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Your HOA just lost a lot of powers in SWFL; here's what it means for you

A new state law limits the powers your HOA has now.
Aerial view of a dock lined canal in Cape Coral.
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 08, 2024

Guess what? Your HOA can’t tell you ‘No’ nearly as often as in the past.

You read that right. A new law, which went into effect on July 1st, limits a homeowner’s association’s powers when it comes to things like parking, trash bins and holiday decorations.

As one of FOX 4's Senior Reporters, I've covered a lot of housing, home pricing, home insurance, and other stories impacting homeowners throughout Southwest Florida, so I was very curious to see what this new law outlined for homeowners, moving forward.

Click below to get briefed by Ryan on changes to your HOA:

Your HOA just lost a lot of powers! Here's what it means for you

Nearly half of Florida residents, almost 10 million people, live in community’s governed by Homeowner’s Associations, or HOAs.

Fines, Suspensions, and Liens

Associations must have a hearing before a committee to review a fine or suspension issued by the board, and the bill:

  • Requires the 14-day notice of the parcel owner’s right to a hearing to be in writing;
  • Requires the hearing to be held within 90 days of the notice of hearing;
  • Allows the committee to hold the hearing by telephone or other electronic means;
  • Requires written findings related to the violation to be provided within seven days of the hearing, the date the fine must be paid or the suspension fulfilled;
  • Requires the date by which the fine must be paid to be at least 30 days after delivery of the written notice of the committee’s decision; or
  • Prohibits attorney fees and costs based on actions taken by the board before the date set for the fine to be paid;
  • Allows that, if a violation and the proposed fine or suspension is not cured or the fine is not paid, reasonable attorney fees and costs may be awarded to the association, but may not begin to accrue until after the payment date of the fine or the appeal time has expired.

The bill prohibits homeowners’ associations from issuing a fine or suspension for:

  • Leaving garbage receptacles at the curb or end of the driveway less than 24 hours before or after the designated garbage collection day or time.
  • Leaving holiday decorations or lights up longer than indicated in the governing documents, unless such decorations or lights are left up for longer than one week after the association provides written notice of the violation to the parcel owner.

The bill also provides that homeowners’ associations may not prohibit a homeowner or others from parking:

  • A personal vehicle, including a pickup truck, in the property owner’s driveway or in any other area where they have a right to park.
  • A work vehicle, which is not a commercial motor vehicle, in the property owner’s driveway.
  • Their assigned first responder vehicle on public roads or rights-of-way within the homeowners’ association.

In addition, the governing documents may not prohibit a property owner from:

  • Inviting, hiring, or allowing entry to a contractor or worker on the owner’s parcel solely because the contractor or worker is not on a preferred vendor list of the homeowners’ association or does not have a professional or occupational license.
  • Operating a vehicle in conformance with state traffic laws, on public roads or rights-of-way or the property owner’s parcel, unless the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle.