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Subject: Newbie: FL HOA MRTA & Revitalization
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ScottH21
(Florida)

Posts:4


03/28/2019 5:08 PM  
Great site here with a lot of knowledge. I have been scouring the internet and many threads on this forum trying to understand MRTA and Revitalization before I go down that rabbit hole!

I am 2nd year board member in a relatively small Florida HOA. Just discovered that MRTA would have done it's extinguishment thing on nearly (most likely) all of our lots around 2010. Here is the situation:

Approximately (or the sake of anonymity) 100 lots, most with homes built.
Governing docs were recorded in 1980.
Nearly all lots were sold by developer in 1980 with a few stragglers in 1981-83.
In those first deeds or "root of title" deeds, there is specific reference to Official Records: i.e
"Subject to
(1) conditions, restrictions and limitations in Declarations of Restrictions... Official Records Book 123, pages 1-10...
(2) Articles of Incorporations....
(3) Bylaws of "Belly-Acres HOA"...
(4) Easements ...recorded in.....

All of the subsequent deeds (after root of title deed) I have viewed so far do NOT make reference to the specific Official Records Book page & number. They only make a generic statement like:

"Subject to restrictions, reservations, and easements, if any."

So I believe nearly every lot will have covenants extinguished by MRTA

We only have one common property in the HOA, a unique 10 acre tract of land (not a golf course.) No clubhouse / no community roads - all county roads.)
Half of the member's lots border and have access to said 10 acres and the other have do not. I'm confident that all of the members with access will vote in favor of revitalizing so as not to loose access. Many of the ones without access will still likely vote but I suspect there will be some members wishing to not revitalize.

I have read through section III of 720 and many articles online but still have some questions. My questions are:

If by chance there some lots (10 for example) with covenants/restrictions that were adequately preserved by properly referencing the Official Records after 1989 but before 2010-ish (30 years after most root of title deeds were recorded), would we need a vote of all 100 members? Or just the 90 members that have been extinguished by MRTA?

For those that have been through the process, how much did you spend on revitalization and how many units or lots do you have?

How long did it take?

Did you have lawyer or property manager make a presentation with a Q&A session for the community? How did it go?

Of the members that don't want to revitalize, what are their rights to stay out of the revitalized association? If homesteaded? If not homesteaded?

I don't think we'll have a problem getting a vote to revitalize and hope that all members will want to revitalize. But if there are some that don't, I don't want a drawn out fight that will waist time, energy, and money... and also be fuel animosity in the neighborhood. Will plan to be open, honest, and transparent and hope they will vote to stay in, but don't want to force them back in if they don't want to.

We will be hiring a lawyer soon to start this process. I'm just trying to get a better grip on this process so I can explain to neighbors where we stand before rumors start running rampant about what homeowners can and cannot do; what will and won't happen, etc.

Thanks in advance for any insight on these issues.

Scott

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1227


03/28/2019 6:29 PM  
I believe only a majority is required for revitalization - and, that all properties in the deeded package would be included.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16355


03/28/2019 8:14 PM  
Scott,

Welcome to the forum.

I think that this is a question you will need to ask an attorney who knows the MRTA statute.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1227


03/29/2019 5:03 AM  
Much has been written on MRTA summarizing the history of the 1963 bill, and the actions Florida has taken since then to help HOAs deal with it.

All available on line ...

Short story is that you can probably do much of the revitalization work yourself, but should get an attorney to assist in paperwork preparation - but, you must follow the process exactly - it is very specific, but clear.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2959


03/29/2019 10:07 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/28/2019 6:29 PM
I believe only a majority is required for revitalization - and, that all properties in the deeded package would be included.

That's my take on it, too. If a majority of the homes/lots/parcels vote in favor of revitalization then all homes/lots/parcels formerly subject to the deed restrictions will be included in the revitalized association whether they are in favor of it or not. The revitalization can include LESS homes than originally covered and the new CC&Rs can be LESS restrictive than the old expired ones, but not the other way around.

Scott, the deeds in my community (also 100 homes) all reference the Lot Number as indicated in the "Plat of XYZ" recorded in the county's official records in Book aaa, Page bbb. Writing on the plat itself refers to the CC&Rs by book and page number in the county's record books. When a deed references a Plat any writing on the Plat is given the same weight as if it was written on the deed itself.

Any chance, Scott, that your deeds mention a plat and lot number? That way you could avoid having to check chains of title for each deed to verify the recorded restrictions for each lot.
ScottH21
(Florida)

Posts:4


03/29/2019 11:35 AM  
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Gino

So far my take is slightly different. The plat book reference on deeds refer to title - a legal description of the property. All of the deeds I have looked at so far reference the plat book.

But, as far as restrictions & limitations, all subsequent deeds examined so far do not specify the official records - only a generic statement in my original post.

As for the plat itself, I have examined that. The printed title on the document was 1979. However, all of the involved parties (surveyor, clerk of court, county commission and a couple of others) all signed it in early 1980. Nowhere on the plat itself does it reference official records for the restrictions - only where the plat is recorded (book and page.) So it does not / would not point a title searcher to the restrictions. I could follow your logic that if the deeds cited the plat and the plat cited official records of the restrictions, then that would satisfy the specificity and serve to preserve the restrictions. But unfortunately, it doesn't. :-(

I found a good article on the florida bar web site that spoke to the "specificity" of the official records (for restrictions - not just the plat.) Here is the link and below is the relevant excerpt:

https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-journal/the-marketable-record-title-act-made-easy/


"..........Item 7 is the most difficult to explain and to understand. During your post- root examination of muniments of title, you may find a reference to property rights which exist due to documents of title which are actually recorded prior to the root of title. A specific reference to a preroot property right in a muniment of title in the postroot part of the abstract will reimpose the preroot matter. Covenants or restrictions, for example, are reimposed by specific reference to the preroot document creating them, when such reference is made in a deed in the postroot chain of title, even though these same restrictions would be extinguished by MRTA if they were not specifically referred to in the postroot muniment.

It is most important to understand the statutory necessity of “specific reference.” This means the official records book and page or plat book and page where the reimposed preroot matter is recorded must be stated accurately in the postroot document in order to reimpose the preroot matter.17 A general reference such as “subject to restrictions of record” will not reimpose anything. It is interesting to note that the nature of legal descriptions used in a document of conveyance, such as “according to the plat thereof recorded in Plat Book 1, page 2” will reimpose title matters shown on the plat because of the specific reference to the plat.

Consequently, title matters shown on the face of plats are seldom eliminated by MRTA because they are continuously reimposed by specific reference to the plat in each subsequent deed or conveyance. References characterized by the words “subject to” with a citation to the book and page of the document creating the rights will reimpose those rights on the land. One result of this exception is to allow reimposition of matters for one lot in a subdivision when those restrictions have generally expired for most all of the lots in the neighborhood due to a reference made in the postroot chain of title for that lot.

As a result of this potential for reimposition of old property rights, when you are examining the postroot part of the abstract of title, you may be directed to documents in the preroot part of the abstract showing property rights created by a preroot document and thus reimposed on title."

(end of excerpt)


The link below is to a sample "root of title deed" from the developer to the first owner/resident. In it, you will see that it makes specific reference to the office records book and page for the restrictions (red arrow on the right)

https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-3rzSCM

All of the "postroot" deeds do not. I was slowly piecing the puzzle together as far as specific reference in the deed. This article by the Florida Bar put the last piece in as far as I can tell as to how restrictions on a property could be legally and automatically preserved.

ScottH21
(Florida)

Posts:4


03/29/2019 11:42 AM  
Gino,

I skimmed your post too quickly. After re-reading your post, I would have worded my reply differently when I said I have a "different take."

I see now that your restrictions were in fact preserved by virtue of that citation on the plat. Congratulations (if preservation was what you wanted..... or my condolences if not!)

I appreciate your suggestion to check.

Scott
ScottH21
(Florida)

Posts:4


03/29/2019 11:51 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 03/29/2019 10:07 AM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/28/2019 6:29 PM
I believe only a majority is required for revitalization - and, that all properties in the deeded package would be included.

That's my take on it, too. If a majority of the homes/lots/parcels vote in favor of revitalization then all homes/lots/parcels formerly subject to the deed restrictions will be included in the revitalized association whether they are in favor of it or not. The revitalization can include LESS homes than originally covered and the new CC&Rs can be LESS restrictive than the old expired ones, but not the other way around.




Ok. I understand that the committee can drag everyone back into the HOA.. even against their will. Similarly, then it would also be the committee's discretion to leave a lot out if the homeowner didn't want back in?

That is a lot of power left to a committee of three to reorganize and possibly reshape the HOA!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1227


03/29/2019 2:18 PM  
No one is dragging anyone anywhere ... likely your CCRs have an automatic clause that would extend your CCRs indefinitely 10 or 20 years at a time. Those property owners signed up knowing this - they are in it, period. No one can be left out or excepted when you revitalize.

MRTA is a Florida law ... it simply requires HOAs (with exceptions as have been noted) to preserve those CCRs to avoid being extinguished.

There is no reshaping - the committee simply puts together meetings to explain the process and helps collect signatures, etc usually with an attorney.

Now, if you mean they committee could, with the community, weaken the CCRs by making them less directive, then, perhaps that could be consider power - but, the community votes and if better than a majority, you collect signatures, fill out paperwork and file with Florida DEO (Department of Economic Opportunity) - wait for them to approve - viola!
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2959


03/30/2019 6:57 PM  
Posted By ScottH21 on 03/29/2019 11:35 AM
So it does not / would not point a title searcher to the restrictions. I could follow your logic that if the deeds cited the plat and the plat cited official records of the restrictions, then that would satisfy the specificity and serve to preserve the restrictions. But unfortunately, it doesn't. :-(

That is too bad. All of the deeds in my subdivision reference the Plat by book and page, and the plat itself references the CC&Rs also by Book & Page. My understanding of MRTA (not a lawyer) is that the deed restrcitions and CC&Rs are exempt from extinguishment by MRTA so long as the deeds refer to the named plat and the plat refers to the recorded CC&Rs.

But that interpretation wasn't the lawyer's interpretation back in 2012 (before I moved in) and the board paid the attorneys several thousand dollars to prepare and record a MRTA preservation package. Our new attorney has now offered to do it again, at a cost of several thousand dollars. The board is so dense they're leaning in favor of it. Not the brightest bulbs.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1227


03/30/2019 9:32 PM  
Geno,

Wouldn’t the preservation in 2012 run to 2042?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2959


03/31/2019 2:49 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/30/2019 9:32 PM
Geno,

Wouldn’t the preservation in 2012 run to 2042?

Yes. When I suggest to the board members that the 2012 preservation is good until 2042 it goes in one ear and out the other. I showed them the MRTA statute, their eyes glazed over, and they said, "But the attorney is recommending we do it." It's beyond frustrating.
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