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Subject: Neighbor is non compliant
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Author Messages
JeffS32
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/16/2020 5:57 AM  
Hello. Our HOA rules clearly specify that no flood lights be placed onto your home without written consent of the HOA management. The way our subdivision is laid out, the back of my house and backyard is at a 90 degree angle with the neighbor who has a motion detector flood light and this light shines directly into my home.
I filed a few complaints to the board about this issue and over 2 months time, nothing has changed except the common response of that the HOA sent him a violation letter, fined him and verbally told him to remove the light.
It seems to me the light will not be removed and the board admitted to me that they have limited power.
What is my next step? Can I hire an attorney and go after the neighbor and association?
I am a disabled veteran with a disease affecting many things especially my eye sight. Having this light shine into my house for 4 hours every night is making my eye sight worse.
Please help. I am in Tucson Arizona and we just moved here in April. Thanks.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3411


11/16/2020 6:15 AM  
Jeff,

Interesting question.

I am not knowledgable of AZ statute, but it sounds like your HOA responded correctly - to a point.

Someone will be along to offer advice on how to write formal letters to the HOA, demanding they act, and this is the start.

You may, in the end, need to do exactly as you noted - bring in an attorney to sue both the other owner and the Board, but you should carefully follow a process to ensure you are successful if this occurs.
JeffS32
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/16/2020 6:50 AM  
GeorgeS21,
Thank you for the reply. I tried to attach a pic but got an error.
AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/16/2020 7:20 AM  
Review your HOA's governing documents (Bylaws and CC&Rs). What do they say about individual owners seeking enforcement of the rules)?

What do your covenants (not just the rules) say about flood lights?

Chances are high that you are stuck with hiring an attorney. You may be justified in sending demand letters to both the HOA and the neighbor. Whether it is appropriate to do so depends on what your Bylaws and CC&Rs say.

Per chance does the fines schedule increase the fine every month for a continuing violation?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/16/2020 9:48 AM  
Do you know much time the violator has to remove the light per the Board's decision? It might help if you ask the Board to pease put their decision that he must move the light in wiring. "Verbally" is truly sloppy. their decision needs to be in writing, must state by when he met remove the light, and what, if anything per your docs, will happen if he doesn't.

Along with Augie's advice about looking at your documents, while you're at it, do your CC&Rs allow the Board or its agents to enter private property to correct violations??? It's a common clause, but, of course, must be handled very carefully. Let's see f you have that clause before fi further advice about how to correct the violation.

I think it's too early for any attorney.
JeffS32
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/16/2020 10:18 AM  
Thank you to everyone for their replies. I just received an email from the management company (we are forming our own HOA board of directors on Thursday). Email states that the resident submitted an architectural request to put a shield on said flood light to direct light down. I was told the same thing 1 month ago. Never happened. The manager said another violation notice was being set out. My response back was ok, a shield on an illegally installed flood light. Does not make sense and plus the mgr said that since he submitted the arch request, that litigation is not necessary. What? I am hoping that once our board of directors is formed (I also am in the running to be elected) that something will be done. Thanks all.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10130


11/16/2020 10:26 AM  
Jeff

Check out pellet rifles.
AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/16/2020 10:56 AM  
Posted By JeffS32 on 11/16/2020 10:18 AM
My response back was ok, a shield on an illegally installed flood light. Does not make sense and plus the mgr said that since he submitted the arch request, that litigation is not necessary. What?
Giving a legally informed response is impossible until you quote verbatim what your governing documents say on the topic of flood lights and what variances the ARC/Board has the authority to grant. If you do not want to dig into the wording, fine. Hire an attorney. If you quote the wording exactly, much more constructive help may be forthcoming here.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/16/2020 10:59 AM  
Hmmm: Is it a "flood" light if it has a shield on it?

Are you saying, Jeff, that your HOA has no board of directors t all? Or that the developer & their people compare the current board?
AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/16/2020 11:01 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/16/2020 10:56 AM
Posted By JeffS32 on 11/16/2020 10:18 AM
My response back was ok, a shield on an illegally installed flood light. Does not make sense and plus the mgr said that since he submitted the arch request, that litigation is not necessary. What?
Giving a legally informed response is impossible until you quote verbatim what your governing documents say on the topic of flood lights and what variances the ARC/Board has the authority to grant. If you do not want to dig into the wording, fine. Hire an attorney. If you quote the wording exactly, much more constructive help may be forthcoming here.
By the way, the first thing an attorney will want to see is your HOA's Bylaws and CC&Rs. Where I am just a review of these by an attorney costs $2000 or so. You can pay the $2000 or so, or you can dig into the governing documents yourself and get a pretty good feel from hoatalk members about what your legal rights are.
JeffS32
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/16/2020 11:09 AM  
Taken out of the by laws:
(These are all new homes, he is the original owner)
"23. LIGHTS. Except as initially installed by Declarant or any Declarant Affiliate, no spotlights, floodlights or other high intensity lighting shall be placed or utilized upon any lot, or any structure erected thereon, which in any manner will allow light to be directed or reflected on any other property except as approved by the Reviewing Authority."

I was just told by the manager that since this neighbor put in an architectural request for a cover on this light, he will not be considered to be in violation and therefore can be chosen as a board member. Putting a fix to something that shouldn't be allowed in the first place.

I put in a call for an attorney dealing in HOA cases and they want $200 just to say hello. Maybe I can get the Disabled Veteran or American Disability Act to help me?
AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/16/2020 11:19 AM  
Posted By JeffS32 on 11/16/2020 11:09 AM
Taken out of the by laws:
(These are all new homes, he is the original owner)
"23. LIGHTS. Except as initially installed by Declarant or any Declarant Affiliate, no spotlights, floodlights or other high intensity lighting shall be placed or utilized upon any lot, or any structure erected thereon, which in any manner will allow light to be directed or reflected on any other property except as approved by the Reviewing Authority."
The "except as approved by the reviewing Authority" means you are out of luck, legally, pursuing this as a violation of the covenants on floodlights.

The other avenue you want to raise with an attorney is whether the floodlight violates nuisance clauses in your CC&Rs or Rules. You may as well call the City and ask if they have ordinances on lighting as well, just to cover all possible bases.

You could also file a complaint with your HOA/Condo complaining that the light violates the nuisance clause.


Posted By JeffS32 on 11/16/2020 11:09 AM
Maybe I can get the Disabled Veteran or American Disability Act to help me?
It's the Fair Housing Act that covers discrimination in housing on the basis of disability. You would have to argue that installation of the floodlight (even with the re-directing cover) aggravates your disability.

It's going to be a tough battle to win, on account of the owner with the floodlight having a right to promote the safety of his home through good lighting at night. If crime is a problem where you are, then I do not like your chances.

You might be stuck with using blackout curtains.

A good demand letter from an attorney (paid for by you) might solve the problem.
JeffS32
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/16/2020 11:19 AM  
Hi. Its a new sub, 1 years old. Last home was built and sold. This Thursday we have an election to hire 5 new people to the BOD. The person not in compliance is also running for a position on Thursday.
I really need help with this but cannot afford an attorney.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/16/2020 1:45 PM  
This new Board probably will be stuck getting compliance from this owner. Both you & your neighbor would have to recuse yourselves because you each have a personal interest in this issue.

Did you look at your docs yet to see if the Board or its agent can enter the yard to remove something in violation? And then bill the owner?

I think Augie's suggestion about black-out curtains is the cheapest and by far easiest solution if the current or new board will not enforce the rule by making sure the man puts a shield on the light.

I also think that if the man does use a shield, he will be in compliance with "...no ... floodlights ... shall be placed or utilized upon any lot, or any structure erected thereon, which in any manner will allow light to be directed or reflected on any other property except as approved by the Reviewing Authority." He will have approval by installing the shield. Usually, this kind of retro action isn't in bylaws, though, so that's puzzling. Areyou sure you don't mane Rules & Regulations?

Btw, are you thinking that because he's currently in violation, that he doens't qualify for the Board?? That depends on what your documents specify as qualifications, if any, probably in your bylaws.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10130


11/16/2020 2:19 PM  
Jeff

Like it or not as you have no BOD, the manager calls the shots and the manager has ruled the person is not in violation. Live with it especially as it will be corrected. Stop with wanting a pound of flesh.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9714


11/16/2020 3:04 PM  
Being in violation doesn't prevent someone from running for board. It is if you are not up to par with your dues that plays a factor. This person still has to be voted on and elected to the board.

Even if you hired a lawyer, the HOA is following it's standards. Which is you can have a flood light if you applied and approved. He was approved. So your not going to win a lawsuit. Plus suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors..

I would suggest putting up curtains for blocking light on those windows exposed to the light. Having worked 3rd shift for many years those room darkening windows do wonders for light and heat. I've even put up foil on my windows. Just wouldn't put it on any front windows exposed to view. I also sleep with an eye mask that helps.

It would probably be better for you to take action blocking the light than suing for it to be removed.

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3411


11/16/2020 7:36 PM  
Jeff,

You have received good advice about modifying your curtains, etc.

I would install an LED in something approaching 5000K color light facing the other fellow and aim it to where it directly enters their windows. Wait for the negotiation.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:114


11/17/2020 7:47 AM  
Hi Jeff,

You can hire a lawyer, but use that as a last step. While the board may have limited powers, it doesn't sound like they're completely out of options just yet. Usually, and HOA will be able to issue additional fines if the owners hasn't complied within a certain amount of time. That can include a higher fine, denied access to amenities/facilities, and in some cases, it can place a lien on the owner's property.

It all depends on the HOA's fine schedule.

I hope you're able to resolve this issue.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:781


11/17/2020 5:32 PM  
Not all motion detector lights are flood lights.

And not all flood lights act as motion detector lights.

Surely this could be remedied by an independent representative from the owner/ board.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:38


11/19/2020 10:58 AM  
Have you discussed this at all with the guy with the light, maybe explaining just what you wrote in your first post here? I am guessing that at this point it may not help because he is digging in and openly defying the rules, but usually that is a better first step than raising it as an HOA rules issue with the board.

The board has limited options if they have already levied a fine. An unpaid fine would be a problem for a homeowner when it comes time to sell a house, but until then we have never had a problems so severe that we wanted to take a homeowner to court over it.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:73


11/20/2020 7:56 AM  
I would start checking state and federal laws regarding both HOAs and discriminatory practices against disabled persons. See what you can find and, if appropriate, contact your state legislators and local officials. If I recall correctly, unlike the free-for-all we have here in New York, Arizona does have some specific laws regarding HOA behavior.

If you don't plan on moving anytime soon or care that much about a near-term effect on property values, notify the board that you'll need to take this to the local daily or weekly newspaper (see if they or a local TV station have a consumer reporter who will hear your gripes). If you don't get a response inside the community, then you need to take it outside. It's too bad things have to be done this way, but it appears you're being too nice and not causing the board enough aggravation. You need to make their lives miserable until they fix the problem. Here in New York, we sometimes have to stamp our feet to exert our rights. It's probably how we got our reputation for rudeness!
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:20


11/24/2020 2:13 PM  
Why do so many people recommend finding an attorney so quickly. The HOA Board of Directors should have a series of steps they can take to deal with this issue. Those step should be located in their Covenants. It is the Boards job to fulfill their responsibly of enforcing the governing documents.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:73


11/24/2020 4:19 PM  
Posted By MichaelS56 on 11/24/2020 2:13 PM
Why do so many people recommend finding an attorney so quickly. The HOA Board of Directors should have a series of steps they can take to deal with this issue. Those step should be located in their Covenants. It is the Boards job to fulfill their responsibly of enforcing the governing documents.




In New York, probably thanks largely to our strong real estate industry lobby, there really aren’t any government agencies which will step in on your behalf if you have a legitimate beef with the HOA. If you have evidence of criminality, you can try taking it to the attorney general. Beyond that, you have to hire an attorney at great cost. The AG’s primer on HOAs essentially advises you to work it out with the board and then, at the end, offers a hale and hearty “good luck!” We are pretty much on our own. It’s something to think about before buying a place in NY.
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