[mc4wp_form id="5389"]

Community Update

August 2023

In this Issue

Hurricane Idalia is reported to be the worst hurricane to make landfall in Florida’s Big Bend in 100 years. Our hearts are with everyone affected and we are always here to help. Our website contains a significant amount of educational information for your community. Should your property incur damage, the firm’s affiliated public adjusting company, Association Adjusting, can provide an assessment of any property damage quickly and free of charge. Don’t miss the Take It To The Board podcast episode, Surviving the Storm, where Joseph Adams sits down with host Donna DiMaggio Berger to discuss his terrifying first-hand experience riding out Hurricane Ian. Joe shares valuable insights about the challenges that may lie ahead for community associations post storm.

If you are living in a homeowners association, you probably know that the Association cannot prohibit the installation of solar panels (or “solar collectors”). But what about a request to install such devices on the roof of a condominium? Michael O. Dermody has the answers in, “Can Anything Be Done About Solar Panels?

Failing to preserve your homeowners’ association covenants may have severe consequences. “Keeping Your HOA’s Covenants Alive,” by Joseph Arena, discusses how the Marketable Record Title Act (“MRTA”) can adversely impact your community.

The Housing for Older Persons Act (“HOPA”) was created in 1995, exempting senior housing from familial status discrimination. Community associations must comply with certain requirements to avail themselves of this exception. Marty Platts explains these requirements in “Housing For Older Persons.”

All too often, community association leaders do not consult with counsel when adopting and amending rules and regulations. Jay Roberts emphasizes this expensive lesson in, “THIS CASE: Lexington Place Condominium Association, Inc. v. Flint.

If you have new members on your board or a new manager for your community and want them to be part of our Community Update, have them subscribe here:


Mark D. Friedman, Esq.
Mark D. Friedman, Esq.
Jay Roberts, Esq.
Jay Roberts, Esq.



Can Anything Be Done About Solar Panels?

By: Michael O. Dermody

If you are living in a homeowners association you probably know that the Association cannot prohibit the installation of solar panels (or “solar collectors”). But what about a request to install such devices on the roof of a condominium? Section 163.04, Florida Statutes, provides: A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement.  

Click here to read more!


Keeping Your HOA’s Covenants Alive

By: Joseph Arena

The Marketable Record Title Act’s (MRTA) purpose is to extinguish old interests and use restrictions on lands and to allow for land sales to be completed more easily and with less expense. Unfortunately, aged homeowners’ association covenants are amongst the interests that can be extinguished by MRTA, and preventing such extinguishment is a very important responsibility for homeowners’ association directors.

Click here to read more!


Housing For Older Persons

By: Marty Platts

In 1968 the Federal Fair Housing Act (also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act) was enacted to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Subsequently, in 1988 the Act was amended to add discrimination based on disability and family status and in 1995 the Housing for Older Persons Act (“HOPA”) was created, exempting senior housing from familial status discrimination. 

Click here to read more!


Lexington Place Condominium Association, Inc. v. Flint
348 So.3d 650 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022)

By: Jay Roberts, Esq.

Inferable rights and the limits on board-made rules are front and center in THIS CASE. All community association restrictions have limits. The conjunctive legal test for a valid Board-made rule is:

    1. The board must be granted rule-making authority;
    2. The rule cannot conflict with any right or restriction contained within the covenants, nor any right which inferable therefrom; and
    3. The rule must be reasonable and not discriminatory.

Beachwood Villas v. Poor, 448 So.2d 1143 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994).

The Lexington Place Declaration of Condominium provided:

Section 17.4 of the Declaration states:

17.4 Pets. No more than two (2) housed pets (as may be defined and re-defined by the Association) shall be maintained in any Unit or and Limited Common Element appurtenant thereto.

The Board adopted the following rule:


Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 17.4 of the Declaration of Condominium of Lexington Place Condominium Association, Inc. Tenant(s) or Occupant(s) are not permitted to maintain household pets in a Unit. Section 17.4 of the Declaration of Condominium permits “Unit Owners” to maintain pets within a Unit, and subjects only ‘Unit Owners” for the fines and penalties for violations of Section 17.4.

Any pets residing in units with a Tenant(s) or an Occupant(s) at the time and date these rules are adopted, are considered “grandfathered” and not subject to the Pet restrictions herein. Existing pets are grandfathered in as to that specific pet. The right to a pet is not grandfathered. If the specific pet ceases living, a new pet is not permitted.

Inferable from Section 17.4 of the Declaration of Condominium is that two pets are allowed to be maintained in a Unit, no matter whether the occupant is an owner or a tenant. The Court held that this rule was an invalid attempt to amend Section 17.4 of the Declaration.

So why does THIS CASE matter? All too often community association leaders do not consult with counsel when adopting and amending rules and regulations. The results of failing to do so can be expensive lessons learned and cause strife in the community. Always take the time to have your association’s counsel review and comment on proposed rules and regulations prior to adoption of same.



Q: Is a homeowners’ association permitted to adopt amendments changing the leasing rights of owners in the community? I was recently told that the statute was changed, and rental restriction amendments are no longer permitted. Is this correct?

Joseph Adams discusses this and more!


Association Adjusting

If your property has incurred damage from Hurricane Idalia, the firm’s affiliated public adjusting company, Association Adjusting, can provide an assessment of your property damage free of charge. Watch the video below that provides more information on what an insurance adjuster does, and what to do when an insurance company won’t pay enough. Call Association Adjusting at 844-394-2518.

Click here to learn more.


Community association boards and managers should ensure that their communities have adequate disaster planning measures in place as hurricane season approaches. To help you in weathering the storm, check out Becker’s Hurricane Guide which provides important tips and information to help protect your community.


For more information, contact your Becker attorney.


As leaders in Community Association Law, we not only helped write the law – we also teach it.

Did you know Becker provides over 200 educational classes per year throughout the State of Florida on a variety of topics ranging from board member certification to compliance, and everything in between? Our most popular classes are now available online!

To view our entire class roster, visit: beckerlawyers.com/classes


  • Top 10 Manager Do’s and Don’ts
    09/13/23 – 11:00AM – Registration Coming Soon
  • The Ins and Outs of Florida’s New Condominium & Cooperative Safety Law
    09/20/23 – 11:00AM – Registration Coming Soon
  • Turnover from Developer Control
    09/21/23 – 1:00PM – Registration Coming Soon
  • Disaster Preparedness & Recovery: Are you Ready to Weather The Storm?
    09/26/23 – 11:00AM – Registration Coming Soon


“Becker has been a wonderful partner for the HOA that I support in the role of President of the Board of Directors. We receive professional support that provides not only expert legal advice, but advice that mixes real-life and common sense along with it. The class I recently attended on the topic of Dealing with Difficult people was very worthwhile, and interestingly presented in the form of a conversation between two wonderful Becker attorneys. Nice touch!”

~ Robyn Barillari, Highland Grove Estates Homeowners Association, Inc.

Can They Do That?

Becker’s “Can They Do That” video series tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer your questions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. From service animals to nudists in your community, we get to the bottom of it and let you know – “Can They Do That?”

Catch up on past episodes from this series here.



Becker Steps Up to the Mic with Podcast,
‘Take It To The Board with Donna DiMaggio Berger’

Think you know what community association life is all about? Think again. Residents must obey the rules, directors must follow the law, and managers must keep it all running smoothly. Take It To the Board explores the reality of life in a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association, what’s really involved in serving on its board, and how to maintain that ever-so-delicate balance of being legally compliant and community spirited. Leading community association attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger acknowledges the balancing act without losing her sense of humor as she talks with a variety of association leaders, experts, and vendors about the challenges and benefits of the community association lifestyle. Don’t have a streaming app? You can now find all episodes on YouTube! Click here to listen now.


Click here to visit “Take It to the Board”


What would you do if you found yourself in the eye of a devastating hurricane? This week, our guest and Becker Shareholder, Joseph E. Adams, sits down with Donna DiMaggio Berger and relives this very question when he rode out Hurricane Ian in his home on Fort Myers Beach. In this gripping episode, Joe shares his harrowing experience and provides valuable insights into preparing for and recovering from such catastrophic events. Listen to the full episode here.


Featured Episode: We’re Having a Heat Wave – The Physical and Mental Impacts from Extreme Heat and What Your Community Should Do with Dr. Jason Mansour, Medical Director at Broward Health Medical Center’s Emergency Department

Brace yourself for a deep dive into the hot issues surrounding extreme summer heat with host, Donna DiMaggio Berger, and guest Dr. Jason Mansour, Medical Director at Broward Health Medical Center’s Emergency Department. Together, they discuss the physical and mental impact of extreme heat events. This isn’t just another conversation about the weather – it’s a critical exploration of an increasingly dangerous global phenomenon and how community association boards can prepare and protect their residents, employees, vendors, and guests.

Listen to the full episode here.


FCAP Managers Report
By: Nicolas M. Jimenez

So, your community association received correspondence that requests answers to certain questions. You may have just received what is also referred to as a “written inquiry.” What to do?

First and foremost, you should always ensure that the Board of Directors and legal counsel of your community association are promptly advised of the receipt of a written inquiry. As explained in this article, receipt of a written inquiry can trigger time sensitive legal obligations that can expose the community association to penalties.


Click here to read more.


By: Mary R. Hawk

Upon my weekly visit to Publix supermarket recently, I was met with very large signs stating: “No Pets Allowed. This Includes Emotional Support Animals.”

Well, technically, emotional support animals are not “pets,” but I get what Publix is trying to do. Animals and food just don’t mix. They are cracking down on animals being brought into the store that are not bona fide service animals. Service animals are specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Service animals differ from emotional support animals or comfort “pets,” which have no specific training and offer only emotional support.

Click here to read more.


We appreciate your feedback! Thank you to Jonathan for responding to our survey and congratulations on winning a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

We want to hear from you! Give us your feedback on an online program and one lucky winner will be selected each month. View our full online class library here.



2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America Recognizes 34 Becker Attorneys

The 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, one of the oldest and most revered peer review publications, recognizes 34 Becker attorneys across the Firm’s practices. Our own Steven B. Lesser, was also recognized as Lawyer of the Year, a distinction based on the highest overall peer feedback for their specialty and location. Lesser was selected for Construction Law and Litigation in Fort Lauderdale.

Click here to read more.