Rant warning- this post is mostly to air out my frustration.
I live in a deed-restricted community in a Tampa, FL suburb. We have lived here for about 7 years. For those of you unfamiliar with deed-restrictions, basically you are “bound” by community guidelines when you live here. When we bought the house we were given a 150 page contract restricting everything from the type of grass you could have to the approval process to follow to change the color of your house. Unfortunately, nearly all community developments in FL are the same, some with more restrictions and some with less. Ours has never been that bad. The alleged benefit of a restricted community is it maintains order in the community and prevents things that drive down property value. The only interaction we have had in 7 years was the occasional letter letting us know that our flowerbeds had too many weeds. Whatever.
Part of the contract said something about cars needing to be parked in the garage and not the driveway if you only had 2 cars. I don’t remember exactly what it says. Now you see where this is going.
Now though, there is a bulletin saying that beginning March 1, they will begin enforcing this part of the code: “After March 1, the association’s attorney will be directed to initiate enforcement proceedings…An enforcement action of this kind typically is quite costly for homeowners…who refuse to abide by the covenants.” I know from previous research that community boards have no real legal power based on legal precedent, but that has not stopped them from taking legal action and letting courts decide. They could also fine people and then probably submit the unpaid fines for collection (just a guess). They know that most people won’t go through the effort or expense of hiring a lawyer, and they just comply. They typically put a lien on the house, or at least threaten that.
Now, obviously I’m not going to follow this new thing (new as far as I’m concerned) and the post title is to get people to read it. I would say 75% of the houses on my street park their cars in the driveway at least some of the time. Probably 50% are like me, and never park in the garage. Obviously none of the board members are woodworkers. Or parents with kids that ride bikes and have outdoor toys. Or people that have lawnmowers/weedwacker/edger/yard equipment (and don’t think that could go in a shed, ‘cuz sheds ain’t allowed either).
I’ll try to maintain this as a blog and see where this goes. I might ask for advice from any lawyerin’ LJ’s out there!