Can our HOA Board remedy the dangerous condition of a vacant property?

Q:        Hi, I’m on the board of a HOA, and one of the properties in our community is owned by a bank.  We’re pretty sure that the bank hasn’t sent anyone to the property to inspect it, because the pool isn’t being taken care of, and it’s turned a gross green color.  We’re worried that the pool will turn into a breeding ground for mosquitos and be a dangerous place for neighborhood kids to play in.  Is there anything we can do to take care of this problem on our own?

D.W., Boca Raton, FL

A:        The short answer is that it depends on what powers your governing documents grant to the Association and/or the Board.  If your governing documents give the Association or the Board the right to enter onto the property and remedy the condition of the pool because the owner is failing to maintain the property, then the answer is clearly yes, and you would need to follow the protocol established by your governing documents.  For example, typically the documents will require a letter to be sent to the owner providing them with “x” number of days to comply with the demand to do the work themselves.  We recommend the letter to be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular U.S. Mail.  If the governing documents are silent, then it is still possible for the Board to take action.  In either case, the Association should only do the minimal amount of work to remedy the violation.  So in this instance, for example, the Association should have the pool drained, have any necessary pest control work done, and secure the pool by putting up a pool cover so that no one can fall in, but they should not take any other remedial action.


Avi S. Tryson, Esq., is Partner of the Law Firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross.  To ask Mr. Tryson 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.

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