It may seem arbitrary, but many community associations institute a policy against bird feeders, or any outdoor animal...
Why the HOA Must Approve Architectural Requests?
The role of the Architectural Control Committee for your homeowners association, or HOA, is to ensure that the community's property values are preserved. Without an architectural control committee your neighbor could easily paint his home bright blue with pink shutters that would be visible from space. Violation of your community's architectural standards creates litigation issues that are costly and creates animosity in your community. By having a set of exterior standards that extends to colors, roof coverings, landscaping materials and fence styles, your community can avoid these ugly distractions.
People purchase homes in deed restricted communities for any number of reasons. They could be attracted to the amenities such as a pool, tennis courts or the restricted access. Or it could be there is a certain comfort in knowing that the homes, while looking very similar, will continue to increase in value because there are certain standards that are demanded within the governing documents. In small to midsized communities, these architectural review requests could be handled by the Board of Directors. In large communities, an architectural control committee is formed by the Board of Directors to oversee these standards and to ensure requests are handled in a timely manner. The purpose of the architectural review is to ensure uniformity throughout the community.
Before making any change to the exterior of your home, contact your Board of Directors or association management company to find out if there are written guidelines for your particular improvement architectural request. These guidelines typically will give you detailed instructions on how to submit your request. Do not assume that if it's not explicitly stated in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions that there are no standards. The Board of Directors must approve your improvement prior to work starting.
Do not start your improvement prior to rareceiving written approval from the architectural control committee or Board of Directors. Your contractor will be hovering over your shoulder, telling you that they've done several of these in this community, they have a hole in their schedule and could start tomorrow, any number of tactics to get you committed but don't do it. Doing so could cause you to have to remove what you've started and postpone the work. There's also a chance that what you want done does not comply with the exact standards of your community, such as fence styles, designs, materials or location.
When submitting for architectural approval, especially for fences, pools or enclosures, always submit a copy of your boundary survey with your improvement marked on the survey. Along with the survey, make sure you include a detailed description of your improvement and the types of materials used. You can get this information from your contractor. This is very important because your survey will show any easements or right of ways which should not be restricted. For exterior paint colors, include swatches of your paint and trim colors. For roofs, submit a sample of your shingle or roofing material.
Architectural Control Committees exist to preserve the aesthetics of your HOA. Without a set of standards for exterior improvements, a community can quickly decline and you could find the value of your home declining as well. These committees, working at the direction of the Board of Directors, can prevent an adversarial situation from occurring with your neighbor.
Has your HOA gotten too big for the Board of Directors to handle on its own? Do your neighbors look at you differently? Maybe its time to consider a professional association management company. RealManager can help remove the burdens of the day-to-day operations of your community. Our professional association managers and bookkeepers can provide your community with vendor oversight, enforcement of the covenants, conditions and restrictions, collection matters and financial preparation. Give us a call today to see how we can help your community thrive.