ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEES Ė THEIR POWERS GET SLASHED

By Eric Glazer, Esq.

Published April 22, 2024

 

HB 1203 made some major changes regarding architectural review committees. To sum it up, their powers were greatly slashed. Letís take a look:

An association or any architectural, construction improvement, or similar committee of an association must reasonably and equitably apply and enforce on all parcel owners the architectural and construction improvement standards authorized by the declaration of covenants or other published guidelines and standards authorized by the declaration of covenants.
 

So now, the architectural review committee must act reasonably and equitably. Iím not 100% sure what it means, but it certainly means that what applies to one applies to all. It also may mean that even though you have a provision in your ARC standards, if it makes no sense, donít enforce it just because itís there.

(b) An association or any architectural, construction improvement, or other such similar committee of an association may not enforce or adopt a covenant, rule, or guideline that:
1. Limits or places requirements on the interior of a structure that is not visible from the parcel's frontage or an adjacent parcel.

2. Requires the review and approval of plans and specifications for a central air-conditioning, refrigeration, heating, or ventilating system by the association or any architectural, construction improvement, or other such similar committee of an association, if such system is not visible from the parcel's frontage and is substantially similar to a system that is approved or recommended by the association or a committee thereof.

 

In sum, this clearly means two things: (1) stay out of my home. Itís none of your business what I do behind my closed doors, if it has no effect on you. It also means, donít tell me what to do with the outside of my property, if it has no effect on you.

If the association or any architectural, construction improvement, or other such similar committee of the association denies a parcel owner's request or application for the construction of a structure or other improvement on a parcel, the association or committee must provide written notice to the parcel owner stating with specificity the rule or covenant on which the association or committee relied when denying the request or application and the specific aspect or part of the proposed improvement that does not conform to such rule or covenant.

 

In simple terms, this certainly means that you have to tell me what I am being charged with and why I canít make my requested change. It says that Iím entitled to due process and who can argue with this?

(b) If a parcel owner's rights and privileges have been unreasonably infringed upon or impaired by a decision concerning the architectural use of his or her parcel or the construction of permitted structures and improvements on such parcel by the association or any architectural, construction improvement, or other such similar committee of the association, the association must provide the parcel owner with the ability to appeal such decision to an appeals committee that consists of at least three members appointed by the board who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association or members of the architectural, construction improvement, or other similar committee of the association. The appeals committee has the right to reverse, modify, or affirm the decision being appealed. A parcel owner may appeal a decision of the association or any architectural, construction improvement, or other such similar committee of the association within 90 days after the owner receives written notification of the initial decision. The appeals committee must make a decision on the issue under appeal within 60 days after receiving a parcel owner's request for an appeal.
 

I have to tell you, I didnít see this bill coming. It is hard enough to get people to serve on your architectural review committee. Now, it may be harder to find additional people to serve on an appeals committee from decisions of the architectural review committee. Iím certainly in favor of giving owners the ability to appeal a decision of the Architectural Review Committee, especially when these decisions have major ramifications about what people can do with their most prized possession and asset. Hereís the problem though. Under the new law, the association must have this appeals committee in place. If the association fails to create such a committee and the unit owner is denied the right of an appeal, it is this attorneyís position that the decision of the ARC is invalid or void because there is no right of appeal where the statute requires same.

 

An answer to this equation may be to see if those persons who are good enough to serve on the fining committee would also be willing to serve on the Appeals Committee

 

In any event, the foregoing changes to the law diminishes the power of the Architectural Review Committee. The theme of this yearís legislation is just that, diminish the power of the board or committees over owners and give owners greater rights to challenge decisions of these boards or committees while at the same time keeping the members of these boards or committees under the microscope and subject to the criminal statutes. Weíll show you some more examples of this next week.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
 

About HOA & Condo Blog

Eric Glazer

Eric Glazer graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community association law for three decades and is the owner of Glazer and Sachs, P.A. a five attorney law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Eric is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Condominium and Planned Development Law.

Since 2009, Eric has been the host of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one-hour radio show airing at 11 a.m. each Sunday on 850 WFTL. Recently, he moved the show to YouTube, transforming it into a more dynamic and interactive experience. This move not only allows viewers to engage in live chats with Eric and other participants but also enables a broader audience to access free advice, making valuable insights more widely available.

See: www.condocrazeandhoas.com.

   

Eric is the first attorney in the State of Florida that designed a course that certifies condominium and HOA residents as eligible to serve on a Board of Directors and has now certified more than 20,000 Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the best interest of Florida community association members.



Join Our CondoCraze & HOAs Email List
Email:  
For Email Marketing you can trust