Serving in a Gated Community

Did you know that, by law, those working at the entrances of gated communities must grant process servers entry to the property?

According to Florida Statute 48.081 (7), “A gated residential community, including a condominium association or a cooperative, shall grant unannounced entry into the community, including its common areas and common elements, to a person who is attempting to serve process on a defendant or witness who resides within or is known to be within the community.”

If the worker on duty refuses to comply, the process server can call the local authorities, and he/she can and will be arrested. ♦

 

Transcript:

The security officer on duty must let you in. By statute, he has to allow you to get to the front door of the residence that you’re going to. And he has no right to ask you who you’re going to serve because under Florida Statute, I think it’s 841 or 843, it has to do with obstruction. He cannot stop you.

Yes, he has to let you in. If he refuses, then you call the local police. I had this happen to me down in Miami-Dade County at one of those big tall high-rise buildings at the end of South Beach, those multicolored, pink and whatever color they are. The security captain came out and told me I was not going to go up to the residence because the elevator opened up into the residence and that was private property. I said, “I’ll just stand in the elevator.” He said, “No. I’m not allowing you up.” I called the police, Metro Dade came over, I showed them the statute, they read it, they went over to the captain and they said, “You have to let him up.” He said, “I’m not gonna do it.” They flipped him around and put handcuffs on him. They told him, “You have two choices. You’re gonna go to jail for obstruction or you’re gonna take this man up in the elevator and we’ll go with you.” He did. The doors opened up, I stuck my head in.

“Mr. Smith?”

“Yeah, yeah, what do you want?”

“You’ve been served.”

Down the elevator.

I’m not sure exactly. It’s an obstruction statute.

They’re not allowed (to call the people to tell them you’re coming). You don’t even have to tell them where you’re going. It’s part of the statute. In Broward County, we all carry around a letter from the sheriff that encourages the security guard to cooperate with us and gives them the consequences.