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CCOC Decision Summary

#203-G, Greenfield Station Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Mehta (June 10, 1993) (Panel: Savage et al.)

The homeowner association (HOA) complained that the homeowner (HO) violated the rules by installing a roof antenna without permission.  The HO's defence was that the community's developer gave him permission.

The evidence at the hearing showed that the HOA governing documents prohibit the installation of "outdoor antennas of any kind" without the prior approval of the HOA, that the HO has an antenna on his roof and the HOA has notified him several times that this was a violation of the rules.  The HO requested that the HOA grant him an exception and the HOA refused.  The HOA successfully took action against other homeowners who had installed antennas without permission.  The HO is from India and needs the antenna to receive programs broadcast from India, which he cannot otherwise receive. The HO installed the antenna in 1987 but the HOA took no action on it until 1989.  The HO testified that he was given oral approval for the antenna by an employee of the developer who was then the president of the HOA board of directors before it was turned over to the members, but the HO had no other evidence to corroborate this claim.  The HO claimed that the HOA was not enforcing the antenna rule, which claim the HOA denied in its testimony.

The panel noted that "[a] duly constituted Homeowners Association's rules and regulations legally bind the parties unless they are arbitrary and capricious, enforced selectively, or for some other reason rendered unlawful or unenforceable."  The panel found that the rules were clear and that the HOA followed its procedures in taking action against the HO.  The panel further found that there was insufficient evidence to show selective or discriminatory enforcement of the rules.  The delay between the time the HO installed the antenna and the time the HOA first took action on it does not now prevent the HOA from enforcing the rules.  For the legal doctrine of "laches" (loss of rights due to an unreasonable delay and prejudice to the other party's rights) to apply, there must be evidence of prejudice to the HO and evidence of an intentional delay by the HOA.  The panel found that the HO was not prejudiced by the delay.  The panel further found that even if there were sufficient evidence to show that one member of the developer's board had agreed to the antenna (which there was not), there was no evidence at all to show that one member of the board had the authority to grant such approval.

The panel ordered the HO to remove the antenna within 30 days.

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