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Florida Real Estate Case Law Review

Amy BalesResidential Restrictive Covenant – Neighbor Veto

Leamer v. White,40 Fla. L. Weekly D283

(Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

 

The Whites and the Leamers lived in adjoining luxury Florida waterfront townhomes. The Florida townhomes are subject to a declaration of covenants, conditions, restrictions and easements. The restriction that is the subject of the lawsuit states that lighting systems which may be offensive to adjacent neighbors are unacceptable. Mr. Leamer installed landscape lighting in May 2012 and Mr. White complained to the architectural review board claiming that the lighting was offensive. The board’s position was that Mr. White could veto the installation of the lighting under the “neighbor veto” provision of the restriction.

After attempts to resolve the issue between the two neighbors failed, Mr. White filed suit seeking a temporary and permanent injunction against Mr. Leamer to prevent him from operating the lights. The trial judge entered summary judgment in favor of Mr. White. Mr. Leamer filed an appeal. The First District Court disagreed that the restriction included a neighbor veto but found that the concerns of adjoining property owners could be taken into account by the architectural review board. The appeals court reversed and vacated the judgment in favor of Mr. White and directed the entry of a judgment in favor of the Leamers holding that no neighbor veto existed.