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Subject: ambiguity in covenants regarding architectural control
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LeeS1


Posts:0


07/19/2006 11:16 PM  
The covenants state that the architectural control committee will not approve "room additions/alterations to existing homes."

A homeowner has submitted an application for a patio cover. While no one on the architectural control committee objects to it, and it would be in harmony with other houses, I feel that our hands are tied because of the term "alterations." My position is that the homeowners would need to amend their covenants to allow the addition of a patio cover. For me, the word 'alteration' is clear--if you go and add a patio cover, attached to the house, you are 'altering the house. Were the homeowner to get 3/4 of the owners to agree to an amendment to allow a patio cover, the committee would have no problem approving the application.

Some committee members feel that the word 'alterations' does not apply to a patio cover but is related to a major alteration, such as the room addition. In short, they don't believe that a patio cover constitutes an alteration.

What do others think?
GeraldT1


Posts:0


07/20/2006 9:07 AM  
LeeS1,

An ACC committee should never approve anything. The duties of an ACC should be limited to recommendations to the Board, and oversight regarding the installation of modifications that are approved by the covenants and rules and regs.

The patio cover is a modification which is a small alteration. Technically, you are correct, a 3/4 vote is necessary. However, if your ACC does not believe that a patio cover constitutes an alteration, than their recommendation to the Board should be just that. They should provide an explanation why adding a patio cover is not the process of making something different to an existing home.

It should then be up to the Boards to veto your ACC.

GeraldT1
JulieS
(Georgia)

Posts:412


07/20/2006 9:21 AM  
When our HOA was turned over to the homeowners, there was an ACC who was responsible for enforcing related covenants and design standards. This committee also sent out violation letters, reviewed and approved ACC requests. Due to the 'dictator' leader and lack of volunteers at the time, the ACC no longer exists as a separate committee and the Board of Directors is the ACC.

Depending on the age and style of your homes, you may want to update your covenants by amending to allow for additions, etc. With the real estate market slowing, many homeowners are chosing to remodel and expand on existing homes instead of buying new. I would ask myself why this rule was created and does it still apply to today's lifestyle and needs of our community.
LeeS1


Posts:0


07/20/2006 12:53 PM  
Some clarification (I am the originator of the question). Our ACC is an independent body--it exists whether there is an HOA. Our association has 35 units in it, each with their own covenants. The covenants are all different. Such a patio cover would be allowed in some, but not in others.

The hang-up is on the word 'alterations.' Someone putting on such a cover would need to get a building permit (required in our county for everything). You are adding a physical structure of sorts to the house. To me, that is an alteration. But I can't seem to convince anyone else that it is. As I said, none of us is opposed to a patio cover. The problem is the language in the covenants is, to me, clear. Others don't see it that way.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


07/20/2006 1:25 PM  
Lee, if you have no problem with patio covers then why not have the Board pass a resolution defining what is meant by "room additions/alterations to existing homes."

Since the wording is anbiguous it could be interpreted as "room additions/(and room)alterations to existing homes" or "room additions/(or any other) alterations to existing homes."
JulieS
(Georgia)

Posts:412


07/20/2006 1:36 PM  
The word 'alteration' to me means any change, whether it's changing the front door or putting on an addition to the home. I think I would change this wording in the covenants by amending them.
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