Condo owners, homeowners and co-op owners in Florida all have the right to the quiet use and enjoyment of their homes.
How many of you hosted a party or attended a party this Holiday Weekend? Probably a good majority of you did. There may have been music, loud guests and maybe even some fireworks. For those of you that didn’t do either, were you affected by those that did? Did any of you have to call security about noise complaints or guests parking in your spots?
All of these questions have to do with an owner’s right to quiet use and enjoyment. As a Florida Condo Owner, Homeowner or Co-op Owner you all have the right to the quiet use and enjoyment of your home. Does that mean you should immediately call security or even the police if somebody else is making noise? Remember that most of us living in South Florida reside in a community run by an Association. Obviously Condominiums are the most extreme because we are all stacked up on top of one another. But even single family homes in planned communities face these issues. Most single family homes are built on zero lot lines putting us on top of our neighbors. The point is whether you live in a high rise condominium building, townhouse or single family home, unless you live out in the woods, you need to be considerate of your neighbors and tolerant.
The right to quiet use and enjoyment can involve many different things. I have represented condo owners in Aventura Florida that were affected by the “clickety clack” of the owners above them because the Association was selectively enforcing a rule that required special sound proofing for owners desiring to install wood or marble flooring in high rise buildings. I resolved a claim against a Hollywood Florida Condo Association because the rooftop generator was not properly insulated and was making so much noise that the residents could not sleep at night. I represented a townhouse owner in Boca Raton and brought a claim against the Homeowners’ Association claiming they failed to maintain the common elements after a townhouse sale was approved to a young college student who proceeded to have parties every night with loud college students in a quiet residential community. The problem was that the Association did not do all it could to stop the college parties from going on after hours. The Association needed to bring the offending owner to grievence and file for injunctive relief if that was not successful. Ultimately the Assocation forced the offending owners to sell but not before compensating my client for her inconvenience and reimbursing her for my attorney’s fees and expenses.
Since we have just finished a holiday weekend I chose to write about loud parties. If you are having a party with many guests direct them where to park or arrange ahead of time for valet parking. Nobody wants to come home from a long day at work and find cars parked on their lawn or in their assigned parking space. Likewise, if you are the one affected, don’t call security after the first problem. Try talking with your neighbors instead.
One of the best examples I can give you is this. I live in a community of single family homes. Our community is on the water so land is at a premium. Most homes are large but on zero lot lines so when you are in your back yard you can hear others nearby. One day we all received a letter that was placed in our mailboxes. It was from 2 teenage brothers who live around the corner. They advised they were graduating high school and were planning on having a party. They wrote that they were inviting friends over and would be playing music and that it might get loud. They invited any of us to let them know ahead of time if that would be a problem or, if things got too loud during the party, to simply give them a call and let them know rather than calling security or the police. They indicated that there would just be a bunch of high school kids letting off some steam after a long school year. That night I let my dogs out a little after midnight and I heard their party. There was loud music like they had warned and I could hear young teenagers acting in a very loud and boisterous manner. If I had not been warned ahead of time I would have said to myself that they were being rude and inconsiderate. Because of their letter, however, I simply smiled and said to myself how nice it must be to be a teenager. In fact, the party went off without anybody complaining despite the fact that it was very loud and went on well after midnight on a tuesday night.
We can all take a lesson from these 2 teenage boys. We need to be considerate of our neighbors but also tolerant of each other. If you can’t then you should not live in a condominium or planned community. Get a cabin out in the woods were you won’t bother anybody and nobody will bother you.
If you have been considerate and tolerant of your neighbors and despite this they continue to interfere with your right to quiet use and enjoyment and your association has failed to get them to correct the problem then you need to consult with a Florida Condo Lawyer that specializes in representing owners. There are many attorneys in Florida that specialize in condo law but most of them represent Associations and will only take your case if there is no conflict of interest with the Associations they represent. Wouldn’t you rather hire an experienced Trial Attorney that specializes in represnting owners?
The Law Offices of Herb M. Milgrim, P.A, is a Florida Law Firm that specializes in representing Homeowners, Condo Owners and Co-op Owners that have disputes or are contemplating Litigation or a Lawsuit against their Association. We provide prospective clients with a Free Case Evaluation. Once we have been retained we review all of the relevant documents and governing Florida Laws and advise our clients on the best course of action.
Remember that the Associations keep expensive Law Firms on retainer using your money. Before you try and fight the Association you should contact us to get a free case evaluation. Call us now at 954-966-3900.
In deciding whether to file a lawsuit against your Condominium Association or Homeowner’s Association, one of the most powerful claims that can be raised is the Association’s failure to maintain the common elements.
For Condominium Associations governed by Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes, Section 718.113(1) provides in material part the following: “Maintenance of the common elements is the responsibility of the association.” For Homeowner’s Associations governed by Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, Section 720.303(1) also provides that maintenance of the common elements is the responsibility of the association.
Neither Condo Owners or Homeowners are required to arbitrate their claim of failure to maintain the common elements. Condo Owners do not have to go through any type of Alternative Dispute Resolution if their claim is based upon the Association’s failure to maintain the common elements. They may proceed directly with the filing of a lawsuit in the appropriate State Court in the County where the Association is located. Note: Homeowners governed by Chapter 720 must first comply with the Presuit Demand for Mandatory Non-binding Mediation before filing suit otherwise they may forfeit the right to claim attorney’s fees and costs.
Many Associations have provisions in the Governing Documents defining the Common Elements and making the Association responsible for maintaining them. Usually these provisions are found in the Association’s Declaration. Although each Association may have different provisions, the majority of Condo Associations declare that everything beyond the drywall of the individual units is deemed to be common elements. Some of the typical common elements include, the roof of the building; pipes, wires, conduits, or other public utility lines running through the individual unit which serve more than one unit. Some associations require the Condo owner to maintain the plumbing and electrical that is inside their unit- some do not. It is important for a condo owner to have an experienced Florida Condominium Lawyer review the documents to determine whether the issue concerns the common elements as they are defined in the Governing Documents or if the Condo Owner is responsible for maintaining the condition at issue.
Some of the significant types of claims concerning the Association’s failure to maintain the common elements include water damage from roof leaks, mold damage, fire from faulty electrical, noise complaints from roof top generators, inadequate water cooling towers causing unit owner air conditioning to malfunction, and of course there are the obvious claims like a resident or guest being injured due to inadequate security or a dangerous condition in the common areas of the building. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to an Association’s failure to maintain the common elements and want more information about getting an experienced Florida Trial Attorney to take your case on a contingency basis please click here. (be sure to click one of the links on the upper right of this page to suscribe to this feed so that you don’t miss part 2 of this article or any future articles)