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CCOC Decision Summary

Lin v. Fallsreach HOA #04-15 (February 26, 2016) (Panel: Ethier, Brandes, Coyle)

The lot owner complained to the CCOC that the HOA violated its declaration of covenants by allowing his neighbor to construct a fence. The language of the covenant stated that “any fence shall not extend beyond the front building line of the dwelling on the Lot upon which any fence is erected or the front building line of the dwellings on immediately adjacent Lots.” The fence in dispute did not extend beyond the front wall of the house on the lot on which the fence was built but it did extend beyond the front wall of the complainant’s house.

The reason for this is that the two houses were not parallel to each other so that the front line of each house was in a straight line to the next house, but on the contrary the two houses were at right angles to each other, so that the front yard of the complainant’s house was adjacent to the back yard of the other house.

The hearing panel upheld the board. The panel found that the location of the fence was a violation of the covenant restriction. However, the panel held it was bound by the decision of the Court in an almost identical case, Black v. Fox Hills North Community Association, 90 Md.App.75 (1992), in which the Court held that an association’s decision not to enforce a governing document restriction in a particular case would be upheld unless it was made in bad faith or was arbitrary. The CCOC panel found no evidence of bad faith or arbitrariness and dismissed the complaint.

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