Q: I live in a condominium that has fairly strict vehicle restrictions. I recently purchased a very expensive truck that costs more than most luxury cars and the Association is demanding that I remove the truck because it is a violation of the covenants based on the size. I can’t find any size restrictions in the Declaration. Can they force me to remove the truck?
A: Possibly. To properly answer this question, I would need to review your specific Declaration of Condominium, Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. The first question is whether there is an enforceable size restriction for trucks in the condominium. If so, the next question is whether the restriction was enforceable the day you purchased the truck.
First, the general rule is that the rules and regulations should be consistent with your Declaration. There is a lot more to the analysis, but the rules can’t infringe on an express or implied right included in the Declaration of Condominium because the Declaration is higher in the hierarchy of controlling documents. For example, let’s say that your Declaration of Condominium includes a robust vehicle section and prohibits a number of different vehicles, but is silent on trucks. In this case, it would be improper for the Board of Directors to adopt a rule prohibiting trucks of any size. When the Declaration prohibits a number of vehicles but does not prohibit trucks, the implication is that trucks are permitted. The analysis is very fact specific to your condominium documents, so I would recommend you have the language in all documents reviewed by a licensed Florida attorney.
Second, if the rule or covenant prohibiting your truck was not enacted until after you purchased your truck, you may have an argument that the Association is prevented from enforcing this restriction now. Broadly, if an owner relies on the current documents to a great extent through the purchase of a pet, a boat, or an expensive vehicle, it is doubtful that a court would require a unit owner to remove the expensive boat, truck or dog when they were legally acquired and brought into the condominium at the time of acquisition.
If the rule is enforceable, and it was on the books when you acquired the truck, it is very possible the Association could compel you to remove the truck from the property.
Steven J. Adamczyk Esq., is a shareholder of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. To ask Mr. Adamczyk questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, PLLC 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.