A handful of legislative proposals this session arrive at the collision between environmental and homeowner association interests, raising long-disputed questions over individual property rights within managed subdivisions.
“Early man may justly consider his home his castle and himself as the king thereof,” wrote B.J. Driver, a state appeals court judge in Florida in 1971 in an oft-quoted opinion, “nonetheless his sovereign fiat to use his property as he pleases must yield, at least in some degree, where ownership is in common or cooperation with others.”
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Who makes the rules?
Homeowners associations often have elected boards that collect fees, maintain common areas and enforce the group’s rules. A deed restriction, also known as a restrictive covenant, places legal limits on land developments and persists even if the land is sold. Home buyers are encouraged to ask a title company to check what deed restrictions may exist on prospective properties.