M.K. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
When unit owner violates the rules and bylaws of the condominium is there a way to take the case to court? Or is the only way by having an Attorney? Also, in a condominium 55+ parents leave the condo to their son who is not 55 for more than 10 years. This person lives in the unit and hasn’t had record screening or approval by the association.
Mister Condo replies:
M.K., sounds like your association is having a trying time of enforcing its rules with this one particular owner/resident. You are treading near FHA rules and regulations here so I would strongly suggest the Board engage its attorney before any action is taken against this unit owner. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. As to the first question, the association is free to enforce their bylaws, rules, and regulations. It does not require an attorney to do so. Letters and notices can be sent to owners that have broken rules or violated covenants. Lesser offenses such as parking violations, pet litter, noise complaints are typically handled this way. However, when it comes to an item such as eviction of an underage owner who has circumvented the requirements for ownership and/or residency, I strongly recommend getting the attorney involved BEFORE and action so as to avoid a costly lawsuit if a misstep is made during the process. While the association cannot revoke this person’s ownership, they can restrict him living in the unit if he doesn’t meet the requirements. Keep in mind that state and federal law trump your governing documents so the attorney can help guide the association through the legal process of enforcing the governing documents while not violating state or federal law. Good luck!