Facts

The defendant, Lennar Homes developed Martinique at Oasis, a residential community located in Homestead, Florida comprised of 241 homes.  Lennar Homes sold each of the homes in the community to individual homeowners.  Each of the purchase agreements between Lennar Homes and the homeowners contained an arbitration provision, which required the parties to submit any dispute arising out of the sale of the property, including any alleged property damage, to arbitration.  About five years after the first homes were sold, the plaintiff, the Homeowners Association, began noticing potential construction defects in the stucco, stone cladding, and decorative shapes on the exterior of the buildings.  The Association sued Lennar Homes in Florida trial court on behalf of all unit owners in Martinique at Oasis, alleging the issues were caused by defective construction.
Continue Reading Homeowner’s Associations Suing on Behalf of Homeowners Must Abide by Arbitration Provisions

Facts

The parties to this suit both reside in a condominium association.  Each party owns a unit, and each has parking spaces.  The dispute is over the fact that when the Grudziecki parks their car in their parking spot, even within the lines, it is difficult, if not impossible, to access the ramp to the garage entrance and elevator area from the left side.  As a practical matter, unit owners who wish to access the elevator area must walk to the right side of the ramp when Grudziecki is parked there.  The Greenbergs, whose parking spaces are directly across from Grudziecki’s spot, wanted the court to order that that Grudziecki pull the car forward or move farther toward the left side of the parking space so that they could enter the elevator area from the left side, instead of being “forced to walk around the right side of the ramp, which is farther away from their parking spaces.”  Mrs. Greenberg is disabled and requires the use of a walker and entering from the left would save Mrs. Greenberg a few steps.  When the matter could not be resolved, the Greenbergs filed suit.
Continue Reading Just Because a Resident Has a Disability, an Accommodation May Not Be Reasonable

Facts

The plaintiff, Jody Goldstein, was beaten and robbed, resulting in serious, permanent injuries while staying as a guest at the Chateau Orleans, a combination hotel, timeshare, and condominium facility located in the French Quarter in New Orleans.  The defendant, Leisure Management, Ltd. maintained and operated the Chateau.  Upon arriving at the Chateau, the plaintiff informed management that there was a large crack in the center of the door to his unit.  The manager on duty told Mr. Goldstein that the door would be replaced, but it never was.  Further, there were no staff members or security personnel present at the Chateau at the time of the break-in.  The only security measures the management company had in place were cameras, a gate to access the property, and spike-topped gates around the Chateau.
Continue Reading Managers of Condominiums Who Know or Should Know of Security or Safety Concerns May be Required to Engage in Enhanced Security Measures

Facts

Defendant, Leisure World Community Association (“Association”), consists of nearly two dozen single-family platted communities.  One of those is the Plat 24 community.  “Each community is governed by its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).  Plat 24’s original CC&Rs required that at least three-quarters of Plat 24 record owners approve any amendments to the CC&Rs.  The Watson Trust (“Trust”) owned a unit in Plat 24.

In 2013, the Association recorded the “2013 Consolidated Declaration,” which allegedly only restated the declarations of the other platted communities served by the Association.  In actuality, it did more than just restate.  In 2014, the Association recorded an Amendment to the Declarations of CC&Rs (“2014 Amendment”), “which modified the voting requirements of every platted community…. the Association received permission from 47 of 54 units in Plat 24.”  In February 2017, the Trust demanded the release of the Consolidated Declaration and the 2014 Amendment alleging they were invalid because they were improperly adopted contrary to the applicable statute.  The Association refused to release them.  Shortly thereafter, the Trust filed a complaint seeking to quiet title and, under a statute “governing the recording of or failure to release documents asserting invalid claims of interest in real property,” seeking other damages.
Continue Reading Recording Invalid Documents Gets VERY Expensive

Attorney Lydia Chartre recently shared her expertise on a variety of topics with readers of www.HOAleader.com, a resource for HOA and condo board members nationwide.  To read the full articles, click the links below:

Facts

Owner sought records from a Michigan association (the “Association:”).  The Association refused to produce records presumably on the grounds that the requests were long, difficult to follow and failed to state a proper purpose.  The requests, clarified in the complaint, consisted of the following:

  1. Bills or invoices showing the cost of past litigation;
  2. Records relating to orders for wrist bands for access to the pool;
  3. Work orders or invoices for light bulb replacements in Owner’s building;
  4. Board minutes from April 2019 until September 2019;
  5. Records relating to when Owner’s checks from approximately June 2019 through September 2019 were received by the Association and posted to Owner’s account;
  6. Board minutes for 2018; and
  7. Financial statements for 2017 and 2018.

The Association largely ignored the Owner’s requests, which led to the Owner suing the Association.
Continue Reading Record Requests – Even if Lengthy and Difficult to Follow, They Need to Be Produced if Sought for a Proper Purpose

In a 2020 survey by The Foundation of Community Association Research, 80% of respondents encountered unexpected and unplanned-for infrastructure issues in the last three years.  Reserve Advisors and our Dan Miske discuss aging infrastructure, the role of the reserve study, and when to consider an independent structural analysis. They will review the liabilities of the

Facts

This case involved a dispute between the owner/operator of a golf course and the owners of adjacent property in a residential community.  Originally all the land was owned by one entity, that then sold lots overlooking the golf course at a premium.  The deed for the property in the residential community described the property by reference to the lot and the recorded subdivision plat that included a map of the subdivision depicting a golf course.  The plat map was recorded with the county.  The developer later transferred the golf course to another entity.  The purchaser, CE, was losing money on the golf course and proposed to develop the land.  The adjacent property owners sued.  The property owners and CE filed cross motions for summary judgment.
Continue Reading Implied Easements – Can You Prohibit a Neighboring Property Owner from Changing the Use of its Property?

Thank you to all who attended our virtual Association Academy on September 17 – If it Weren’t for the People, Association Living Would be Perfect.  No need to worry if you missed it, we recorded it for you, and you can access at any time.

To access the recording click HERE. We outline some

Two of the three lot owners in a subdivision had a dispute over a driveway easement and boat slips.  Lot 2 was contracted to be sold first and it included a driveway easement on Lot 1 and Slip A (the one with the boat lift).  When Lot 2 was deeded, however, Slip C was on the deed (no boat lift).  Lot 2 used Slip A, but when Lot 1 was later sold, that deed stated Slip A.  Despite what was on the deeds, after Lot 1 was sold its owner used Slip C, as he was apparently aware of the error on the Lot 2 deed.  Later a dispute broke out over whether the driveway easement was simply for ingress or egress or included the right of Lot 2 to park vehicles on the driveway.  This resulted in Lot 1 filing suit for the court to determine the extent of the driveway easement and who owned which boat slip.
Continue Reading Driveway Easement and Boat Slips – Expensive Fighting