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HOA Homefront: Is your HOA architectural application process complete?

By in Press Enterprise on July 24, 2017

By Kelly G. Richardson

A fundamental HOA purpose is to preserve the association’s architectural theme, typically protected by rules administered by an architectural committee or the board.

If a homeowner wants to change the entry door color, the style of windows, or install a skylight, how does the owner know if the request is worth the effort? And how do they know what is the HOA’s application process?

Well-run associations should have reasonable architectural standards and a reasonable application process, all set forth in written HOA rules. Consider some of the following subjects, which can be included in those rules.

Licensing and insurance: If the proposed work requires a licensed contractor, the work should be performed by a licensed contractor who has proof of liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.

Permits: If the proposed work requires a city building permit, the applicant should provide proof of permits as a condition of approval.

Hours of work: To protect neighbors, work should not begin too early or continue into evening hours, when adjacent homeowners are beginning to rest.

Common area alterations: The owner should be required to take all responsibility for approved modifications to the common area, so future repair and maintenance of the alteration will be by the owner, not the HOA. The owner should also be required to accept responsibility for future problems created by the common area alteration. One way of securing such promises is to make the permission conditional on the owner signing a written agreement relieving the HOA from such responsibility. I call those “common area alteration agreements,” which are best recorded on the title of the residence, so future owners are notified of the shift in responsibility to the owner.

Odors and dust: Is the proposed alteration likely to create dust or smells that could bother neighbors? Rules should insist that the applicant take steps to […]    

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