Ask An Expert: About Your Condo, HOA Rules


By: Steven R. Braten Esq. Special to the Boca newspaper
Q. Our small Condominium Association is composed of less than 20 unattached units. There is a clause in the bylaws that states “All units shall be used for residential purposes only.” Is renting out a unit considered a residential purpose?
A. In my opinion, when a unit owner rents a unit to an individual or family, the use is still considered for residential purposes.  The sentence in your community bylaws was likely intended to prohibit a commercial use of a unit, such as the operation of a business from the unit, and not specifically restrict renting.
Q. We are a home owners association (HOA). Owners are responsible for maintaining their lawns and landscaping.  We are also a gated community, and we are upgrading our gates.  Can we limit the number of landscape companies from 163 to one of the landscaping companies that are currently serving the community to minimize wear and tear on the new gates?
A. No. If your homeowners are responsible to maintain their own lawns and landscaping, then I do not think the board of the association can select or impose a landscape vendor on all the homeowners of the community because of a concern over the wear and tear on the new access system.  In a community of your size, I imagine another concern is uniformity of appearance and quality of maintenance in light of so many different landscape vendors servicing the homes in your community.  I suggest the board consider proposing an amendment to the members to shift the landscape maintenance responsibility to the association.  This would then allow the association to enter into one contract for landscape maintenance in the community, which would help ensure uniformity and quality of maintenance.  You would also likely achieve an overall cost savings to your members through economies of scale, while at the same time reducing traffic and large landscape equipment in the community.
Steven R. Braten, Esq. is Managing Partner, Palm Beach, of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross. Visit or ask questions about your issues for future columns, by sending an inquiry to: 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 issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.