Family Fights Homeowners Association Over Fence Installation

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida. – Homeowners associations have all sorts of rules and regulations in their covenants, many of which are backed by Florida state law.

But a Daytona Beach couple tell News 6 that all they want is to put up a small, 4-foot wooden fence to protect their property and family from strangers cutting down their lawn.

“Absolutely, it became a security issue,” Gina Frazier said, “and it’s been a security issue since 2013.”

Frazier is beyond frustrated. She says her mother owned the house and land in the Fountain Lake subdivision, but died before the 4ft fence could be erected around her property.

Now Frazier, who inherited the house and property, is trying to get permission to complete the fence, so it can stop people from cutting through their yard.

“People walk across the property — you tell them to stay off the property and they threaten your life,” Frazier said.

Frazier and her husband even have home surveillance video showing person after person walking, even crossing their yard, including lawn crews hired by the homeowners association.

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“I’ve repeatedly asked to meet with the owner of the lawn care business and nothing is done about it,” Frazier said.

Frazier says some intruders even threatened to shoot her and her husband when they confronted them. Frazier says they called the Daytona Beach police, but that didn’t help.

“By the time they get here, the person is gone,” Frazier Frazier said. “And even if we have it on video, they won’t accept that and there’s nothing they can do about it.”

Frazier thought the palisade might be the solution to the trespassing problem. Little did she know this would create a whole new set of costly problems.

Frazier first says neighbors had a problem with the placement of the fence, forcing them to face a stop work order from the City of Daytona Beach until they get the proper permits. Frazier says they then had to call the city for beneficial ownership inquiries and move the fence back 1 inch.

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“While all of this was going on (while) my mother was dying,” Frazier said.

Several weeks and nearly $200 later, Frazier says she was contacted by the Fountain Lake Home Owners Association, saying she had not followed proper protocol with the architectural review board.

Then this month, they received a letter from the attorney representing the HOA saying they were being asked to participate in mandatory pre-mediation to try to resolve the dispute.

The letter stated that the mediator had no authority to make decisions as to who was right or wrong, and merely acted as a facilitator in the matter.

The letter goes on to say that if the Fraziers fail or refuse to participate in the entire mediation process, they will not be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees, even if they prevail. On top of that, they were asked to share the cost of the mediator, which could cost between $250 and $575 per hour. The letter indicates that an average mediation may require three to four hours of the mediator’s time, including preparation time.

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“Unfortunately, with my husband’s medical condition and all the medical bills,” Frazier said, that’s something they can’t afford. “And my mom unfortunately couldn’t leave me a lot of money because she was on Medicaid.”

Frazier says she even called the homeowners association before she even purchased the fencing materials and asked if it would be okay to put up the fence. She says a woman who no longer works there told her everything would be fine and no permission was needed. It turns out that was not the case.

According to the laws and regulations that govern this particular HOA, the Fraziers had to get permission from the Architectural Review Board before erecting their fence, even if they were just trying to create a small protective barrier around their property. The attorney’s letter says the CRA denied the couple’s permit on April 12 and that installing the fence after the CRA’s denial was in direct violation of homeowners association covenants and restrictions .

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“I just want the fence up and the HOA acknowledging that they got it wrong and we need that fence,” Frazier said. “It’s for the safety of my family.”

News 6 reached out to the Southern States Management Group for answers, as it helps run the Fountain Lake Homeowners Association. The company referred us to its attorney, who in turn referred us to the laws that govern Florida HOAs.

The Fraziers say their mediation hearing is scheduled for July 12.

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