Architectural Reviews

February is the time of year when those of us in Ohio start thinking about sunnier and warmer days to come. For many people, that means making plans for summer projects and improvements to their homes. Establishing architectural standards and reviewing applications for exterior improvements is one of the most important jobs for many HOA […]

ARC process now reflects HOA rules (MD)

The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors approved two resolutions to conform with the Maryland HOA Act related to Architectural Review Committee guidelines. The changes related to the workings of the committee and enforcement/notification of homeowners about violations.   Read the article…………………………..

Best to wait for written approval before starting project (NV)

Q: Back in January 2022, we submitted an Architectural Review Committee application to our subdivision HOA to add concrete steps leading to the front door and side concrete walkway on the right side of the front yard leading from the sidewalk to our side yard gate. They wanted a specific start and stop with the work, […]

The How-To’s of ACCs (TX)

A new year is quickly approaching and, after hours of inspiration from watching Fixer Upper, homeowners may be feeling inspired to add on to or remodel the exterior of their homes and update their landscaping. On top of that, the extended drought has led to many needing unexpected repairs, giving owners an excuse to undertake […]

Court won’t order owners to destroy houses (VA)

Where a homeowners’ association argued the court should order homeowners to tear down houses allegedly built in violation of the association’s covenants and restrictions, the court refused. Demolition of their homes would be grossly out of proportion with the relief sought.    Read the article………………………………..

Transparency in HOA’s architectural review process

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) play a crucial role in maintaining a neighborhood’s aesthetic and structural integrity. When homeowners want to make changes to the exterior of their homes, such as adding a new fence or changing its paint color, they often need approval from the HOA.    Read the article………………………..

Co-p and Condo Buyers Are Responsible for Previous Alterations

In 2005, a shareholder at an Upper East Side co-op renovated his apartment after signing an alteration agreement in which he took responsibility for any damages that might result from the alterations. The agreement carried an additional requirement: if the apartment was ever sold, the new purchaser had to agree to assume responsibility for these […]

The Importance of HOA Architectural Guidelines

An HOA does more than just set and enforce rules. Homeowners Associations really exist to help create a shared vision and establish a unified identity within communities. One of the ways they do this is through the use of architectural guidelines.   Read the article………………………..

Florida couple in dispute with Avalon Park HOA over decorative stones in yard

The Avalon Park Property Owners’s Association says the white rocks around Demeris and Jose Heinsen’s home violate the neighborhood by-laws. The couple got a letter saying they have two weeks to remove the stones, which the couple said was part of more than $10,000 worth of landscaping work.  Read the article………………………..

ACC Request Denied? Here are the Steps to Making a Proper Appeal

If you live in a community with an HOA, then you likely know that home improvement projects require approval from your association’s Architectural Control/Review Committee (ACC/ARC). While this extra step can feel tedious when you’re ready to break out the paint and tools, it is important as it helps your community maintain a cohesive look, […]

Are Swim Spas In Homeowners Associations Allowed? (NC)

It’s not uncommon to see swim spas in homeowners associations. Residents see it as a cheaper alternative to backyard pools, though not all communities might permit it. Homeowners should make sure to review their association’s governing documents before installing a swim spa. Similarly, HOA boards should approach the topic with caution to avoid potential liability.  […]

Boca Raton HOA Sues Resident Over Fence, House Color (FL)

In another example reaffirming that complying with a homeowner association’s rules is not optional in Florida, the Fieldbrook Estates property owner’s association is suing a homeowner over the removal of a fence, the repainting of a home in a color not approved by the HOA, and other cosmetic issues. The fence removal, according to a […]

Getting Approval For Home Renovations In HOA Communities

Homeowners typically need to secure approval for home renovations in HOA communities. And while the process can vary from one association to another, there are a few general guidelines you can follow.     Read the article………………………..

The Homeowner’s Guide to Architectural Review Requests

One of the greatest joys of being a homeowner is being able to make your space your own. However, when you live in a community with an HOA, you may find that there are some extra steps that are needed prior to making any changes to your home.   Read the article………………………..

What Projects Require HOA Approval? Plan Carefully Before Starting a Project

A new home project can be exciting, but there’s something that all homeowners in an HOA need to be aware of and that is whether the project requires approval or not. If a homeowner were to start a project that required approval but didn’t request it first, there could be consequences (these would depend on […]

Architectural Committees Formal Procedures, Published Standards, and Self Help (FL)

There are strict legal requirements that a homeowners’ association’s (HOA) architectural review committee (ARC) must follow, most especially if the ARC intends to deny an owner’s request. As this author has witnessed countless times, it is likely that many ARCs do not conduct their activities in conformity with Florida law such that an ARC denial […]

Orangecrest Country Cmty. Ass’n v. Burns (CA)

Homeowner Burns submitted an architectural request for various improvements to her property, one of which was the construction of six-foot high stucco walls in her front yard. The association’s architectural guidelines restrict owners from constructing walls or fences in their front yards. The association sent Burns a letter approving her proposed improvements with the following […]

Community Association Management and Architectural Controls

Architectural controls are necessary for an HOA’s ability to protect the homeowners’ investment and quality of life. Understanding architectural controls and how community association management can help with them can be a major advantage to a new community and its developers.  Read the article………………………..

What should you do if your HOA denies your project?

People who move into a neighborhood a homeowners’ association governs know that they will have to follow the rules of that HOA. It’s advisable to review those rules so you can ensure you comply with them.  Read the article………………………..

HOA Backyard Rules: What Can And Can’t Homeowners Do

When it comes to HOA communities, rules are normal. That is why homeowners living in these communities, as well as buyers who are still considering purchasing a home in these communities, should familiarize themselves with the rules of the association. These include HOA backyard rules.   Read the article………………………..

Association Can Adopt Architectural Guidelines (NV)

The Association was established in 1925 to manage land owned by a local Elks Club. In 1929 the Association began selling individual lots within the subdivision. Since then, the subdivision consisted of both individual lots held in private ownership and common property held by the Association.   Read the article………………………..

Refresher on the Architectural Approval Process (CA)

Most CC&Rs require owners of the separate interests to obtain association approval prior to making structural alterations or alterations to the exterior of their separate interests or common area.  Read the article………………………..

New Unpublished Opinion – ORANGECREST COUNTRY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION v. BURNS (CA)

Defendant Sandra Burns sought approval to build a wall across her front yard, and when her homeowners association said no, she built it anyway. After multiple attempts to get her to stop construction (and later to mediate the issue) failed, the association sued Burns, seeking a permanent injunction requiring her to remove the wall.   Read […]

How HOAs Can Successfully Handle ACC Variance Requests

Your association most likely has an Architectural Review Committee or ARC that handles approving homeowner renovations and exterior changes to enforce the deed restrictions.  These committees may have different names, such as the Modifications Committee (MC) or Architectural Control Committee (ACC) but are essentially the same thing.   Read the article……………………………

Condo Q&A: Can Owners Install Video Doorbells?

Question: Can an owner install a security camera to monitor his or her unit front door entrance area in a condo complex, and can the board approve this as an agenda item?  Read the Q&A……………………………….

Automatic Architectural Approval

Governing Documents commonly include a provision that the Board and/or Architectural Committee have a certain number of days to render a decision on an architectural application (e.g. 45 days from the date that the application is received), and failure to render a decision within that timeframe results in the application being considered approved.  Read the entire […]

Couple hoping to rebuild after Marshall Fire hits snag with HOA over style (CO)

“We talked to the architects, obviously, and said, ‘What happened here?’” Seth said. “And they said, ‘Well, we were under the impression there was — that was a guideline and there was flex room.’”  The HOA shared design guidelines adopted by the architectural committee with the whole community before the Goldmans submitted their plans, the […]

Adding a Little Free Library in a community association

Q: I love the concept of “Little Free Libraries” and would like to start my own, but I live in a community association that does not allow additional structures to be built. Do you know if they exist in community associations and how they got approved by the association board?   Read the Q&A……………………………….

Understanding Your Community’s Architectural Request Review Process

When you live in a community association, there are rules and regulations pertaining to the upkeep of the exterior of your property. But what if you’d like to make a change to your property, like paint your house or put up a new fence? That’s where the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) comes in. This group […]