Evicting a 3-Year-Old?

And now, for something completely different:

This is a bit of a detour from this blog’s typical focus. However, the issue raises some interesting questions:

Community Sues To Oust 3-Year-Old

Child With Drug-Addict Mom Lives With Grandparents

LARGO, Fla. — A Florida homeowners group wants 3-year-old Kimberly Broffman to take her Big Wheel and hit the road.

They’ve banded together to oust the toddler from their Tampa-area community, which bans residents under 18.

The child’s grandparents, Judie and Jimmy Stottler, admit Kimberly’s been living there in violation of homeowners’ association rules for three years. They said her mother has a drug problem, and isn’t capable of caring for the child.

The grandparents said they live on a fixed income and can’t afford to move until they sell their house. So far, there have been no takers to buy their house, even after they lowered the $189,000 asking price by $10,000 six months ago.

They also said they can’t afford to hire an attorney.

Judie Stottler supports the family with her $18,000-per year dishwashing job because Jimmy Stottler is disabled and is unable to work.

Judie Stottler’s friends told the St. Petersburg Times that they are worried.

“It is so ridiculous that this has gone so far,” said Keith Tinsley, a cook who works with her. “She’s trying her best to sell her house. It’s like they are trying to force her to put Kimberly in foster care.

“These people keep batting her down and batting her down. They’re just mean.”

Judie Stottler said she is scared that she wil lose her house before she is able to sell it.

“We don’t have any family to take us in,” Judie Stottler said.

The Lakes homeowners association filed suit to oust Kimberly last month.

Who do you side with?

My view: The HOA (Home Owner’s Association) rules are clear and the couple acknowledges they knew the rules, agreed to them, and that they were in violation when they allowed the child to reside with them. The HOA also appears to have been reasonably understanding and compassionate by allowing the child to remain for 3 years.

I understand that this must be a difficult situation, but on the face of it, the HOA appears to have given the couple ample time to resolve the problem. It would be nice to have some additional details on this, though – is this a situation where everything was fine and then someone had a bad day and decided to take action, or have there been repeated warnings etc. It may also simply be a case of the HOA deciding its rule would be voided by precedent if the violation continues to be ignored.

Ultimately, the HOA is well within their right to take action (the rules were clear and agreed to) and seem to have been patient so I would side with it.

Moral of the story: One more reason I would NEVER EVER sign my right off to an HOA. I know they work great for some but I prefer as much independence as possible for myself.

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