This case involved a dispute between a homeowner (Owner) and its homeowners association (Association) over Owners right to bring a personal fitness trainer into the Associations fitness center for the purpose of training Owner in consideration of payment for the trainers services. The issue over Owners right to bring the personal trainer into the fitness center came up after Association entered into an exclusive arrangement with a third-party vendor to provide fitness services in Associations fitness center and then enacted a new rule that prohibited private trainers, instructors, physical therapists, and massage therapists from working in the fitness center. Owner then filed the action against Association alleging that Associations adoption of the rule prohibiting private trainers in the fitness center violated Owners rights under Associations Declaration. In defense of the lawsuit, Association contended that Owners personal trainer was a licensee who could be excluded from Associations property based on the new rule.
Associations Declaration contains language that states that Associations property is available for the use of owners, family members, guests, invitees, and tenants in accordance with Associations Declaration. The Declaration also provides:
OWNERS EASEMENTS OF ENJOYMENT: Every Owner and family member, guest, tenant, agent, or invitee of an Owner shall, except as may otherwise be provided in this Declaration, have a permanent and perpetual nonexclusive easement for ingress and egress over, enjoyment in, and use of Association Property within the Property (except as otherwise may be provided elsewhere in this Declaration), in common with all other Owners, their family members, guests, tenants, agents, and invitees, which easement shall be appurtenant to, and shall pass with deed and/or title to each Owners Lot. This right shall be subject to the following limitations:
The right of the association to establish, amend and/or abolish from time to time, uniform rules and regulations pertaining to the use of the Association Property.
The trial court found in favor of Association, ruling that Owners personal trainer was a business licensee that could be excluded by Association. Owner then filed an appeal of the trial courts judgment in favor of Association.
The appellate court ruled that the trial court improperly classified Owners personal trainer as a licensee as opposed to an invitee, and that the rule Association adopted directly conflicted with the provisions in the Associations Declaration which provided for the use of Association Property by owners invitees. Since the rule contravened an express provision of Associations Declaration, Association exceeded the scope of its authority when it enacted the rule and the rule was invalid. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the trail courts judgment.
Florida Appellate Court decision (November 28, 2018).
See case decision: Charterhouse_Assocs._Ltd._v._Valencia_Reserve_Homeowners_Ass’n_Inc.