The Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA) poses a serious threat to the power of homeowner associations to enforce their covenants and restrictions!
Can you imagine what would happen to your community if your HOA covenants and restrictions were suddenly legally unenforceable? The MRTA Statute was borne out of good purpose; however, it may have this exact catastrophic effect on homeowners associations across the state. The Act was intended to remove certain “stale” claims which prevent the transfer of real property. Unfortunately, by definition, HOA covenants and restrictions may fall under the Act’s prohibition and become nullified.
The MRTA, codified in Chapter 712 of the Florida Statutes, states that “Any person having the legal capacity to own land in the state, who, alone or together with his predecessors in title has been vested with any estate in land of record for 30 years or more, shall have a marketable record title to such estate and land, which shall be free and clear of all claims except the matters set forth as exceptions [herein]”.
Application of the MRTA to HOA Covenants and Restrictions:
The above provision dictates that anyone who has owned a property for 30 years or more (including through the chain of predecessors’ title) owns such property free and clear from all restrictions (including HOA covenants), unless those restrictions are specifically addressed in the document which transferred title. The 30-year trigger usually starts when the initial deed to the lot is transferred after the covenants are recorded.
So, does this mean that all HOA’s will cease to have power to enforce covenants upon their 30th year? Fortunately, the answer is no…
First, the Act only applies to HOAs and not condominiums. Second, the Act lays out specific – and quite simple! – procedures for preserving HOA covenants and restrictions which have not yet ‘expired’ under the 30-year provision. Finally, in the situation where the HOA has allowed the 30-year deadline to pass, there are procedures available for helping to reestablish the covenants.
IMPORTANT: It is critical for HOA’s to act BEFORE the 30-year deadline terminates the enforceability of the covenants as the mechanism for preserving them in advance is much more feasible and less difficult than the process involved in reviving them.
This is an issue all homeowner associations need to address, particularly those that were created more than a decade or two ago. Murrell Law specializes in assisting associations with matters like these and does so with a very cost-effective approach. Reach out to us via our Contact Us page, our Free Online Consultation or feel free to post below for immediate attorney feedback to learn more about preserving the critical powers which are the foundation of your community.