KISSIMMEE, Fla. – If you live in the Turnberry Reserve Neighborhood in Kissimmee, your trash cans and recycling carts better not be in plain sight or the Home Owners Association will take them away.
The HOA ‘s line in the sand came in the form of emails warning residents that any trash cans and recycling carts in plain view on non-trash days would be removed.
On Aug. 28 a landscape crew walked on the property of an estimated 80 residents took them out of the neighborhood and dropped them off about 14 miles away at a St. Cloud recycling plant.
Noemi Vazquez has lived in the neighborhood for eight years , she thinks the whole ordeal is just another "a power play."
Vazquez says the neighborhood has been dealing with HOA politics that in her view has turned childish.
"If we told you how many times the police have been here for HOA issues you would just be blown away," she says.
Florida Attorney Eric Glazer, an expert in state HOA and Condo law says based on existing law the HOA went "too far."
Glazer says the HOA officers had a number of "legal remedies" including fines or mediation instead he says they chose "theft."
"They actually entered upon somebody's property and actually stole those people's garbage cans." Glazer said.
The Osceola County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.
The HOA's attorney sent a certified letter to Osceola County, Waste Management and the Sheriff's office explaining where the recycling carts would be taken.
The HOA has directed their law firm not to comment
But in the certified letter their attorney cites a clause in the HOA covenants that states: "The association is authorized to enter the owner's property and correct the owners violation."
Glazer says in his opinion they misinterpreted their own by-laws.
"So sure the violation could have been corrected if someone went on the owner's property and moved it (trash bin) out of plain site, they didn't do that… don't over think it, it's theft," he said.
An HOA law did go into effect on July 1 but it doesn't address interpretation of HOA rules and regulations .
Additional changes to the HOA statutes will be introduced in the next legislative session in Tallahassee.
County officials say 37 of the resident's trash cans are located at the St. Cloud Transfer Station site, at 2705 Peg Horn Way in St. Cloud.
Residents are asked to call first for directions to the office and for operating hours - Osceola County Solid Waste 407-742-7750.