Real Estate Law Article

Common Areas and the Role That Your Association Can Play in Prohibiting Guest Access

By: Dan Rich, Esquire
Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A.

Q: Can my homeowners’ association prohibit guests from using the clubhouse or swimming pool?

A: November brings with it crisp air, the smell of turkey, and jokes about how the palm trees never lose their leaves. However, November also means that many people will start flocking to their Florida residences to escape the frigid north.

In many instances, these homes are in residential communities controlled by a homeowners’ or condominium association.  Among other things, associations are responsible for the management of common areas within the community.  Under Florida law, a common area is defined as all real property within a community that is owned or leased by the governing association.  Examples of common recreational areas include tennis courts, clubhouses and swimming pools.

The only way to know exactly what rules apply to the use of such common areas is to review the applicable provisions of your community’s governing documents regarding guests and visitors.  The governing documents (which usually include a Declaration of Covenants Conditions and Restrictions, Declaration of Condominium and Rules and Regulations) are where you should look first to determine what rights your guests and visitors have to use any common recreational areas.  Some associations may limit use of common recreational areas to homeowners or unit owners and prohibit guests’ usage altogether. Other associations might allow guests to use common recreational areas only if accompanied by a homeowner or unit owner.  Some associations may allow non-owners to use the common recreational areas only after obtaining a guest pass or signing into a log book.

Florida’s warm weather offers the ability to escape the cold Northern weather and enjoy outdoor recreational areas during winter months.  However, before planning your next pool party, it is advisable to consult your community’s governing documents in order to know how many people you can include on your guest list.

The December 1st edition of “The Law” will cover proactive planning for senior Medicaid Programs.

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