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CCOC Decision Summary

Potowmack Preserve Inc. v. Ball #73-12 (February 10, 2016) (Panel: Browder, Weinstein, Winegar)

The HOA filed a complaint against the lot owners for their failure to abide by the terms of the approval the HOA had granted to them for the construction of a combined deck and storage room on the rear of the home. Specifically, the HOA claimed that the style of the deck was altered, the storage room was connected to the house instead of being separate from it, a retaining wall had been added without permission and the construction was not completed in a timely manner.

 

After the CCOC accepted jurisdiction of the complaint, the HOA attempted to amend it by adding new issues concerning the construction of a new roof on the house. The panel denied the motion to amend on the grounds that the new claims were substantially different from those that the CCOC had accepted, and that the HOA would need to file a new complaint on those issues (which it did, in Case #72-13, which is also reported).

 

The panel ruled that the owners had in fact constructed a shed and deck that were significantly different from those which the HOA had approved, and in doing so it violated the HOA’s rules. The panel ordered the owners to submit a new application for approval of the shed and deck as built, and to comply with the HOA’s decisions on the new application. The panel retained jurisdiction over the complaint in order to resolved any disputes over the new application.

 

The panel further ordered the owners to pay $2940 in reasonable attorney fees to the association because the HOA’s governing documents specifically required owners to reimburse the HOA for such fees if the HOA successfully took action against them to enforce its architectural rules. (Note: this decision was made under Chapter 10B as it then existed and before amendments to Section 10B-13 that deleted this authority.)

 

Disputes over whether the owners complied with the terms of approval of the new application then were brought to the panel. The HOA conceded that the owners had submitted a new application but that they had not complied with the terms of approval. Although the evidence showed that the owners had yet again made unapproved changes, it failed to show in sufficient detail how the changes differed from the approval. The panel refused to order the owners to make any more changes, but it did require the owners to pay an additional $1275 to the HOA to reimburse it for its legal costs to enforce the revised architectural approval.

 

[NOTE: this decision, along with the decision in #72-13, are now on appeal to the Circuit Court.]

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