What Can a HOA Do About a Repeat Violator?


Homeowner Associations (HOAs) play a crucial role in maintaining community standards and property values in residential neighborhoods. However, HOAs face unique challenges when dealing with repeat violators who disregard community rules. The enforcement process is governed by state statutes as well as the association’s own governing documents. Here’s a detailed look at the measures and actions that an HOA can undertake within the legal framework of Florida.

1. Governing Documents and Legal Basis

The enforcement authority of an HOA is primarily derived from its governing documents, which include the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and specific rules and regulations. These documents outline permissible behavior and the use of property within the community.

Florida law, specifically the Florida Homeowners' Association Act (Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes), provides additional legal framework and specifies the actions that HOAs can take against violators. It is critical that HOAs ensure their governing documents are in harmony with these statutes to avoid legal discrepancies.

2. Notification and Due Process

The typical process begins with the HOA notifying the homeowner of the violation. This notice must be clear, detailing what the violation is, how it breaches specific rules or regulations, what corrective action is needed, and the deadline for resolving the issue. For instance, if a homeowner has installed unauthorized exterior lighting, the notice should specify the exact nature of the problem and the acceptable standards as per the CC&Rs.

3. Fines and Penalties

If the violation continues despite initial notices, the HOA may impose fines. Under Florida law, fines must be reasonable and cannot exceed $100 per violation, with a total not exceeding $1,000 for a repeated or continuing violation. Importantly, before levying any fines, the violator must be given an opportunity to attend a hearing before a committee of other homeowners who are neither board members nor residing in the same household as a board member.

4. Mediation and Arbitration

Florida statutes encourage resolution of disputes through less adversarial means such as mediation or arbitration before escalating to litigation. This involves discussions facilitated by a neutral third party aimed at reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. This step is not only recommended by law but also serves as a cost-effective and faster alternative to court proceedings.

5. Legal Action

If other remedies fail, the HOA may consider legal action. This step involves filing a lawsuit in the appropriate Florida court to seek an injunction or other judicial relief to enforce compliance. The decision to pursue legal action should be weighed carefully, as it can be costly and strain community relations.

Practical Example

Consider a homeowner who repeatedly violates noise regulations by hosting loud parties late into the night. The HOA would initially issue a formal notice, specifying the violation and requesting cessation of the noise. If the behavior continues, a hearing might be set up to discuss the matter with the homeowner. Following unsuccessful mediation, the HOA could impose fines. Should the homeowner still fail to comply, the HOA might find it necessary to file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to prohibit the disruptive behavior.


Handling repeat violations within an HOA in Florida requires a systematic approach that adheres to both the association's governing documents and state laws. By following the proper steps—from issuing notices and conducting hearings to imposing fines and exploring mediation—HOAs can effectively manage compliance and uphold community standards. This detailed process not only ensures legal compliance but also helps maintain a peaceful community environment.

About the Author:

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Description automatically generated Chase Carpenter is a partner in the Business Division of Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A.. His practice revolves around business transactions and business litigation. Mr. Carpenter handles a wide range of cases including contract drafting, partnership disputes, commercial leases, and construction litigation. These cases encompass diverse industries, including healthcare, technology, real estate investment, and government contracting.

About the Firm:

The Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A., also known as MSD Business, is a local business law firm in Tampa, FL, serving clients throughout Fort Lauderdale and statewide. Our firm has a long history of helping clients navigate all types of complex legal matters, including local and state tax issues. In our business law practice, we assist clients with everything from mergers and acquisitions to contract disputes, business litigation, general counsel, and more.