By Gary M. Singer
Sun Sentinel (MCT)
QUESTION: I bought a condominium about a year ago, and almost immediately the association’s president started to single me out. I have received violations for issues that don’t exist at all or for things that all the neighbors get away with. The president yells at me whenever she sees me, sometimes making threats about kicking me out and using some salty language. She even went into my unit once to look for pets, which are not allowed here. I just want to live in peace like my neighbors do.
ANSWER: The first thing you should do is start keeping a log of everything that’s happening. Make sure each entry is dated and very detailed. This log will become useful if you need to take legal action against the president or the association. Your association does have the right to enter your unit, but only on a limited basis, such as to make repairs or to deal with an emergency. The association can’t enter your home to inspect for violations of the rules.
Your neighbors ignoring certain community rules is not a justification for you to violate them, too. At the same time, the association is not allowed to selectively enforce the rules. You should speak with the entire board of directors at the next regular meeting and see if you can get to the bottom of why you are being singled out.
If the harassment continues, speak with an attorney about seeking a restraining order that would bar the president from getting close to you or speaking to you. You may also want to consider suing the president and the association for their bad behavior.
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.