The right to hire your own private landscaping company, and your president’s power to veto.

By May 10, 2018News, Questions & Answers

Editor’s note: Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning and commercial transactions.

Q: I live in a smaller HOA with single-family and coach homes. We have a landscaper contracted by our Property Management Company who services our common area as well as each resident’s lawn, shrub, and tree trimming. I had a couple of issues with the landscaping crew damaging things around my property as well as my home, but the owner of the landscaping business denies any responsibility or accountability.  Several other owners also had damage occurred, but nothing ever gets resolved, even when we contact our Property Management Company. We pay quarterly assessments to our Property Management Company and the largest chunk of our assessments is for landscaping. Do the homeowners have any rights to not have this landscaping contractor service our personal property and on the flip side hire our own private landscaper without still having to pay quarterly HOA fees earmarked for landscaping?

-J.B., Wellington

A: The owners have the right to hire their own landscaping company to do the work as long as the work is done in the same manner with the same appearance as the association’s landscaping company.  However, any owner who hires their own landscaping company will still have to pay the assessments in full, because the landscaping contract will still need to be paid in full even if any particular owner doesn’t need their home landscaped.  With regard to the damage to your property, it is important to note that the contract between your association and the landscaping company may contain language that indemnifies the association and the owners from any damage that is done by the landscaping company to the association’s common areas, as well as each owner’s property.  The problem, as you noted in your explanation of the facts, is that without any proof that the damage was actually caused by the landscaping company, you may end up in a he-said/she-said argument with the landscaping company. However, it is possible that with enough pressure from your association, the landscaping company might agree to remediate the damages in order to avoid the possibility of having their contract terminated.  We recommend that you seek counsel from a qualified Florida Bar licensed attorney so they can review the contract between the association and the landscaping company and advise whether there is any language indemnifying the association and the owners from any damage caused by the landscaping company.

Q: Our condominium association has a board of seven members.  Our board president told me he can veto any decision even if all six of the other board members vote in favor the issue.  Is that true?  My understanding is that his vote has no more power than one vote.

-S.F., Boca Raton

A: The president only has the powers which are vested in the bylaws, and typically the president is not vested with the power to veto a decision of the board. That being said, the board has the right to delegate powers to the president, so if the board properly passed a resolution delegating the president with the power to veto any decision of the board, then the president would have the authority to veto any decision the board. We recommend that you seek counsel from a qualified Florida Bar licensed attorney so they can review your bylaws and any resolutions that my have been properly passed so they can advise whether the president has the power to veto any decisions of the board.

Avi S. Tryson, Esq., is Partner of the Law Firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross.  Ask questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: question@gadclaw.com. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.