Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Are the Declarations of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions the only enforceable restrictions?

A unique question from a reader was received this week and I thought it would be interesting to share. A 1987 case, Young v Tortoise Island Homeowners Ass'n Inc., was about a homeowner wanting to install a roof that the HOA did not approve. There was nothing in the Declarations (CCR's) prohibiting the roof. While the court sided with the homeowner and allowed the roof, the court pointed out a very interesting rule of law. The court commented restrictions can be enforced that ARE NOT in the Declarations when there is a "unified scheme" in the community and the homeowner should know that variations are not allowed. The court stated that had the community had homes with only one type of roof (let's use a flat roof as an example), then the homeowner is on notice that no other types of roofs are allowed. This comes up occasionally with chain link fences. If you do not see a chain link fence in your neighborhood then you are on notice chain link fences are not allowed even if they are not mentioned in the Declarations.

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