summary explaining HOA membership and rules at the closing of the home purchase.

To leave a mandatory HOA, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the HOA to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve an HOA in Florida

The dissolution process of an HOA in Florida may be found in the HOA’s governing documents. If not listed, a majority vote by members of the HOA at a meeting is required to move forward with the dissolution.

If enough votes for dissolution are tallied, the HOA must file the Articles of Dissolution with the Florida Secretary of State. The HOA is considered dissolved upon the effective date listed in the Articles of Dissolution. Subsequently, the HOA must dispose of any assets or debts belonging to them.