Homeowners Associations have value. They ensure that neighborhood standards are adhered to so that property values stay consistent, which can help protect your investment from otherwise unkempt neighbors who cast a shadow on you residence.
Although these Associations can do a lot of good for your neighborhood, you might find yourself coming into conflict with yours when you disagree with a certain decision that the HOA makes. This often happens when architectural plans are denied without proper justification.
The purpose of the architectural review committee
Your HOA probably has a group of people who review architectural plans and approve or deny them based on the neighborhood’s comprehensive aesthetic. This group polices covenants, conditions and regulations to ensure that residents in the neighborhood are in compliance, threatening to take action against those who violate them. As this committee reviews architectural proposals, they’ll compare them to applicable covenants, conditions and regulations and submit their recommendation to the HOA’s Board of Directors. This group will then approve or deny your request.
What should you do if your architectural request is denied?
If your request is denied, you need to make sure that you understand the justification behind the denial. This well help give your legal case some direction. If, for example, your plans were denied purely from a subjective point-of-view, you may have an opening to argue how your request abides by applicable covenants, conditions and regulations put in place by the HOA.
Also, HOAs sometimes deny architectural plans as violating aesthetic regulations despite the fact that the modification that you’re seeking is necessary to accommodate a disability. If this happens, you may need to follow up with the Board of Directors to get a clear indication of why your request was denied.
Keep in mind, homeowners’ associations have certain rules that they must follow too. If they fail to do so, you might have an opening to make a legal argument.
Once you have clarification
Once you know why your request was denied, you might want to think about taking legal action against the HOA, especially if you’ve already tried to resolve the matter informally. Here, you’re probably going to have to demonstrate how your request complies with the restrictions that you’ve agreed to by moving into the neighborhood, or how those restrictions have been unevenly applied in the past.
Therefore, you’ll need to not only scrutinize the restrictions that are in place but also assess how similar issues have been handled. You might need to use some legal maneuvering to gain access to the records that you need, and depositions might highlight key problematic aspects of the HOA’s application review process.
Depending on the specific terms in your HOA’s bylaws, covenants and regulations, your formal legal action may result in mandatory participation in alternative dispute resolution. This may include mediation or arbitration. If you’re going into this process, you need to not only know how to persuasively argue your case but you should also think through what sort of outcome you can live with. After all, negotiation and compromise are key to these sorts of alternative dispute resolution processes.
Do you need help navigating the complexities of your HOA dispute?
If so, you might want to consider reaching out to a legal team that has experience handling real estate law cases, including those related to HOAs. A legal advocate on one of these legal teams can help you assess your circumstances and determine your best course of action. Once a legal avenue is selected, your attorney can advocate on your behalf, making sure that the best legal arguments supporting your position are made in a compelling fashion.
Hopefully, with this type of support by your side, you’ll be able to win out over your HOA and retain the control over your property that you want.