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CCOC Decision Summary

#473-O, Fizyta v. Quince Haven Homeowners Association (November 29, 2000) (Panel chair: McCabe)

The homeowner (HO) challenged a ruling by his homeowner association (HOA) that he was in violation of its rules by removing the window mullions from the windows of his home.

The evidence at the hearing showed that the HO owned a colonial-style home and that all the colonial-style homes in that community had windows with mullions (dividers) to give them an old-fashioned appearance.  (Other homes in the community were of a different, more contemporary style and did not have mullions in their windows.)  These mullions were placed on the interior of the windows and were removable for cleaning.  The HO removed his mullions permanently without first obtaining permission.  The HOA's rules provided that, "nor shall any exterior addition to or change or alteration therein be made" without the HOA's approval.

The hearing panel concluded that the HOA's rules did not give it the authority to regulate the interior of the HO's house.  The mullions were installed on the interior of the windows.  Furthermore, the HOA did not show that the mullions were an essential design characteristic of the colonial homes or closely related to the overall design of the community.  Therefore the panel held that the HOA's attempt to prohibit the removal of mullions was unreasonable and reversed its decision.

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