Should An Owner Ignore Architectural Restrictions?

Should An Owner Ignore Architectural Restrictions?

Some owners think it is ok to ignore architectural restrictions. Some don’t read the documents so don’t know about them and are surprised when someone comes unglued after constructing something.

Some see others doing things and decide to do the same. I urge you as homeowners to familiarize yourselves with the documents for your association and seek approval before construction when it is required.

It is good for owners to know beforehand that boards can go after an owner even after something is built or constructed. It is always better to go to the board and get approval because it may save owners a lot of grief and money to know this. To assume the board cannot do anything can be devastating.  

For example, the Cramers were surprised in the case of CLEAR LAKE RIVIERA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION v. CRAMER, decided in February of 2010. They ignored the board’s mandate to stick to the building height restrictions and were careless in allowing the construction that resulted in the 2 foot violation. They ended up with a judgment against them ordering them to correct the problem which meant lower the roof the 2 feet at an expense of about $200,000”, plus they lost the case meaning the probability of having to pay the association’s attorney fees.

In the end, the court found that “… there was no evidence the cost of correcting the violation would be grossly disproportionate to the hardship caused to the Association. Although there was no estimate of the total diminution in value caused to neighboring homes by the Cramers’ violation, one neighbor testified his home’s value had been diminished by more than $75,000. Even if that was the only economic damage, the $200,000 required to correct the Cramers’ violation would not be grossly disproportionate to the loss. As noted above, however, there was also diminution in value to at least one other home, along with damage that is more difficult to quantify. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in directing the Cramers to bring their home into compliance.”

So think before you leap.



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