9 Investigates

Legal bulletin informs neighborhood residents of their rights after HOA tries to trespass homeowners from facilities

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has now issued a legal bulletin to inform their deputies and people living in the Turnberry Reserve community in Kissimmee about their rights to access HOA common areas.

It comes after HOA property management staff were caught on camera twice asking law enforcement to kick some residents out of the playground and pool area based on a fake trespass warning.

The first video, taken the last week of January, shows an Osceola County deputy shutting down a request from Management 35 Firm owner Sherry Raposo to trespass a resident from the community’s pool and playground.

READ: FHP terminates contract with embattled HOA after trooper asked to trespass homeowner

“It’s an HOA, and they pay dues,” the deputy said, explaining the issue is a civil matter. “It’s a homeowner’s association, not a ‘you’ association.”

Just days after the interaction, the Osceola Sheriff’s Office general counsel sent out a notice to staff, confirming that deputy’s stance. It states that the only way an HOA can prevent access for members breaking HOA rules is to suspend their rights for a “reasonable period of time,” and only after a hearing.

“There is due process, civil due process, afforded these owners. The association and the management company need to follow the rules,” real estate attorney Barry Miller said. “Of all people, the association and manager should be an example of how to follow the rules.”

READ: Kissimmee property manager accuses commissioner of ‘slanderous,’ ‘malicious’ statements

Miller said the legal bulletin, which has been distributed to homeowners in the community over the last week, notes that anyone prevented from using common areas may bring an action in the appropriate court; meaning a civil lawsuit or request for injunction against the HOA or property manager.

“To try to put law enforcement in the middle is not fair to them, and it’s not fair to the people living there and it creates a hostile living environment,” Miller said.

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.