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CCOC Decision Summary

#388-O, Caylor v. Chevy Chase Crest Condominium (March 9, 1999) (Panel: Gardner, Kristian, Murphy)

The condominium owner (CO) disputed the decision of his condominium association (CA) requiring him to replace a newly-installed window with one that matched the window styles required by the community.

The evidence at the hearing showed that the rules of the CA state that no changes can be made to the units without the prior written approval of the association and that the materials used must be similar to those already installed.  The CO had discussed with the board the idea of replacing his windows, and understood the board had authorized this; but the board members testified that the discussion was informal and that the CO had promised to install windows similar to those he was replacing.  In any event, the CA never received a written application or issued a written approval.  The CO installed several new windows, most of which were similar to the old ones but one of which was quite different.  The old window, like the one on the unit immediately adjoining the CO's, was a wood casement window with 3 panes and wood trim; the new window was an aluminum double-hung window with 2 panes; the new frame was wider and the glass area correspondingly narrower.  The CO testified that the cost of obtaining a custom-built window to match the old one was excessive, but the CA's evidence showed it could be obtained for a price similar to what the CO had paid for each of his other new windows and that the CA could order it for him.

The panel found that the CO had violated the rules by failing to obtain written permission for his changes and by installing a window that did not match the existing window styles.  It further found that the cost of the proper window was moderate, and that therefore the CA had acted reasonably to refuse to permit the non-complying window.  The panel ordered the CO to buy the proper window from the CA and to install it at his own cost within 30 days.

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