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Florida Condo & HOA Legal Blog News & Updates on Condo & HOA Laws & Legislation in the State of Florida

Category Archives: Discrimination/Fair Housing

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Condominium Board Cannot Wink at House Cats

Posted in Association Documents, Housing for Older Persons (55 and Over), Pets, Rules & Regulations

Question: Our association has a “no pet” policy, going back to the developer’s original bylaws. The board has generally enforced it, but has let a few elderly owners keep “indoor cats,” since they really do not bother anyone. My neighbor recently purchased a large dog which barks constantly, keeping me awake at night. I filed… Continue Reading

Grant Funding Available Now for Wind Mitigation Retrofits for Vulnerable Condominium Community in Florida

Posted in Construction, Housing for Older Persons (55 and Over), Safety and security

FAIR (Florida Association for Insurance Reform) is seeking a low to moderate income condominium community to benefit from a Residential Construction Mitigation Program (RCMP) grant from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.  The $194,000 grant will be used to supplement the cost of wind mitigation improvements that increase community safety and reduce insurance premiums and… Continue Reading

HOA Documents and The “Florida Sober Home Bill”

Posted in Association Documents, Disability, Governing Documents, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: The issue of “sober houses” and other types of group homes has arisen in our community. We would like to know if we can amend our homeowners’ association documents to prohibit such uses? (S.W. by e-mail) Answer: In 2016, the Florida Legislature adopted the “Florida Sober Home Bill,” which creates a new certification for… Continue Reading

Privacy Rights Should Be Guarded

Posted in Association Documents, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Rental

Question: Our declaration of condominium documents give the board the right to approve sales and leases. We have no one on our board that has experience in reviewing application information. A former board member, who is also an attorney, helps us review the information we receive. He makes a recommendation as to whether the application… Continue Reading

Becker & Poliakoff Announces New Condominium & HOA Classes

Posted in Budgets, Reserves & Financial, Construction Issues & Contractual Disputes, Hurricane/Disaster Issues, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

We are committed to sharing our legal knowledge to help others. We do so by offering State-approved educational resources in various forms, including more than two dozen courses, conferences, panel discussions, personal meetings, and webinars that you can conveniently attend from your office or home. With this many available options, it is easy for your… Continue Reading

Are Criminal Background Checks for New Purchasers and Renters in a Community Association Discriminatory?

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing, Rental

This post originally appeared in The Community Association Law Blog. Most community associations screen potential purchasers and potential renters. In fact, when surveyed, many board members state that screening community occupants is one of their primary functions. What is the #1 item that typically presents a red flag on a screening application? If you said… Continue Reading

Service Dog Handlers in Florida Condominium Associations

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Question: We recently received an application from a prospective tenant who is a “service dog handler”. He trains dogs for disabled people. Our condominium documents prohibit tenants from keeping pets. Must we allow him to keep and train dogs while living in the community? N.M. (via e-mail) Answer: Disabled individuals are afforded certain rights and… Continue Reading

Can Senior Housing Communities Allow Underage Residents?

Posted in Housing for Older Persons (55 and Over), Reader Q&A

Question: I live in a 55 and over community and the board of directors for our association is considering a policy that would allow under-aged occupants to live in a community under certain circumstances. Would such a policy threaten the community status as a 55 and over community?  A.E. (via e-mail) Answer: Under the right… Continue Reading

Must Community Associations in Florida Provide Handicapped Parking?

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: In a previous blog you stated that under some circumstances an association may be required to designate a particular parking space for an owner’s use if they were handicapped. What provision of the fair housing laws would require such a designation?  L.K. (via e-mail) Answer: I believe you are referring to my December 4,… Continue Reading

Are Wheelchair Lifts Required For Private HOA Pools?

Posted in Disability, Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: We live in a large gated community of over a thousand homes. Our homeowners’ association’s swimming pool is inaccessible to people with severe disabilities. Is there any way to force our HOA to provide a lift for those that need help to enter the pool?  J.C. (via e-mail) Answer: Under the Americans with Disabilities… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice publishes “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA”.

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing, Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

We often receive inquiries about the Americans’ with Disabilities Act (ADA) vs. the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The ADA is the federal law that allows disabled persons to have a service animal.  The ADA applies to places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, and other businesses or facilities which invite the public or permit public… Continue Reading

Can the Association Board of Directors Limit the Amount of Pets on a Property?

Posted in Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals, Uncategorized

Question: If the restrictive covenants of a H.O.A. in Florida allow for “traditional” household pets to be kept (dogs, for instance)—provided that they are not kept for commercial purposes—does the Association Board of Directors have the authority to adopt rules limiting the NUMBER of dogs kept on a particular property? – R.W. Answer: If the… Continue Reading

Fair Housing Law: U.S. Supreme Court upholds disparate impact claims

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing

Can enforcement of a rule, regulation, practice or procedure that is completely neutral on its face create liability for discrimination?  The U.S. Supreme Court said “yes” today in the case of Texas Dep’t of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project. The Inclusive Communities Project (ICP) claimed that awarding the bulk of low-income… Continue Reading

What is Your Community’s Most Outlandish Emotional Support Animal Request?

Posted in Education, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

I am going to preface this blog post by stating that there are individuals who struggle with emotional disabilities and who can legitimately benefit from the use of an emotional support animal. However, this blog post is not about those people. Unfortunately, those of us who live in shared ownership communities, serve on their boards… Continue Reading

Does The ADA Apply To Condominiums in Florida?

Posted in Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Rental

Question: In a condominium that permits short term rentals, must the property be ADA compliant and who must make these modifications or alterations? J.B. (via e-mail) Answer: This is an extremely complex area of law. Important additional facts would include when the building was constructed, how many units are rented out on a short term… Continue Reading

Can a 55 and Over Community Permit Underage Occupants?

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Housing for Older Persons (55 and Over), Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations

Question: Our documents restrict residents in our community to individuals who are 55 years of age or older. There is a married couple, both of whom are under 55 years of age, that would like to live in our community. We understand that there can be exceptions to the 55 and over requirement as long… Continue Reading

Regulating Vicious Breeds Of Pets Not Uncommon in HOAs

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Question: I am a tenant in a community with a homeowners’ association. The association’s recorded documents say that each home may have no more than two dogs. There are no additional restrictions on size or breed of the two dogs found in the recorded documents. However, the lease application I was asked to complete asks… Continue Reading

Support and Service Animals Present Thorny Legal Issues for Condominiums

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Question: Our condominium building has two guest suites that can be rented by an owner for use by the owner’s overnight guests. Our declaration limits pets to 35 pounds in owners’ units and prohibits animals in the guest suites. We recently had a situation where a guest wanted to bring an emotional support animal into… Continue Reading

Handicap Parking Space Requirements Subject to a Variety of Laws

Posted in Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: How many handicapped parking spaces is our community required to have, where must they be placed and what local, state or federal law governs? J.B. (via e-mail) Answer: The requirements for handicapped parking spaces in any community can vary greatly depending on the age of the community, the type of community, the number of… Continue Reading

Listen live Tuesday – Condo & HOA Issues WLRN 91.3 FM with attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger

Posted in Hurricane/Disaster Issues, Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Community Association attorney and blogger Donna DiMaggio Berger will be the featured guest on WLRN radio show, Topical Currents at 1 pm, Tuesday December 2, 2014.  Donna will be discussing topics that can affect all types of community associations including emotional support and service animal requests, rental and sale restrictions, 55+ communities, material alterations and… Continue Reading

CALL Alert: ADA Tester Lawsuits and Sprinkler Opt Out Votes

Posted in CALL Alert, Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

We have recently been receiving information about some resort-type private communities who are being sued by an ADA Tester who visits these private communities and  claims that he has been denied full and equal access and full and equal enjoyment of the facilities, services, goods and amenities within the community. Since some private communities provide… Continue Reading

Condo or HOA breed restrictions don’t apply in fair housing accommodation requests

Posted in Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

There has been press about a case pending in Miami-Dade County over whether an owner is entitled to keep a dog in his unit as a reasonable accommodation for his disability. Issues concerning service and emotional support animals are highly charged and can result in significant liability for an association. As we have discussed in… Continue Reading