Skip to main content

Decisions and Orders Main Page

CCOC Decision Summary

#76-10, Rose Hill Falls Community Association v. Phillips (June 30, 2011) (Panel: Stevens, Gelfound, Wilson)

The homeowners association (HOA) filed a complaint against an owner for installing roll-down shutters on a new deck that he installed above his patio.  The HOA had approved an application to build the deck, but the application did not include a proposal to install roll-down shutters.

The evidence at the hearing showed that after the HOA became aware of the shutters, it notified the owner that he was in violation of the rules by making an unapproved change to his home.   The purpose of the shutters was to enclose the patio under the deck. The owner then submitted an application, which the HOA denied as a violation of a rule banning "roofs or screens above or below a deck" and also because the shutters were not in harmony with the overall design of the community.  The owner argued that he had approval for the overall construction from the relevant government agencies and that approval overrode the HOA's rules.  He also argued that the shutters were not a permanent change since they were only used intermittently.

The hearing panel held that, following decisions of the Maryland Court of Appeals in Kirkley v. Seipelt, the board's decision on architectural matters must be upheld if it is based on an overall plan of development for the community and if it is made in good faith and not arbitrary.  The panel found that the HOA's decision was in fact based on an overall plan and had a reasonable basis.  The panel ordered the owner to remove the shutters within 30 days.

[Editor's note:  The Maryland Court of Appeals has held that government regulations for the construction or use of property do not overrule the private covenants governing the same property, and that the property owner must obey both sets of rules; in particular the property owner must comply with whichever rule is the most restrictive.  Colandrea v. Wilde Lake Community Association, 761 A.2d 899 (Md. 2000).]

Go Top