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Subject: Variance Request Specifications
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JuneC7
(New York)

Posts:1


06/13/2019 7:48 AM  
I have a question that concerns variance requests for Vinyl Fencing installation in my condo community.

We have vendors/suppliers/manufacturers of varying levels of quality, both in product and installation.

Can the Board specify what vendor(s) to use to install the fencing as part of the variance request documentation?

We would disallow the request if non-OK vendor is selected. Is this legal for us to do?

Thanks, June (Board Member)
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


06/13/2019 8:08 AM  
Yes. They may be trying to keep consistency throughout the community.
ND
(PA)

Posts:349


06/13/2019 8:32 AM  
Legal? You'll have to seek a lawyer's opinion. In my opinion though, this is a tough call to make . . . things to think about with that approach:
- I suppose DIY fence install by anyone in your HOA would be completely out of the question.
- Do you plan to evaluate installations of all vendors w/in a 50-mile radius to determine acceptability or not?
- When fence installation "competition" is limited to a handful of contractors, who is making that decision? It that decision completely without prejudice? Is someone getting kickbacks? Is there a conflict of interest? (Potential questions/suspicion from HOA members.)
- What happens when a new contractor pops up or an approved one goes out of business?
- What if approved vendor installs in a manner deemed not acceptable to Arch Committee or BOD? Who foots the bill for alterations/changes since this was a BOD-approved vendor?
- What happens when your approved vendors collude to charge higher rates for your members because they know other vendors are not allowed to compete?


Personally I think this is overreaching. BOD/Committee should define how things should look (for consistent aesthetics) and enforce to that standard. The Member selects the product and installation that fits their budget/preference. Only when things are installed not IAW what was approved or, over time fall out of compliance with the defined, approved, consistent look/standard does the BOD/Committee become involved again.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:162


06/13/2019 11:29 AM  
I think it is legal and smart. I would want to control anything that affects the common elements.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2701


06/13/2019 3:32 PM  
We aren't lawyers, so if you want an answer to a legal question, talk to your association attorney.

I suspect your documents don't dictate which vendor to use so it might be ok, but companies go out of business or are bought out by others, so I'd be less concerned with who installs the fence and more about the style, color, material, etc., which the board could dictate. You're correct that some companies are better than others, but given the cost of vinyl fences, that's really between the homeowner and whoever he/she chooses. If they don't want any static from the board, they'll do their due dilligence when selecting a company.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8733


06/13/2019 5:30 PM  
I think it is acceptable for a BOD to have recommended vendors. Not only acceptable, but helpful for owners. That said, there must be multi vendors to choose from otherwise it could be "questionable".
CjC


Posts:197


06/14/2019 5:23 AM  
IN our HOA we specify a certain product but you can source it from whoever you want. Since you are responsible for the upkeep, if you choose a vendor that does not install correctly, you are on the hook for the repair or replacement. Most people understand to go with a reliable one, it will save money in the long run.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


06/14/2019 5:24 PM  
JuneC7, can you post verbatim what your HOA's covenants say about fences, vinyl fences, and under what conditions "variances" may be granted? Also please post exactly why the member is asking for this variance. I think "variance" can mean a lot of things, ranging from a request to do something that the covenants specifically disallow, to a request made pursuant to what the architectural section of the covenants permits if the Board (or Architectural Committee yada) approves.
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