A new Florida law that was enacted earlier this year and is now in effect addresses the storage, installation or display of certain items in the backyards of homes located within HOA communities.
Florida Statute 720.3045 was created during the recent legislative session as part of House Bill 437 and prevents associations from restricting the installation, display and storage of “any items” on a parcel that are not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, unless same are prohibited by general law or local ordinance. It further allows homeowners and residents of such parcels to install artificial turf within such areas of the parcels and maintain recreational vehicles, campers, boats and other items in such areas.
The law is of particular importance for HOA communities, which often have restrictions against the storage of items within owners’ lots. Regardless of whether items are visible from other owners’ parcels or where they are stored, many communities have covenants and restrictions against the storage of boats, trailers, sports equipment and other items.
For sprawling communities with park areas, golf courses, walkways and ponds, the new law seems to allow for backyard storage that is visible from these and other common areas, so long as the stored items are not visible from the parcel’s front or adjacent parcels.
The law specifically reads as follows:
. . . Regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of an association, and unless prohibited by general law or local ordinance, an association may not restrict parcel owners or their tenants from installing, displaying, or storing any items on a parcel which are not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, including, but not limited to, artificial turf, boats, flags, and recreational vehicles.
Given its plain language and the fact that most Florida HOAs include provisions in their governing declarations to automatically adopt and incorporate new and amended state laws, a majority of the state’s associations will no longer be able to restrict the storage of items that are not visible from a parcel’s frontage or adjacent parcel.
For some HOA communities, this will represent a significant adjustment. Their boards of directors, property management and legal counsel will need to carefully consider the new law in any future decisions over enforcement actions regarding the storage of items.
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