Nuisance

Most Associations have some sort of nuisance clause in their documents. These clauses typically state that there shall be no nuisance on the property, basically meaning that there shall be no action or use of property that is some type of annoyance to the other residents of the Association. In some situations, there are no other teeth in an Association’s Documents to go after owners who cause problems in the Association, so it is important to have an idea of what a nuisance consists of.

The Florida’s Supreme Court stated that an owner or occupant of property must use it in a way that will not be a nuisance to other owners and occupants in the same community, and they further go on to state that anything which annoys or disturbs someone in the free use, possession or enjoyment of his or her property, or which renders its ordinary use or occupancy physically uncomfortable, may become a nuisance.

Many items can be argued to be a nuisance, and there have been cases where residents of an association claim a nuisance from everything from helicopter landings disturbing a neighbor, to cigarette smoke going from one condominium unit into another.

The standard test to determine if the conduct of an owner is a nuisance is if their conduct would disturb a “reasonable person with ordinary sensibilities”. As in most situations, each one is different. Has there been a history of the nuisance, was it a one time issue, is it the same Owner? Many questions must be asked before proceeding, but it is important that the Association at least keep and eye out for something that may be considered a nuisance to help the owners of the Association enjoy the use of their property.

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