Need advice: How to Remove Boat Violating Land Lease

c9pilotFebruary 8, 2012

Okay, this is a wacky one, but I'm hoping that maybe someone on this forum has some insight, because our lawyer seems to be on the violators side, for some reason.

As short as I can make the story: Most of the condos have deeded boat slips, which are allowed via submerged land lease (I think this is just a Florida thing, and is different from single-family homes on the water) DEP wrote up condo assn for violating the submerged land lease because a few boats were sticking out past the pilings. Condo board asked for review arguing that they didn't think the pilings were at the edge of the leased area, so the boats were inside. Turns out to be bogus because the boats were owned by board members who approved too-big boats in those slips (CYA). After a year of arguing with DEP, all the board members resigned, and it went on another year when finally it was resolved when new board members and concerned owners allowed the violaters to use their larger slips free. (I allow a boat in my slip free so that owner could let a boat in his slip which was larger)

DEP came and acknowledged that we were back in compliance and we all thought all was well, until last weekend when one of the former board members decided to move his boat back into his smaller slip without telling anyone, and then mailed a letter to DEP to announce that the condo assn was once again violating the land lease (!?!?!!?). DEP says they are tired of dorking around with this for three years, so we have 30 days to comply or they will recommend to Tallahassee that they revoke our land lease. Needless to say, this would devalue our properties to 1/3 of their value (I know this because of the values of the non-deeded-slip condos in complex)

So, does anybody know how we can legally, quickly, evict a boat?

It should be like towing an illegally parked car, but I'm pretty sure it's not, because then we wouldn't have a problem with derelict boats in the area. Our lawyer is supposed working on it, but she seems to believe everything his lawyer is telling her, and she's supposed to be the best around on this land lease stuff. So we're just trying to do research ourselves to see if there is anything we can do.

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So if you can't get the bigger boat out of the smaller slip, they are threatening to revoke the land lease of ALL boat owners? Did I read that right?

That was mighty neighborly of you to allow the violators to use your bigger slips for free. It's too bad you couldn't enforce the rules to begin with and actually hold the violators accountable. I just love how people break the rules and then got all offended when they get called on it. I despise people like this.

Sorry, no clue how you'd go about towing a boat, especially since it is in his slip. Seems like if the condo board has rules in place, they would also know to go about handling people who break the rules. What's up with that?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Yes, you read that right. The submerged land is leased to the association, so it's the association's problem to keep individual owners in compliance.
Our assn does have a problem with prior boards approving something (like therapy dogs or too-big boats) and then a later board is stuck with the problem that was approved but violates the documents or by-laws. As for the dog, it's so not fair to the owners when they moved in thinking it was approved and then a few years later a board has to evict them? But the boat is a bigger issue because it affects most everyone.

The prior board members are awful. They pretty much sit around and drink and come up with ways to harass the current board. For example, the management company mailed a meeting announcement a couple of days late (FL law says min 30 days notice posted, or so, can't remember exactly.) . The old board members came to the meeting (with tape recorders, as usual) and waited until the open comments to state that the meeting was illegal because of improper notification. They had thirty days to tell someone so that the meeting could be rescheduled, but they think this is more fun. Just an idea of the kind of people we're dealing with.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 12:42PM
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C9, I have more radical idea for you. I'm sure this has already crossed your mind. If these boats are simply too long for their slips, a chainsaw will fix that problem in a jiffy! You can gather all the neighbors that have legal boats and have a boat shortening party! It might be a tad bit on the illegal side, but it can be great for relieving stress!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:28PM
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I believe restricting therapy dogs is against the Federal law.
Here is one more reason why I despise condo and townhome complexes... too much is out of your control.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:41PM
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You might ask Mr. Non-Compliance where he plans to pay to berth his monster baby when the lease gets yanked and how much he thinks he can sell his condo for with no slip. If he realizes that it might cost him money, he might change his tune. Or he just might be willing to take a hit out of spite. You can't deal with people like that if that's the case.

If the board approved the longer boats, then the board will be at fault when your lease gets yanked. Then you can sue them for the loss of value to your condo.

Other than that, you cannot force someone to comply who is unwilling to comply. You don't have any standing. The board does, and the board could have sued to enforce, but they gave up that right when they approved the boat. It's all downhill from there. And you are in the middle with no power to do anything about it.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 6:55PM
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I'm not sure who would have the documents, but I'd try to check to see how much the Board is insured for, and what the insurance covers, before I'd consider suing.

When I was on our condo Board, we raised our insurance to $1 million due to some environmental issues/decisions, which might not cover much if you have a large number of co-owners (we only had 36) with severely reduced property values.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:00AM
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Unfortunately, we're already thinking along some of these lines. Towing and/or sinking his boat and then buying him a new (unapproved) boat would cost us less than years of legal wrangling and loss of property value.
We have no idea what his thinking is...he had told some folks he was going to sell, but obviously that isn't going to happen. His mental state is definitely in question because of things he's told people. (Asked me to keep it a secret that he was going to law school, which it turns out, he isn't.)

Also, FYI, THERAPY dogs have no "rights". These are the dogs that go into hospitals (etc) to soothe groups of patients. Each state has different training and certification requirements, but are generally considered "pets".
SERVICE animals are trained and certified, are for a specific person's disability, and have all rights, including no housing restrictions (ADA). These are seeing-eye dogs, service dogs, etc.
COMPANION animals are specific to elderly persons in public housing situations (HUD).
An EMOTIONAL SUPPORT animal doesn't need training or certification, but is for a specific person's disability, and has housing rights (FHA). ESA's do not have general ADA rights, such as public access, transportation, etc. For example, an ESA might detect an imminent seizure or help someone with a mental disability.
Many, many people take advantage of the fact that most don't know the difference between these categories. Anybody can buy a doggie vest or patch online that says their pet is designated as one of the above, and most everyone will allow them to go wherever they want because they see a dog with a vest on and think it's what we think of as a service animal. I believe a previous board allowed the therapy dog because they didn't know the difference between a therapy dog and a service animal.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 8:45AM
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