QUESTION: My homeowner’s association recently announced that our private security guards are going to start giving traffic tickets within the community. The board will sit in judgment over the $50-$100 fines. Is this legal and enforceable?
ANSWER: Yes. Your association, acting under the authority of its governing documents, has the right to create community rules and may enforce those rules by levying fines up to $100. If your community has traffic rules, such as a set speed limit, it can enforce fines against violators. It’s similar to breaking any other rule, such as having a dirty roof or overgrown shrubbery. You also can be responsible for your guests’ violations.
While your community’s security guards can write you up, they can’t issue summons for you to be in court or detain you. Simply, they can issue a rules violation and refer you to your association.
Your association’s board of directors will have appointed a fining committee of people not on or related to the board. These people will give fined residents notice of a committee meeting, where the violations will be reviewed. The residents have the right to show up and argue their cases, but the ultimate decision rests with the committee.
Just like with any other fine, if you don’t pay, you could lose your rights to common amenities, such as the community pool, or have your gate access denied. Generally, though, these fines don’t give your association lien rights to foreclose on your home.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program. Send him questions online at http://sunsent.nl/mR20t7 or follow him on Twitter GarySingerLaw.
The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.