Homeowner Associations and Fences.
So you want a fence. Then
three little letters enter your
The gears spin, and one questions
leads to the next. Here
HOAs are inconsistent in
nature: No two are a like.
Each possess their own process,
guidelines, and standards. As
a result, there is no uniform
answer. No magic sentence.
There are only questions which need
answered and approvals obtained.
For most, obtaining an HOA approval
will be easy. For some, it
well be a daunting task, and for
some they will find this guide too
Below is a list of common questions
members of Homeowner Association ask
us everyday. We hope questions
will answer what you seek.
President Paramount Fencing, Inc.
Question: Do I Need My
Homeowner Associations Approval?
If you live in an active HOA, the
answer is YES.
Question: Is My
HOA Active, Voluntary, or Expired?
homeowner associations are
a corporation, and all possess
Conditions, By-laws, and
As a result, an HOA must be
registered with the State of
Florida; and the governing documents
recorded with the Clerk of The Court
in the county they are located.
lookup an HOA status click on following link:
Corporate Lookup State of Florida.
in your HOA's name. A list of
Corporate Names will appear.
Once you find your HOA, find the heading
titled "Status." There
are only three possibilities: (1)
Active, (2) INACTIVE, or (3) NAME
HS. If "Active", you need
approval. The other two
generally do no require approval;
however, you need to locate the
look up any HOA's governing documents,
visit your local County Comptroller's
website; and do a document search.
Any document that has been filled on
behalf of your HOA will appear.
HOAs are required to record their
Seminole County: Website
the governing documents are
obtained, the year the HOA
was created and how long the deed
restrictions run with the land are
generally located in the first few
paragraphs. In most
cases, it's twenty-five - thirty
years. Most governing
documents expire unless renewed;
however, some governing document
possess automatic renewal clauses.
all else fails, just Google the name
of the Homeowner's Association.
Question: How do I seek
my HOA's approval?
Although each HOA is different,
every HOA has some type of
Architectural Review Committee (ARC
or ARB or ACR). These types of
committees sole purpose is to review
all improvement and make sure those
improvements comply with the
restrictions set forth in the
covenants, conditions, guidelines.
Architectural Review Committee
generally meet on a monthly basis.
Depending on the HOA's governing
documents, state and local laws, ARC generally have 30 days to
respond to an homeowner's request
unless the governing documents
specifically state otherwise.
If they fail to respond within that
time frame, the ARC and HOA
ability to regulate the improvement
will be limited.
It's why, when submitting,
all documentations should be sent
via certified return-receipt mail.
Remember, faxes get munched; and
emails go missing. The burden
of proof rest on the homeowner, not
If I Don't Know Who Manages My HOA?
worries. Who manages the
HOA can be obtained by searching the State
website. To lookup an HOA
with the State of Florida click on
the following link:
Corporate Lookup State of Florida. Type
in the HOA's name. A list of
corporations will appear. Click on your
HOA. The page will load, and
you will find everything your
looking for and more: Principle
Mailing address and submitted annual
reports are key, because they
contain the current Board of
Director names. Names are
attached to address. From
their, you can visit your local
County Property Appeaser website and
do a property search.
Basically, go knock on a door if
Question: Where Do I
Obtain and HOA Application?
HOA has some type of application or
architectural improvement form.
HOA is professionally managed, give
them a call or visit their website.
If the HOA is self-managed, contact
the President of your Homeowners
Question: What do I submit?
First, realize ARC can be
fickle-minded. A well written
cover letter often provides them
direction. If you know
something is going to be a problem,
address it up front. Define
the issue, but be polite.
is a list of items which should be
filled out ARC form.
Provide a complete description
of improvement to be completed.
Include things like type of
materials, colors, and set
Include A copy of the fence
proposal along with a land
survey generally highlighting
the proposed fence line.
Include drawings and pictures of
check everything. It's always
wise to cross reference the
measurements on the proposal and the
measurements on the land survey,
especially the side stretches
extending from the house to the
property line. If
the proposal states 11' feet, but
your land survey states you only
have 10' feet, the ARC can reject
the application based on that single
happens, it's another 30 days.
Question: What If My ARC
Rejects My ARC Form?
things first, take a deep, deep,
deep breath. Do not threaten
to sue. You are only suing
yourself. Next, you will
have to make a decision. Do
you want to comply or do you want to
challenge the decision?
understand, if your governing
document specifically state that
something is not specifically
allowed--chances are direct
confrontation will find little
success. Your only opinion is to
organize your whole community and
have the governing documents
amended. That could be an
However, if there are extenuating
circumstance based on real hardship,
it might be worth the effort.
Things such as medical disabilities
or privacy issue.
have often found is ARC sometime
like to play by their own rules and
enforce by opinion. When that
occurs, it is in your best interest
to challenge a rejection.
That can simply be done by
resubmitting the ARC with a new
cover letter. Before that
occurs, consider the following:
Locate specific language within
your governing documents that
Find out if the ARC meeting
notice was properly posted 24
Gather a list of other homes
which have the same improvement
Letters of support from the
Mobilize your neighbors. Go to
register your HOA. Chances are
your HOA is all ready
registered. There you can
rate your Homeowner Association
and get other members of your
HOA to join your cause.
There are private and exclusive
forums where discussions can
take place. What you will
find out is if it's happening to
you it's happing to others.
Request that the matter be
decided by the Board of
Directors and not the ARC.
Outline any misconduct by the
Outline any hardship. If
it's medical, there are plenty
of non-profit organizations who
will advocate on your behalf.
Seek legal advice. Two great
lawyers who represent the
Peter McGrath and
there, write a new cover letter
outline the above and resubmit the
Question: What IF I Already Built My
Fence Without Approval?
they HOA is not knocking on your
door, leave the issue alone. Time
will be your friend. If the
HOA has violated you, the best thing
to do is just submit an ARC form.
Apologize and simply state you were
not aware approval was needed.
Question: "What do I submit"
If the fence is not in compliance
with the governing documents, chance
are you will eventually be required
to remove the fence. In the
meantime, don't stress. Just
seek some legal advice.
Message From The Owner: If you
have a question you would like
answered, email me a
FOR A FREE ESTIMATE
Operated Since 2003
License and Insured
7849 Copperfield Ct
* Orlando, Florida 32825 * Office: (407) 341 2720 * Fax:
(321) 206 6627