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ARCHITECTURAL COMMITTEE DUTIES

Q. 
I am on the board of directors of my homeowners association located in Long Beach. We have an architectural committee. Traditionally, the architectural committee has been concerned with building code compliance. Is this an appropriate matter to be commented upon by an architectural committee?

A. 
No. Architectural committees should be concerned about compliance with the CC&Rs, Rules and Regulations and the appearance of proposed modifications. Compliance with building codes should be left to the local city or county. If your architectural committee assumes responsibility for making comments on possible code violations, it places your association in a position to be held liable in the event that it makes an error in judgment. There is no reason for an association to assume that responsibility. Top


RIGHT TO VIEW

Q. 
I have an incredible view from my townhouse.  Do I have a legal right to a permanent unobstructed view?

A. 
A property owner has no natural right to an unobstructed view unless created by the legislature, local government or by private parties through either an easement or CC&R provision. Top


SATELLITE DISHES

Q. 
Under the FCC rules, does an owner within a homeowner association have the right to install a satellite dish within the common area?

A. 
No. Top


SATELLITE DISH RULES

Q. 
How do I learn more about Satellite Dish Antenna Rules for homeowner associations?

A. 
Visit Satellite Dish Antenna Rules on our website. Top


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Q. 
Our homeowners association has a restriction against members attaching anything, including lighting, to the common area.  The common area includes the roofs and exteriors of the buildings.  We interpret this to mean that members cannot attach Christmas lights to the exteriors of their townhomes.  Can the board make an exception to the restriction so members can put up their lights?

A. 
I believe your board will be safe in making a temporary exception to the restriction, however, don’t be shocked if someone complains.

Any rule concerning Christmas lights should include the following:

1)      The first date they may be installed,

2)      The last date for their removal,

3)      Any limits on the number of lights permitted (if applicable),

4)      The type of hardware permitted to be used for installation, and

5)      Any daily fine to be imposed if the lights are not removed on time. Top


ARCHITECTURAL RESTRICTIONS

Q. 
Our homeowner association’s board of directors serves as the architectural committee of the association.  We recently submitted an application to the architectural committee before having our home painted.  The color is not an approved color and therefore, the architectural committee  rejected the application.  Can they do this?

A. 
Yes.  A board of directors may exercise its discretion and aesthetic judgment in deciding whether to approve or disapprove an application for an architectural change provided that its decision is made in good faith and is reasonable.  In making such decisions, association boards have wide latitude. Top


VIOLATION OF ARCHITECTURAL REQUIREMENTS

Q. 
May our homeowners association record a “Notice of Violation of CC&Rs” against a member’s property for a serious architectural violation?

A. 
No.  Recordation of such a notice is not permitted.  However, such a notice is required by law to be provided to a prospective purchaser by the owner of the subject property. Top


TOWNHOUSE OR CONDOMINIUM

Q. 
What is the difference between a townhouse and a condominium?

A. 
A townhouse is an architectural style, whereas a condominium is a legal form of ownership.
Townhouses are homes generally constructed in rows and are never stacked one on top of the other. They are normally multi-story homes with an attached garage at the lowest level. A townhouse may be a condominium, but it may also be part of a planned development or an apartment building.
A condominium consists of an undivided interest in common in a portion of real property coupled with a separate interest in space called a unit. Top


BIDS

Q. 
Should our association board expect our management company to write bid specifications?

A. 
No. Your board should ask the management company to have appropriate experts write bid specifications. The expert who writes the specifications should not submit a bid for the work in order to keep him or her as objective as possible. For large projects, the board should consider hiring a construction manager. Top


NOTICE OF NON COMPLIANCE

Q. 
Can our homeowner association legally record a document against a lot within our community that would put a future buyer on notice that the home is in violation of our architectural requirements?

A. 
No. Up until a few years ago, an association could record a Notice of Noncompliance with the County Recorders Office describing any violation of the CC&Rs. The process worked very well in protecting associations as well as potential buyers. Unfortunately, an activist court over – ruled the State Legislature making the notice procedure unlawful.  Top


 

 

Permission to reprint our HOA Questions and Answers is granted provided Michael T. Chulak & Associates (MTCLaw.com) is credited as the source.

 

 




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