Tag Archives: autistic

A Dark Cloud Over St. Cloud, Florida

guest blog by Nila Ridings

First a little back story about the connections we are making in our fight for justice in HOAs. This time our focus is on a boy in the ESPRIT HOA near Orlando, Florida.

A few weeks ago I was reading a story that was posted on Facebook about an HOA issue. Many comments were made but one stood out for me. It was a man stating his son had special needs and the HOA was refusing to allow a fence around their back yard. I responded to his comment by mentioning he should talk to Dave Russell. Shortly thereafter, Dave Russell came across my comment and took the time to send his personal phone number to the gentleman.

Once Dave talked with Shawn Seekings and learned his son has Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHA, and Epilepsy and his wife, Kristin is pregnant, he took action. As we all know, Dave Russell is a property manager in Arizona and understands the laws pertaining to fair housing and he has connections to the media. Shawn knows the fair housing laws as well. He had already contacted the government agency that he hoped would give him some assistance. But time is of the essence because Kristin is not able to chase the child since he moves much faster than her these days.

The HOA will only allow an open-spaced wrought iron fence. Shawn knows his son will scale that fence and be at risk with the alligators in the water directly behind their house. He has a letter from his son’s doctor outlining his conditions and the need for a vinyl fence. The vinyl would be a surface his son could not climb up and over. On the other side of the HOA the homeowners have vinyl fences, but next to the alligator pit they only allow wrought iron.

I know. I know. It makes no sense to me either! After seeing a video of an alligator that took one bite and removed the plastic bumper from a truck I would want an eighteen inch thick concrete wall around my yard!

In an HOA the rules are the rules and the dictators on the board always follow them except when it applies to them or one of their cronies. They fail to recognize HOAs cannot legally override or violate a federal law. According to attorney S. David Cooper this HOA is violating the Fair Housing Act. The attorney for the HOA will not return phone calls. And, now another child that just needs to go outside and play remains in the middle of an HOA battle!

A special thank you to Louis Bolden of WKMG6 for reporting this story. Long ago we learned the only way to solve HOA issues without nasty expensive litigation is to turn the cameras on and have the reporters take control. I laughed when the property manager decided she should give the reporter some advice to which he responded he didn’t need any advice!

HOAs…they are a guaranteed headache!

(link to Orlando Sentinel article on autistic child’s treatment by HOA)