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Subject: Architectural Committee Design Standards
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NancyB17
(Florida)

Posts:2


06/04/2019 12:55 AM  
Can an HOA Architectural Committee choose to approve only Vinyl fences if the CC&Rs says vinyl or wooden fences are authorized? I've read the CC&Rs and it states under Standards for Review and Approval: "The Design Review Board shall have the right to refuse to give its approval to the placement, construction, installation of any improvement on properties which in its sole and absolute discretion deems to be unsuitable, unacceptable or inappropriate."

The above sounds pretty clear however, in the Florida statute 720.3035 it states:

"Neither the association nor any architectural , or other such similar committee of the association shall enforce any policy or restriction that is inconsistent with the rights and privileges of a parcel owner set forth in the declaration of covenants or other published guidelines and standards authorized by the declaration of covenants."


Thank you for any feedback!
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2518


06/04/2019 6:38 AM  
Probably, but I would hope they would give a more substantial reason for the denial. For example, it may be the committee is now going with vinyl because it's more durable and easier to take care of than wood. Have you asked them? Is there an appeals process for denials - if so, use it.

As for the documents vs. the statutes, your CCRs say either wood or vinyl, so it would appear the statute would come into play if the committee was trying to do something completely outside the documents. You'd probably have to take the matter before a judge to determine if that something is appropriate or not.

AugustinD


Posts:1631


06/04/2019 12:47 PM  
Posted By NancyB17 on 06/04/2019 12:55 AM
Can an HOA Architectural Committee choose to approve only Vinyl fences if the CC&Rs says vinyl or wooden fences are authorized?


Not lawfully, no. The part of the CC&Rs you quoted does not give the Architectural Committee carte blanche to change the covenants. The statute you quote supports this. So does case law. Furthermore, if there is an ambiguity, case law says the HOA must err on the side of a member's free enjoyment of the land.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2960


06/04/2019 1:59 PM  
Hi, Nancy, I think the part you quoted about "in its sole discretion" is way too vague. In Florida, courts are increasingly looking at such language as "not specific enough". An association can enforce architectural standards if they are more objective, specific, and in writing somewhere as the "official" standards of the association. "I looked at it and I didn't like it," isn't good enough.

With that said, since your CC&Rs say wood or vinyl - those are pretty specific - I don't think the board or any committee can countermand that and demand one or the other. I don't think any adopted guidelines or standards could overrule that choice either. The CC&Rs can always be amended but short of that, the owner has the choice.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8347


06/04/2019 2:11 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 06/04/2019 1:59 PM
Hi, Nancy, I think the part you quoted about "in its sole discretion" is way too vague. In Florida, courts are increasingly looking at such language as "not specific enough". An association can enforce architectural standards if they are more objective, specific, and in writing somewhere as the "official" standards of the association. "I looked at it and I didn't like it," isn't good enough.

With that said, since your CC&Rs say wood or vinyl - those are pretty specific - I don't think the board or any committee can countermand that and demand one or the other. I don't think any adopted guidelines or standards could overrule that choice either. The CC&Rs can always be amended but short of that, the owner has the choice.




Geno

We agree they cannot but I expect we might agree they often do.
NancyB17
(Florida)

Posts:2


06/05/2019 6:35 AM  
Thank you all for your responses. Much appreciated. Thought maybe I was missing something here as I kept drawing the same conclusion. So, being able to bounce it off some that are more familiar with HOA law than I was very helpful.
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