Tag Archives: determined

11th Circuit Finds Rental Ad does not Violate Fair Housing Act

Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches, Inc. v. The Shutters Condominium Association, Inc., No. 09-16184, U.S. App. Ct., 11th Cir., July 29, 2010.

A Florida condo association posted an ad on Craigslist offering a condo for rent and including the statement, “Sorry, no kids or pets.”  Upon reading the ad, the Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches (Center) obtained copies of the association’s CC&Rs, which included two provisions restricting the age of residents to 18 and older. 

The Center filed charges against the association with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for violations of the Fair Housing Act based on familial discrimination.  Subsequently, the Center brought suit in Florida district court against the association. The district court determined that the Center failed to show that the association actually discriminated against any person on the basis of familial status.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the association.

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the prior judgment, and determined that there was no evidence to support the Center’s claims that the advertisement discriminated.   In fact, the Center admitted, “no one was turned away” as a result of the ad. 

This site and any information contained herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  Seek a competent attorney for advice on an legal matter.

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Residential Development Owner Has No Obligation to Pay Sewer Fees

    The Court of Appeals reversed the master’s holding which allowed Dorchester County to bill the development owner for tenants’ sewer charges. Tranquil Properties, Inc., v. Dorchester County, 387 S.C. 474, 693 S.E.2d 24 (2010).

    This case involves a planned development in Dorchester County consisting of 40 individual units. Title to 39 of the units and the common areas was transferred to Tranquil Properties in 2006, subject to easements, restrictions and covenants of record. Each of the four buildings in the development connects via a feeder line to the main sewer tap located under a slab in the common area. Originally, the development used a private septic tank system, but later switched to the public sewer system.

    Prior to 2007, the County billed each unit individually for sewer use. However, in June of that year the County suddenly began billing Tranquil Properties directly for the entire development’s service. In response, Tranquil Properties brought a declaratory judgment action against the County.

    The master-in-equity referred to the original association covenants. Based on the association’s ability to assess fees “to promote the recreation, health, safety and welfare of the residents and for the improvement and maintenance of Common Areas,” the master determined that as owner of the common areas and successor to the association, Tranquil Properties had the responsibility to provide sewer service to its tenants.

    The court of appeals, however, determined that it was “too great a leap” to require Tranquil Properties to pay monthly sewer service. The court strictly construed the original covenants, and in doing so, found that there was no specific mention of this requirement. The court concluded by finding “no basis in the covenants to redirect that obligation.”

    This site and any information contained herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek a competent attorney for

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Insurance Policy Excludes Water Damage From Construction Defects

    The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an insurer was not obligated to pay for water damages to a condominium building because the insurance policy specifically excluded coverage for damages caused or resulting from building construction and design defects. TMW Enterprises, Inc. v. Federal Ins. Co., No. 09-1542, (6th Cir. Aug, 25, 2010). Substandard construction on an exterior wall allowed the water intrusion which resulted in damages of $4 million.

    After discovering the water damage and defects, the Plaintiff filed a claim with its insurer to cover the costs of repair. The insurer performed an inspection of the building but refused covered based upon this exclusion. Both the lower court and appellate court agreed with the insurer. The appellate court grappled with the interpretation of the policy, but finally determined that any other explanation of the policy language would render it ambiguous.

    This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek a competent attorney for advice on any legal matter.

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