Monday, September 04, 2017

Community Association Deed Restrictions Expire

30-Year Limit On Deed Restrictions Says Local Attorney

LABELLE, FL. -- A Port LaBelle homeowner's association has apparently lost jurisdiction to govern almost half the properties in the Laurel Oaks subdivision located east of LaBelle.

Attorney Angela Hill has been retained by the Laurel Oaks homeowner's association to reinstate it's declaration of covenants and restrictions which had expired many years ago for almost half of the 82 lots in the Hendry county subdivision.

Jack Zorn, a member of the community told board members by email on May 19th that "After thorough review of our POA covenants and bylaws, legal opinion is that we must initiate revitalization," and hired the attorney to handle the matter.

Florida law mandates that homeowner association documents and restrictions expire after 30 years unless they are timely renewed before that time limit. The Laurel Oak board of directors apparently failed to do this and the restrictions and covenants in the "deed restricted" 82-unit community expired in November 2002.

This has not been the first time the elected, but volunteer board of directors have not followed the non-profit corporation by-laws and community covenant rules; having to re-do several annual member meetings because of discrepancies in voting procedures, counting votes improperly, and the board illegally raising annual property owner dues over the last decade.. The board has been informed they have improperly added board members, and extended their terms of service from one year to three and failing to advertise board meeting times regularly to property owners.

Florida's Marketable Record Title Act says property owner deed restrictions expire 30 years after each buyer purchased a lot from the original developer. At Laurel Oaks it appears from county records that 38 lots, most all with houses built on them, were therefore exempted from deed restrictions during the period from 2002 to 2017.

The remaining lots will be exempt gradually over the next 15 years unless property owners vote to reinstate, or "revitalize" the expired covenants and deed restrictions. While the community deed restrictions may be non-enforceable for lot owners, all properties are still governed by Hendry county zoning and building codes and restrictions.


  1. This could be a new chapter in the future history of Laurel Oaks. Expiration of Covenants can be a game changer. Homeowners now have an opportunity to hit the reset button and reshape the way their community operates for the good of the People--not for corporate interests! At this time, homeowners will be pressured to "revitalize" with admonitions of dire consequences for failing to do so. Owners need to know that the corporate HOA can and will operate the common properties in the absence of private property use restrictions. Homeowners should also educate themselves about the revitalization exemption that the law provides for homesteaded property owners.

  2. Anonymous12:24 AM

    This is not just affecting Laurel Oaks 82 lots but every home owners association all over Florida. could be disaster for every property owner since cities and counties will not be able to cope with the consequences if all the HOAs disappear. Most HOA's own the right of ways and maintain the roadways if local government took over the roadways all local resident's say will be lost.
    Laurel Oaks is being proactive at this point other local HOAs are still discussing the problem