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CCOC Decision Summary

#205-O, Patel v. Hampton Estates Homeowners Association (June 30, 1994) (Panel: Savage, Auvil, Szajna)

The homeowner (HOA) disputed a ruling of his homeowner association (HOA) that he had violated the rules by installing a basketball hoop on his property on the grounds that the HOA had failed to act on his application within the 60 days required by the HOA rules.

The evidence at the hearing showed that on August 30, 1991, the HO notified the HOA that he had installed a bare pole on his property on which he intended to install a basketball hoop and backboard.  The HOA replied on September 12, 1991 that the HOA rules required that he first obtain permission for such improvements, and on September 30, 1991 he filed a proper application to do so.  The HOA minutes of October 16, 1991, showed that the HOA's architectural committee rejected the application, and the HOA's documents included a letter of October 21, 1991 to the HO rejecting the application.  The HO testified he never received the letter, which was sent by regular US Mail.  The HO installed the basketball hoop and backboard on January 12, 1992, and on January 20 the HOA notified him of the violation.  The HO responded to the HOA that the rules required them to act on the application within 60 days, that they had not done so, and that therefore under the rules he did not need HOA approval.  The HOA reiterated its position and then incorrectly informed him that the rule could be changed upon petition of 24 of the 47 property owners in the community.  The HO presented the HOA with a petition in his favor signed by 25 of the 47 owners.

The panel held that the HO violated the rules by installing the basketball goal without the written permission of the HOA.  The panel further held that the HO could not rely on the bylaw provision that contained the 60-day deadline, because that particular rule, by its terms, did not apply to play equipment.  Instead, it applied to buildings, fences and other permanent structures.  Play equipment was regulated by a different bylaw that dealt with temporary structures, and that bylaw did not contain any 60-day deadline.

The panel further held that the information given by the HOA to the HO (that he could amend the bylaws on petition of 24 members) was incorrect, because the Declaration required a majority vote of 75% of the members.  The HOA officers did not have the legal authority to authorize any change to the requirement of the Declaration, and the information had no legal effect.  The HO's petition failed for lack of a proper majority.

The panel ordered the HO to remove the basketball goal within 60 days.

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