Question: I live in a condominium in a lovely gated community but my proximity to the community pool brings to mind the sentences, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." I love being able to get to the pool quickly and easily but I hate hearing the voices of the people at the pool, especially at dusk when I want to sit on my lanai. I've complained to the board but my complaints have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, they must be deaf if they don't hear the ruckus I hear. What can I do?
Answer: It is difficult to know if the ruckus is just people talking in normal voices in close proximity to your lanai, or whether you have neighbors or their guests who are whooping it up in a loud and boisterous manner. The difference can be unclear and sometimes board members believe that they are powerless to do anything about nuisance behavior because they can't find a rule that defines it.
If the noise is truly extraordinary, perhaps fueled by alcohol or accompanied by loud music, you have several options as an individual. If your community has a security team, call them. If your community does not have a security team, call the police. They will quickly respond to complaints about a breach of peace or a public nuisance. The board will not continue to be deaf to your complaints if there are several calls to police about this behavior.
You may also want to speak to the board about the "nuisance" provisions in your governing documents. There is certainly some language like: "No owner shall use his unit or the common areas in any manner which constitutes an unreasonable amount of annoyance or nuisance to the occupant of another unit." This type of provision goes to the core of Florida association law, assuring that those living in close proximity will be permitted the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.
If your quieter neighbors are in agreement that a nuisance does exist, ask the board in writing to take action. They may start by sending a letter to the perpetual party people. If that doesn't work, they can take legal action including a claim for damages and a mandatory injunction that, if granted, could either prevent the violators from using the pool or prevent the owner from renting or having guests to avoid future problems.
There is no reason for you to have to put up with boisterous activity near your lanai. On the other hand, be sure that what you are reacting to isn't normal conversation in a public area that happens to be in close proximity to your unit. You may want to obtain the advice of an attorney to avoid your complaints being deemed the nuisance.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.