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Are HOA board members above the law?

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Many people wonder what sot of perks the members of the board of directors for a homeowners association get. These individuals, who volunteer their time to help make the community a better place, are sometimes seen as the evil overlords of their particular kingdom. It can seem as though they enjoy telling people how to live in their own homes, and that the rules don't apply to them.

In a perfect world, the rules would be applied equally to everyone who lives in the community. Of course, we don't live in a perfect world. That brings us to today's question.

Q: My question is: how to approach the Board of Directors, when clearly stated violations are overlooked for some, while other HOA members are required to adhere and face fines? I do realize that the BOD has the final work; however, that sets the scene for double standards.

Thank you.

Patricia

A: This is a great question and the approach to bring this to the board's attention as a question/observation is the most likely approach to result in a successful outcome.

Sometimes what can seem like selective enforcement actually isn't. It is possible that the board is in the process of addressing the other violations and the owner in question is unaware of those ongoing efforts. It is also possible that there are extenuating circumstances which set those violations apart from this person's violation or circumstances which would make pursuing those violations not cost effective or likely to succeed.

There is the chance that the board is also unaware of some of these other violations and would appreciate learning of them. It is also possible that the board is engaging in selective enforcement and a frank discussion concerning why that is happening might or might not dissuade them from continuing on that path.

In any event, a discussion is the logical starting point. If a board persists with a pattern of selective enforcement, that board should be recalled or not returned to office at the next election.

-Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq.

Founding Partner, Katzman Garfinkel & Berger

The West Palm Beach HOA Examiner wishes to thank Ms. Berger for her insight in this, and many other matters. In this time of joyous holiday spirit, let's all vow to work together to help make our communities stronger. Let's all try to take a few minutes out of our busy lives to attend the monthly board meeting, and see what is really going on. If we work together, we can make the world a better place!

Be sure to subscribe to this column, and stay abreast of issues involving you, the homeowners of Palm Beach County! If you've had any issues with your HOA that you'd like me to try and delve into, and possibly write about later, please let me know. Also, if you'd like to join the discussion on Twitter, you can find me at http://twitter.com/#!/faborplumbs. While you’re at it, please read my articles about local getaways, motorsports, elections, and restaurants.

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