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CCOC Decision Summary

#75-08, Palacios v. Oxford Crossing HOA (July 1, 2009) (Panel: Stevens, Kali, Oxendine)

The homeowner challenged an HOA decision denying her a parking permit for her boyfriend who lived with her.  The facts at the hearing showed that the HOA had only 2.4 parking spaces per unit and wanted to revise an old parking rule that granted 2 parking permits to each unit owner.  The homeowner was satisfied with the old rule because she shared ownership with 2 other people, and therefore they were entitled to 6 parking permits altogether.  The new rule adopted by the board in late 2008 granted up to 3 permits per unit for vehicles owned by residents of the units and required the towing of cars parked in the reserved spaces without permits.  The rule then allowed the HOA to issue a 4th permit to any vehicle owner who lived in a unit and was either a co-owner or an "immediate family member" of an owner.  The 3 co-owners of the homeowner's unit all had parking permits and she applied for a 4th permit for her boyfriend, who lived with her.  The HOA denied the request because the boyfriend was not an "immediate family member." 

The hearing panel held that that portion of the rule granting a 4th permit only to "immediate family members" was invalid.  Under the rule of Kirkley v. Seipelt, 212 Md. 127 (1957), homeowner association rules must be reasonable and bear some relationship to the general purposes of the governing documents.  "The relationship of people sharing a housing unit bears no relationship to the allocation of commonly-owned resources such as parking spaces.  Unit owners may reasonably expect that they will have equal right to the use of commonly owned resources without regard to the relationship status of those who may share their housing."

The hearing panel did not, however, order the HOA to grant a 4th permit to the homeowner.  Instead, it required the HOA to revise its parking rules to be consistent with the panel's decision.  The homeowner could reapply for a 4th permit under the new rules if those rules permitted 4 permits.

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