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Resolving construction disputes as part of an association

When you buy a home governed by a homeowners' association, you should expect to sign documentation that informs you of your duties, rights and responsibilities as a member of the association.

Many people are familiar with the more common terms such as paying dues, complying with certain rules and having the right to vote for or against homeowners' matters. However, you may not be familiar with clauses that discuss the association's rights when it comes to disputes with developers

Generally speaking, homeowners in Florida will buy property after it has been built, and any disputes over construction, land development or potential defects will have already been resolved. However, this is not always the case, so it is still important to understand what role the HOA plays in these situations.

Let's imagine a situation where a developer is hired to complete construction on a condo lobby. During the course of the project, it is discovered that shortcuts have been taken with waterproofing, leaving the structure vulnerable to flooding and water damage.

If this happened on a single home project, it would be up to the homeowner as an individual to try and resolve the situation. However, when it involves a common area of a homeowners' association, it is up to the HOA to figure out how to proceed.

In accordance with Florida statutes, an HOA is authorized to bring a lawsuit against a developer on behalf of the association members, thought there can be several restrictions and exceptions.

These permissions, as well as the HOAs preferred and allowed methods of taking action against a developer should be established in the governing documentation of the HOA.

The fact that HOAs have the power to act on behalf of the association when it comes to certain construction disputes can be of great relief or frustration to homeowners. If you have questions about your specific situation and HOA, it can be vital to discuss them with an attorney sooner rather than later. Doing so can help you understand your rights and the protections that may or may not be in place.

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