final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Peter D. Blanc, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Rivas of Sachs Sax Caplan, P.L., Tallahassee, for appellant.
F. Bideau and Robert R. Kane III of Greenberg Traurig, P.A.,
West Palm Beach, and Julissa Rodriguez and Jay A. Yagoda of
Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Miami, for appellee.
Boatwright, Joe, Associate Judge.
Valencia Reserve Homeowners Association, Inc.
("HOA"), appeals the circuit court's final
order granting partial summary judgment in favor of Appellee,
Boynton Beach Associates XIX, LLLP ("Developer").
The HOA challenges the Developer's use of certain monies
collected from homeowners to offset the Developer's
financial obligation to the HOA. Specifically, the HOA claims
that the Developer's use of the "working fund
contribution" to offset its financial obligation to the
HOA is prohibited by the Homeowners' Association Act
("HOA Act"), codified in Chapter 720, Florida
Statutes. We hold that the Developer's use of the working
fund contributions to offset its financial obligation to the
HOA does not contravene Chapter 720. Therefore, we affirm the
Reserve is a single-family home residential community located
in Palm Beach County. Valencia Reserve's HOA was
established and governed pursuant to a Declaration of
Covenants, Restrictions and Easements
("declaration") and the HOA Act. The Developer
controlled the HOA from its inception until the date of
turnover, when the Developer gave control of the HOA to the
to the declaration, the Developer was required to pay its
share of assessments on any lot owned by the Developer while
the Developer was in control of the HOA. Pursuant to the
declaration and the HOA act, the Developer had the right to
excuse itself from payment of its share of assessments
related to its lots so long as the Developer obligated itself
to pay the deficit-i.e., any operating expenses
incurred during the guarantee period which exceeded the
assessments receivable from other members. The guarantee
period began when the Developer recorded the declaration and
ended upon the turnover date.
declaration defined the term "deficit" as the
difference between the operating expenses incurred by the HOA
during the guarantee period and the sum of: 1) the amounts
assessed as guaranteed assessments against owners during the
guarantee period; 2) the "working fund
contributions"; and 3) any other income of the HOA.
order to offset the deficit obligation, the Developer used a
provision in the declaration called the "Working Fund
Contribution." The declaration's section entitled
"Working Fund Contribution" states as follows:
Each Owner who purchases a Lot with a Home thereon from [the
Developer] shall pay to the [HOA] at the time legal title is
conveyed to such Owner, a "Working Fund
Contribution." The Working Fund Contribution shall be an
amount equal to a three (3) months' share of the annual,
non-abated Operating Expenses applicable to such Lot pursuant
to the initial Budget . . . . The purpose of the Working Fund
Contribution is to insure that the [HOA] will have cash
available for initial startup expenses, to meet unforeseen
expenditures and to acquire additional equipment and services
deemed necessary or desirable by the Board. Working Fund
Contributions are not advance payments of Individual Lot
Assessments and shall have no effect on future Individual Lot
Assessments, nor will they be held in reserve. . . . Working
Fund Contributions . . . may also be used to offset Operating
Expenses, both during the Guarantee Period . . . and
Developer elected to excuse itself from paying its share of
assessments and thereby obligated itself to pay the deficit
incurred during the guarantee period. Before the turnover,
the Developer used the working fund contributions to satisfy
the deficit, as authorized by the above provision.
then sued the Developer, claiming that the working fund
contributions could not be used to offset the deficit
obligation under the HOA Act. Both parties filed cross
motions for summary judgment. The circuit court granted
summary judgment in favor of the Developer, finding that the