Century Village condo owner cited for walking on grass

(WSVN) - People get slapped with violations and fines all the time in condo associations, but this is one Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser had never heard before: a condo owner got cited because she walked across the grass. Is that legal? Let’s see.

Find Gloria in her Century Village condo, and you will find a happy woman.

Gloria Bradshaw, cited for walking on grass: “I love in the inside, as you can tell, the lake. I like in the inside because it’s peaceful.”

But when she goes outside, the trouble starts.

Gloria Bradshaw: “I don’t think they want me here.”

Gloria says she has had problems in the 12 years she has lived here, but the latest episode was too much for her.

Patrick Fraser: “You got a letter in December that said what?”

Gloria Bradshaw: “Somebody told them that they saw me walking on the landscape to get to my car.”

That’s right. The letter from the management company said, “It was reported to our office” that Gloria was “walking through the landscape to get to your vehicle.”

Gloria Bradshaw: “It’s crazy. It’s really crazy, so I know they’re nitpicking.”

Gloria said this is what she was accused of doing: walking this way along the asphalt, across this small strip of grass, and stepping through the rocks to get to the sidewalk.

Gloria Bradshaw: “You see no sign saying it, ‘do not walk on landscape.'”

That was in December. In January, she got another letter. The management office would not tell Gloria who reported that she took the shortcut again, but now she was now facing a fine of a $100 a day, up to $1,000, even though Gloria says all her elderly neighbors take shortcuts.

Gloria Bradshaw: “You have to realize people have been walking on this landscape since I moved here and before I moved here, and you’re just making a big deal because I did it?”

Gloria didn’t want to get anyone else in trouble, but she has a lot of pictures of people doing the same thing she did, and has even talked to a couple of them about it.

Gloria Bradshaw: “I said, ‘Have you ever received a letter for walking on the landscape?’ They looked at me like you did. ‘What? That’s crazy. Never.'”

Gloria thinks being threatened with a $1,000 fine for doing this is just absurd.

Gloria Bradshaw: “If you’re going to make those rules for me, you’re going have to make them for everybody in Century Village. If not, then you’re discriminating against me, and it’s prejudice.”

Well, legally, can you be fined for walking across the grass and rocks to get to your car? Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “An association has the right to enact any rules that are reasonable, and they fine you for violating the rule. However, they have to have evidence, like a picture. An anonymous witness is not good enough, and most importantly, the rules must be enforced the same for everyone. Otherwise, it’s selective enforcement, and you cannot do that.”

We emailed and called the condo association. They didn’t respond.

Gloria then went to a grievance hearing. She said they had no pictures or witnesses to prove she walked on the grass and rocks.

She says they then decided to drop the threat of a fine and the violation.

Gloria Bradshaw: “If you say, ‘Don’t walk on the landscape,’ I’m not going to walk on the landscape.”

Gloria is happy the problem is resolved, and now just wants to sit and read her well-worn Bible … inside her home.

Gloria Bradshaw: “Because once I close that door, I’m not a loner, but I’m comfortable with myself. I can read my Bible, I can pray. I’m happy with me, to be honest.”

If you are sending violation notices for stepping on the grass, you must really have everything else on the property in perfect shape. And when is an association’s violation too petty? That’s up to the board to decide. If you think a rule is silly, get on the board and get rid of it.

Traveling a rocky road? Wanna take a nice shortcut? Contact us. We won’t let the grass grow under our feet while we’re  trying to help you.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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