Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

In HOA Newsletter, Surprises for Some

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

In HOA Newsletter, Surprises for Some

Article excerpt

The Tamaron Homeowners Association is fun to hear about because its board has been known to go beyond what other HOAs do.

Some get heavy handed about strict enforcement and rigid interpretations of deed restrictions, usually quite legally.

But Tamaron's board has been known to pretend it has power it can't possibly have.

In 2008, I wrote about scary notices the Tamaron board sent to several non-HOA member homeowners in that Sarasota subdivision. The notices told people they had to join the association -- right away - - and pay dues.

Those who joined would have to follow the HOA's rules governing their property. Those who stalled were warned they would face late fees.

That intimidated a few people, at least. But some soon realized it was malarkey. Their deed restrictions did not require membership, and the HOA wasn't even formed until two years after the deed restrictions were filed.

The non-joiners I talked to figured the board's sneaky aim, aside from collecting more dues, was to expand its power. As it was, the board had no way to impose new rules on nonmember owners.

That issue quietly went away, probably after the Tamaron board finally got sound legal advice to the effect that the association can't make people join it, not even by writing a new association rule that says it can.

That bogus attempt cracked me up, aside from knowing it had probably worked on some people who didn't know any better.

But now, Tamaron's latest newsletter has warnings from the board president that made me wonder if there has been more of the same overstepping.

Yes, and no, it seems.

"I have sold several properties in this community and my clients are upset and are asking me if they have to be a member of the association," Realtor Denise Oyler told me. One buyer who just closed was especially dismayed to read in January's Tamaron Bugle -- the newsletter -- that he can't rent out the house seasonally, as he planned.

The new owner may have joined the association just by buying a home previously owned by an HOA member. He read his deed restrictions, and they say nothing about limiting rentals.

The rub is, Oyler says, that she and her client did not know the association had by-laws that do. …

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