I bought into a community with an HOA because the bylaws offered safeguards for the homeowners and it was a secure community in an age of much crime. The security however is a hit or miss sham, A clique of homeowners fired the professional mgt. company and took over mgt themselves saying they could save money which has not happened yet.
The Fl statutes which in theory offer some safeguards if there were anyone overseeing compliance. Laws are meaningless unless there is enforcement. The HOA , ever seeking an easy stream of income finds it easily in assessing attorney costs of $150 for their attorney sending a homeowner an enforcement letter. They then get around the statutes by changing from calling it a fine or penalty as was done in verbal conversations to calling it a “cost”, in subsequent correspondence to get around the limits in the statutes that can be charged.
They deduct this cost from your paid HOA assessment which then makes you in arrears and eventually they can take your home saying you are in arrears on your HOA assessment paymentss. It does not seem to matter whether you received the notices in time to respond or not . Is is reportedly not their responsibility if you were out of country and performed the compliance as soon as you received the notice.
These predatory practices against seniors are just too lucrative and easy not to pursue. Maintaining properties only applies to owners. The HOA can be in the same violation of maintenance but of course they can give themselves months or even years to clean sidewalks, but as homeowner you have a limited time to pressure clean your driveway, even if it is as clean as the sidewalks in the community that are their responsibility to pressure clean. As homeowner one must pay for their lawyer to defend them against abusing you, and pay for one’s own attorney for representing the few rights as outlined in the statutes. Where is the justice?