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CCOC Decision Summary

#14-09, Seneca Crossing I HOA v. Padilla (November 23, 2009) (Panel: Greenspan, Whelan, Oxendine).

The HOA complained that the homeowner had installed a security door and security sidelights on the front of his home without advance permission and in a style that did not comply with the architectural standards of the community.  It appeared that the door unit was actually installed by a prior owner, who sold it to the new owner while the HOA was processing the complaint and the seller did not inform the buyer of the dispute.  The CCOC sent a copy of the complaint to the new homeowner, but he did not file a timely reply as required under County law.  The HOA then requested an order of default, to which the homeowner still did not reply.  The CCOC hearing panel issued a default order which provided that the homeowner had 30 days to file a motion to vacate the default order and show cause as to why a final judgment should not be issued against him.  Again, however, the homeowner did not respond. 

In the meantime, the HOA obtained a lawyer, who filed a motion for a judgment by default against the homeowner; he also filed a motion for attorney's fees.

The hearing panel found that it had jurisdiction over the homeowner even though he never responded to the complaint.  It further held that the homeowner was in violation of the community rules and ordered him to remove the door system and replace it with a door that complied with the community rules within 45 days.  It also held that the HOA was entitled, under Section 10B-13(d) of the County Code, to its reasonable attorney's fees, and granted the HOA's motion for $300 in attorney's fees, to be paid by the homeowner. (The attorney charged 1.5 hours at the rate of $200 per hour.)

 

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