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Subject: Shed standards & specifications not published
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CharaeL
(Florida)

Posts:1


07/09/2019 10:41 AM  
I purchased a home in a community governed by a Homeowners Association. I immediately crossed an unknown line by purchasing a shed for the back yard. I was then given the "Declaration for Heritage Place". I prepared and submitted the 'Architectural Review Application" as required. It has been denied twice. I am now submitting an appeal on the grounds that we can't follow the rules and/or regulations if said rules are not readily available in writing.

The following is the exact wording of the rule governing storage.

11.39 Storage. No temporary or permanent utility shed, storage building, tent, or other structure or improvement shall be permitted and no other structure or improvement shall be constructed, erected, altered, modified or maintained without the prior approval of the ACC, which approval shall conform to the requirements of this Declaration. Any boat stored on a lot must be screened by landscaping, fencing or walls approved by the ACC so that such boat is not visible from the street. Water softeners, trash containers, barbecue grills, and other similar devices shall be properly screened from the street in a manner approved by the ACC.

There are 80 pages of the 'Declaration' and nowhere are the shed standards & specifications detailed or published. The ACC President verbally claims that the approved shed size is 10 X 10. My shed is 10 X 17... and it is located in a part of the yard that is NOT visible from anywhere in the front or sides of the house.

My objection is that boats are specifically approved on the condition that they be screened from view. Most family style boats have a larger overall mass than my shed. My shed is completely out of view, so why the repeated denials by the ACC?

What is the legal aspect of being required to follow rules that seem to be arbitrary and unpublished?
PestY
(South Carolina)

Posts:67


07/09/2019 12:31 PM  
Comply

Get an attorney and sue

Move



... pick one ...
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:202


07/09/2019 12:59 PM  
The community I manage has the same situation - sheds (and a bunch of other things) require approval, but there are no specifications. The honest answer is that the specs are whatever the current Architectural Review Committee wants them to be. I get that it seems unfair and arbitrary, and I think it's in the best interests of any ARC to have standards, rather than expecting owners to guess at what they might approve. But given what you've written, it seems unlikely that you're going to get the outcome you want.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3572


07/09/2019 4:06 PM  
2 sentences in what you quoted.
The 1st says prior approval is required.
The 2nd says prior approval is required.
If you asked for prior approval on a 10x17 shed, the answer would have been - No, the max is 10x10.
Why would you think that an appeal would get you a different response?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3123


07/09/2019 9:09 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 07/09/2019 12:59 PM
The honest answer is that the specs are whatever the current Architectural Review Committee wants them to be.

If they say the size limit is 10' x 10' then in order to dispute that you'll need evidence of other sheds larger than 10' x 10' on other lots. Otherwise, 10' x 17' isn't going to get approved. I agree that things like allowed maximum dimensions should be on paper somewhere and that homeowners should have easy access to those standards.

In Florida, courts in the last decade or so have begun to look with disfavor on vague and imprecise architectural standards. "Max size 10 x 10" is good. "Max size as determined by the ACC" is not good. Architectural restrictions should be specific. Of course, in a specific case where the governing documents only provide vague and subjective criteria, and a dispute arises, you need to go to court in order to get a ruling.

In Florida, before you can sue the HOA you have to file for pre-suit mediation. An attorney can tell you more about that. The Florida Statutes (Chapter 720) also talk about pre-suit mediation.
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