Sebastian, FL asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Rights for Florida

Q: can a condo association ban a person from own unit for not wearing a mask

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2 Lawyer Answers
Richard Paul Zaretsky
Richard Paul Zaretsky
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Interesting you say this is Civil Rights. I am not sure what civil right you refer to. There is no civil right to put your neighbor in harm's way. "Do unto your neighbor as you would do unto yourself." Does that sound familiar?

So with that in mind, the Association most likely has the ability to fine you for not wearing a mask, and the fines can be successive and increase each time - from any starting point to almost any dollar amount for flagrant violations. These fines probably become a lien upon your condominium, that if not paid, can be foreclosed.

Therefore the answer is they probably cannot "ban" you from entry to the building under the condo regulations, but they can probably fine you.

My use of "probably" is because i have not seen your particular condominium documents.

However if you mix in local government requirements for mandatory mask wearing in public buildings, you condominium common area property probably qualifies as a place where by law, mandatory mask wearing is required not only of the person that has to wear the mask, but mandatory enforcement by the owner of the public property - meaning the condominium association. If the association does not enforce the law, the association can be fined. So in regard to the local ordinance, if it exists, yes - you can be refused entry onto the common area property which likely means you cannot get to your condominium unit without properly wearing a mask.

Use common sense and realize that civil right are used to create and maintain a civil society. Wantonly putting your neighbors at risk is the opposite of civil society. People have to care for each other - or there is chaos. At some point in time you moved to a condominium because of the organization and order (rules and regulations) under which you wanted to live. What changed?

Barbara Billiot Stage agrees with this answer

A: It's depends on what you mean by "banning." The Condominium Act gives broad sweeping powers to the Board of Directors of a condominium association (COA) during a state of emergency. Those powers include the discretion to do what is necessary to protect the life, safety and health of the members. It is very likely the COA can prohibit you from using common areas without a face mask during a public health crisis, even if you need to use those common areas to get to your unit. The issue is whether or not you are willing to pay a lawyer $300 per hour or more to find out or wear the $20 mask. We are faced with a pandemic that will not go away unless everyone does their part to stop the spread.

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