||COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, FOURTH DISTRICT
||1975.FL.40741; 309 So. 2d 180
||March 14, 1975
||HIDDEN HARBOUR ESTATES, INC., APPELLANT,
BRADFORD E. NORMAN AND EVELYN E. NORMAN, APPELLEES
||Walter M. Meginniss, of Crary, Buchanan
& Meginniss, Stuart, for appellant.
||Harold W. Long, Jr., Stuart, for appellees.
||Downey, Judge. Owen, C.j., and Cross, J.,
||The question presented on this appeal is
whether the board of directors of a condominium association may adopt a
rule or regulation prohibiting the use of alcoholic beverages in certain
areas of the common elements of the condominium.
||Appellant is the condominium association
formed, pursuant to a Declaration of Condominium, to operate a 202 unit
condominium known as Hidden Harbour. Article 3.3(f) of appellant's
articles of incorporation provides, inter alia, that the association shall
have the power "to make and amend reasonable rules and regulations
respecting the use of the condominium property." A similar provision
is contained in the Declaration of Condominium.
||Among the common elements of the condominium
is a club house used for social occasions. Pursuant to the association's
rule making power the directors of the association adopted a rule
prohibiting the use of alcoholic beverages in the club house and adjacent
areas. Appellees, as the owners of one condominium unit, objected to the
rule, which incidentally had been approved by the condominium owners
voting by a margin of 2 to 1 (126 to 63). Being dissatisfied with the
association's action, appellees brought this injunction suit to prohibit
the enforcement of the rule. After a trial on the merits at which
appellees showed there had been no untoward incidents occurring in the
club house during social events when alcoholic beverages were consumed,
the trial court granted a permanent injunction against enforcement of said
rule. The trial court was of the view that rules and regulations adopted
in pursuance of the management and operation of the condominium "must
have sone reasonable relationship to the protection of life, property or
the general welfare of the residents of the condominium in order for it to
be valid and enforceable." In its final judgment the trial court
further held that any resident of the condominium might engage in any
lawful action in the club house or on any common condominium property
unless such action was engaged in or carried on in such a manner as to
constitute a nuisance.
||With all due respect to the veteran trial
judge, we disagree. It appears to us that inherent in the condominium
concept is the principle that to promote the health, happiness, and peace
of mind of the majority of the unit owners since they are living in such
close proximity and using facilities in common, each unit owner must give
up a certain degree of freedom of choice which he might otherwise enjoy in
separate, privately owned property. Condominium unit owners comprise a
little democratic sub society of necessity more restrictive as it pertains
to use of condominium property than may be existent outside the
condominium organization. The Declaration of Condominium involved herein
is replete with examples of the curtailment of individual rights usually
associated with the private ownership of property. It provides, for
example, that no sale may be effectuated without approval; no minors may
be permanent residents; no pets are allowed.
||Certainly, the association is not at liberty
to adopt arbitrary or capricious rules bearing no relationship to the
health, happiness and enjoyment of life of the various unit owners. On the
contrary, we believe the test is reasonableness. If a rule is reasonable
the association can adopt it; if not, it cannot. It is not necessary that
conduct be so offensive as to constitute a nuisance in order to justify
regulation thereof. Of course, this means that each case must be
considered upon the peculiar facts and circumstances thereto appertaining.
||Finally, restrictions on the use of
alcoholic beverages are widespread throughout both governmental and
private sectors; there is nothing unreasonable or unusual about a group of
people electing to prohibit their use in commonly owned areas.
||Accordingly, the judgment appealed from is
reversed and the cause is remanded with directions to enter judgment for
||OWEN, C.J., and CROSS, J., concur.