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What to do when an an HOA architectural committee rejects your house plans

Q: My homeowners’ association (HOA) maintains a community-wide irrigation system in our neighborhood. The community’s restrictive covenants state that if an individual homeowner damages the system, he will be liable for the cost of repairs. The irrigation system is over 20 years old and there have been many repairs and upgrades to the system as a result of leaks. Recently one of the underground lines ruptured and flooded my basement. The HOA claims it’s not responsible for paying for the damage to my basement because the casualty wasn’t the result of its negligent or intentional conduct. Can you clarify why the HOA isn’t responsible for damage done by an irrigation system that it is required to maintain?

Q: Our board is foreclosing on a condominium unit within our homeowners’ association. One of the board members is considering bidding on the unit when it goes for public sale at the courthouse. Is it considered a conflict of interest for a board member to profit from a foreclosure decision that he was a part of?

The challenge to any Architectural Review Committee (ARC, ACC or ARB) is to make the review process an added value to the homeowner so that the product at the end of the process is better because of it. This requires an owner to engage with the ARC in the early stages of design.

Note: This week’s column was written by J. Richard Alsop, AIA. Alsop is a partner in Charette Architects, PLLC. He advises more than a dozen HOA architectural review committees in the Carolinas and Florida.

Note: This week's column was written by Bob Freitag of AmeriClaims, Inc., a firm of public insurance adjusters in Indian Trail that represents individuals, organizations, and businesses after a property disaster.

Note: This week’s column was written by Bob Freitag of AmeriClaims, Inc., a firm of public insurance adjusters in Indian Trail that represents individuals, organizations, and businesses after a property disaster.

Q: The developer of our community has turned over control of our homeowners association (HOA) to the homeowners, and we have now elected our first board of directors.

Q: Can a homeowners’ association (HOA) develop a “policy” to levy fines against homeowners for various violations of rules that are not a part of the covenants? If such a policy is developed and implemented, don’t the homeowners have to vote to amend the covenants?

Q: We recently held our annual homeowners’ association (HOA) meeting, and two homeowners sent relatives to the meeting who were not residents and were not listed as owners on the deed to any property in our community. One of the individuals had a temporary power of attorney for the meeting. Is it legal for these individuals to vote at our annual meeting, and if so, to what extent may they participate in the meetings?

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Michael Hunter
Charlotte attorney Michael Hunter focuses on community and condominium association law for the firm of Horack Talley. E-mail questions.