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CCOC Decision Summary

#474-G, Fairland Park Homeowners Association v. Gebreyese (January 2, 2001) (Panel: Hickey, Murphy, Stoline)

The homeowners association (HO) filed a complaint against the homeowners (HO), claiming that they had installed skylights in the front roof of their home without approval and in violation of community rules.

The evidence at the hearing showed that the HO's had purchased the house in 1995 and installed the skylights before moving into it at a cost of over $6000; and that the HOA notified them of the violation in 1998, (3 years later).  After a hearing in 1999, which the HO's attended, the HOA's board of directors order the HO's to remove the skylights.  The HO's protested on the grounds that they were not aware of the rules when they added the skylights, that the skylights did not lower the property's value and that the skylights were consistent with the community appearance.  The evidence further showed that there were no other houses in the community with skylights in the front roof.

The Hearing Panel found that the community rules prohibited altering the appearance of the homes without advance approval, and that its architectural rules specifically prohibited skylights on the front roofs.  The Panel further found that the HO's ignorance of the rules did not excuse them from complying with the rules, and that the rules were clear and unambiguous.  The panel concluded that the HO's had violated the rules and ordered them to remove the skylights from the front roof of the home within 3 years.

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