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My HOA has blocked the sidewalk which connects the gated part of our neighborhood from the ungated. They have given the code to those living behind the gate, but now I can't walk my dog back to the nature area behind the gate. The nature area is maintained by the CDD not the HOA, and the HOA administration company claims that I have no right to go back and see it even though I pay for it. How can I get the sidewalk gates taken down? I'm in Florida in an unincorporated part of the county.

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  • Which jurisdiction (country, province, principality, state etc) does your question relate to? – Rock Ape Mar 15 at 17:33
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    CDD = Community Development District. Question: Is there access to the CDD area otherwise, or is it fully enclosed in the gated community, or is t fully enclosed by the gated area and natural barriers? – Damila Mar 15 at 19:59
  • fully enclosed by the gate or lake. – Nate R Mar 16 at 13:20
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In a case such as this one, the answer boils down almost entirely to the exact language of the easement recorded in the public records, sometimes in a separate instrument, sometimes as writing on a recorded plat map, and sometimes both (and if it is in both places but the language isn't the same, you've got a real mess).

No statute or case law principle can tell you the right answer in a vacuum in the absence of this information (although there are several common law circumstances in which easements can be implied in law based upon additional detailed historical property ownerships and extrinsic evidence not found in the public record like the history of when it was used by whom), and it is likely that the interpretation of the scope of the easement has to be inferred from multiple separate provisions in different parts of the recorded governing instruments related to the easement.

As a practical matter, however, if you did provide us with that level of detail that would constitute specific legal advice which we don't do at Law.SE.

As a practical matter then, you need to have someone, either a lawyer or a title company, obtain all of the relevant recorded documents, learn as much as you can about the history of use of the easement and the history of property ownership leading up to the creation of the easement in the vicinity, and then hire a lawyer to make sense of it.

You can control the legal fees that you incur by having the title company (or in some parts of the U.S. a legal paraprofessional known as a "land man") get copies of as many relevant documents as you can find from the public record for you, and by developing a summary of the situation including as detailed a set of facts as possible about the most recent developments and everything that you can learn about the history of the use of the easement (e.g. when was the nature area created and by whom and who owns it and how does that relate to the timing of the community in between being gated). A Google image of the area would also help a lawyer evaluate the facts more quickly and hence with fewer billable hours and smaller fees.

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