Enforcing "Nuisance" Provisions

		Enforcing "Nuisance" Provisions


Written by
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Enforcing "Nuisance" Provisions

"Nuisance" has been defined as "something that causes harm" and "a bit of a bother." Nuisances are a pretty common occurrence in homeowner associations since living in close proximity is bound to create friction from time to time. Most HOA governing documents include language like: "No resident shall engage in offensive activities which are a nuisance, or interfere with the quiet enjoyment of other residents."

These "nuisance" provisions trigger the need for the HOA to control certain resident behavior. The problem is there is a growing belief in the legal community that these provisions themselves may be a nuisance for the boards responsible for enforcing them.

One problem is simply defining the term "nuisance." The obvious goal of nuisance provisions is to prevent residents from making other residents miserable. But the broad wording of typical nuisance provisions leads to arguments of whether such provisions apply to almost any activity, or none of them. This ambiguity causes board members charged with enforcing them to echo former Supreme Court Justice Stewart's statement about the difficulty of defining obscenity: "[I can't define it], but I know it when I see it."

In the same vein, many HOA boards would agree that they recognize a nuisance when they see it. However, this approach has mixed results. Behavior that infuriates one person might go unnoticed or overlooked by another. Hyper-sensitive residents may deem all sounds as offensive, while others may refuse to recognize how their neighbors could find the most offensive behavior unacceptable.

The typical nuisance language in HOA documents doesn't offer much guidance to the boards who must mediate these disputes. One option is to list the activities or behaviors that will constitute a nuisance. Generally, the board has the authority to adopt resolutions "to clarify" the governing documents. A nuisance resolution could include:

• Barking dogs at any time
• Unsupervised pets in the common areas
• Loud music, TV, singing. etc. between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
• Obnoxious odors
• Use of chemicals or equipment that cause life or fire safety concerns
• Tobacco or barbecue smoke that migrates between units
• Housekeeping that causes fire safety or health conditions (overly cluttered, attracts vermin, mold, etc.)
• Other activities that the Board deems to be a nuisance (catch all provision)

Is a nuisance a bit of a bother or something that causes harm? Good question. But this is an area in which the board needs to establish a policy that works most of the time and then focus on those special cases that require more thought or mediation.

Excerpts used with permission from an article from HindmanSanchez.com





Copyright© 2020 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved
Luxury Florida Real Estate Short Sale Specialists North Florida Homes North Florida Condos

Real Estate News

Jacksonville is a Buyers Market
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Jacksonville is a Buyers Market says Zillow...<Click to read the Artilce>
> Full Story
New St Augustine Real Estate Website
Posted: Friday, May 03, 2013 Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage is proud to announce the release of our newly...
> Full Story
A New Site, New Tools, But the Same You
Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013 Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage is proud to announce the release of our newly designed...
> Full Story
> Read All Articles

Copyright ©2020 James Angelo®. All Rights Reserved

Today's Real Estate News and Advice Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Should You Use a HELOC for a R...

A lot of people, thanks to low interest rates, are thinking about home renovations right now...
> Full Story

When Is the Best Day of the Mo...

Maybe youve heard this and maybe you havent, but when someone asks when the best time is to ...
> Full Story

5 Surprising Ways to Invest in...

Expanded Driveway

One area that many people never think about changing is ...
> Full Story

More Real Estate News

Copyright ©2020Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved