Florida Condo Association Restricts Use of Boat Docks

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A.R. from Florida writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I own a condo in Florida which I rent out on an annual lease. My question relates to common element boat docks.

The documents state:

1) only unit owners shall be allowed to keep boats.
2) Renters, Lessees, and guests are not allowed to keep boats on condominium property.

Why can’t I allow a person who rents from me to use the boat docks? I pay for it and I am not going to use it so why can’t I transfer my use of the boat dock to my tenant?

Mister Condo replies:

A.R., individual associations have the right to handle the management of common assets, such as boat docks, in any way they see fit provided they are not in disagreement with local, state, or federal laws. The association’s governing documents using spell out how the association rules are made and/or modified. If unrestricted use of a particular boat dock is part and parcel of the deed to the unit, there may be some additional use rights attached, but, as you have stated, the boat docks are common elements, which means they are owned by the association as a whole and not by individual unit owners. As long as no laws are being violated, the association can restrict the use of the common elements in any way they see fit, including limiting their use to unit owners only. You can always put forth a request that the Board consider allowing the use of the boat docks to tenants but the Board does not have to take action. If enough unit owners share your sentiment you may be able to pressure the Board into changing the rule. Otherwise, the rules should be obeyed and only unit owners should use the boat docks. Good luck!

4 thoughts on “Florida Condo Association Restricts Use of Boat Docks

  1. Dear Mr. Condo,
    I have a condo that has a dock with it. Recently it was discovered, after a dock owner made repairs without a permit, that there were ownership issues that need to be resolved with the state – permanent lease of submerged land was never followed through when the condos were built 20 years ago. We have been given a temporary lease until February to get it straightened out. The president of our association does not own a dock, and wants to eliminate them, He says those of us on the board, that own docks, have no vote (on matters voted on strictly by the board, regarding the docks) because of conflict of interest, and all he needs is is 2/3rds of the vote from the entire community to let the docks go to get rid of them. Is he right?

    1. M.D., that sounds about right to me. However, I am not an attorney nor am I familiar with the laws in your state. I would definitely contact your own attorney to protect your rights in this matter. As a general rule, the condo’s governance documents provide the procedures for adding or removing common elements, which the docks would appear to be. If the supermajority of 2/3 votes is what is required then that would do it. If the docks were deeded as part of the property, you may have different protection. However, from what you have told me, that does not appear to be the case. I would question his interpretation of “conflict of interest” by Board members who have docks as the Board is responsible for ALL of the common elements of the association, including the docks. Again, an attorney could give you a better opinion than could I. If you think that 2/3 of the unit owner would vote in favor of removing the docks, now is the time to rally support to make sure at least more than 1/3 want to keep them. That would likely prevent the removal of the docks. Good luck!

  2. Dear Mr condo

    I own a dock slip which is deeded. I have owned it for several years before I even purchased an apt. The apt and boat slip are not tied together and the slip is not common element. Recently it has come to my attention that the board wants to restrict the boat slip owners and non residents from use of the rest of the building common elements. They are also denying access to a fuel truck that we as boat /dock owners have been using for years. Is this legal? Can the board restrict and discriminate against us like this? We own a property whether it’s on water or in the physical building therefore we should have the right to common elements. We pay assoc fees and special assessments fees as well. There is a fuel truck that goes to refuel the building boilers why would our fuel truck which is lic and has been servicing the boats in the slips for years be any different. I thank you for your advise in advance.

    1. J.R., I am sorry that you find yourself at odds with the association after many years of peaceful coexistence. I wonder what has brought about this change of policy for them? You will need to look at the deed for your boat slip. My guess is it says you own a boat slip and not much else. Unless you have deeded access to the roads within the association (unlikely) you may not have any legal rights to use their roads. That being said, it is unreasonable for the association to retract a practice that has been going on for years and may be effecting association unit owners like you who would like to allow the trucks to use the association-owned roads. I would first speak to the association and find out why they are taking the actions they are. If they seem reasonable to you, then all is well. If they don’t, make your case as to why they should reconsider. If that doesn’t work, hire an attorney to see what your legal options are. The right of egress may come in to play but there is no guarantee. Hopefully, the Board will agree to work with you and the other boat slip owners to find a mutually agreeable solution. Good luck!

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