Q. Our condominium association has rules and restrictions regarding pets, but prior boards have ignored the restrictions, so some owners are keeping pets that violate the rules. I have just been elected to the board, and the new board would like to enforce the pet rules. Can we do that?
A. Enforcement could now be an issue for your community due to passage of time and lack of enforcement by prior boards. The fact that there is a new board that wants to enforce the documents does not, in itself, fix the problem of prior boards being lax. Under Florida law, if an association fails to enforce valid restrictions, its generally loses the power to enforce because a unit owner or tenant can defend himself by asserting “waiver” and/or “selective enforcement”.
However, it is not too late to fix the problem going forward. A properly drafted resolution mailed to all owners can revive a restriction that has been inconsistently or haphazardly enforced in the past, but only prospectively or going forward. Existing violations may need to be “grandfathered” because of fairness, and I would certainly recommend that your board consult with its legal counsel to discuss the need for such a resolution.