Realtor Bobbi Engelke Says Palmetto Place Has No Mask Rule, Can’t Fine For Non-Compliance
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A Boca Raton Realtor who is selling her home in Palmetto Place — a large, upscale condominium building near Mizner Park — is fighting a $5100 fine she received for not wearing a mask in the building.
Bobbi Engelke tells BocaNewsNow.com that the fine appeared on her estoppel statement which she just received as she prepares to sell her unit. The alleged violation occurred in late spring.
“The condo association is doing all this contrary to the Florida statute, to the Governor’s executive order and to the Palm Beach County emergency order” Engelke told BocaNewsNow.com.
Engelke, who claims she has a medical exemption to mask use but wouldn’t specify her medical condition, said she believes the order by Governor DeSantis invalidating all mask-related fines applies to her. But several lawyers speaking with BocaNewsNow.com say that’s not true — that the DeSantis order only applies to government agencies, not a private HOA.
“HOA’s can assess fines,” said an attorney who wished to remain anonymous due to his work with other associations in the area. “The Governor’s order does not have anything to do with an HOA’s power to enforce rules and regulations.”
But Engelke says there is no mask rule in the building. She says the condominium board never approved its own mask or facial covering order, so asserts the board is enforcing a rule that doesn’t exist. Engelke also points to Florida Statute Chapter 720 Section 305 which limits most fines within an HOA to $100 per occurrence. There is no indication, in multiple documents reviewed by BocaNewsNow.com, that Engelke violated any mask mandate 51 times.
First Service Residential, Palmetto Place’s management company, did not respond to a request for information from BocaNewsNow.com.
Engelke says she is being singled out because she is preparing to move. First Service Residential can stop the sale if she doesn’t pay the fine. Other people have been fined, she said, but no enforcement action has been initiated against anyone but her.
“If the association does not remove this from the estoppel certificate, or if they try to impose and enforce a fine, I will sue,” she said. “The condo association has had eight months to enact a rule requiring facial coverings and to have the community vote on the rule. It did not.”
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