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CCOC Decision Summary

#77-07, Simons v. Fair Hill Farm HOA (October 22, 2008) (Panel: Alkon, Perlingiero, Vergagni)

The homeowner (HO) complained that the HOA improperly removed his unit number from his parking space, improperly covered over his unit number when he repainted it on the space, and improperly fined him $445 for its costs in painting over his unit number.

The evidence at the hearing showed that after several years of painting unit numbers on the reserved parking spaces in the HOA, the board decided to stop painting unit numbers as a cost-saving measure and to only paint "Reserved" or "Visitor" on each space.The towing company employed by the HOA would not tow trespassing cars from the HO's space because there were no unit numbers on it, so he painted his unit number on his space; and thereafter the towing company would tow trespassing cars from his space.The HOA painted over his number, however, fined him $25 and billed him $420 for its repainting costs.While the case was pending before the CCOC, the HOA then resumed its former practice of painting the unit numbers on all the reserved parking spaces.

The HOA could not produce any records to verify that the original decision to stop painting unit numbers was properly made by the board, and the HOA conceded that the cost of painting the words "Reserved" and "Visitor" was probably more expensive than painting the unit numbers, since unit numbers are shorter.

The hearing panel found that the HOA policy of not painting unit numbers effectively deprived the HO of his right under the rules to a reserved parking space, because he could not enforce that right since the towing company would not tow trespassing vehicles if there was no unit number on the space.The hearing panel further found that the HOA did not properly authorize the removal of the unit numbers.The hearing panel also concluded that it was significant that the HOA reversed itself during the case and resumed its former policy of marking the reserved parking spaces with the unit numbers.

The hearing panel granted judgment in the HO's favor and ordered the HOA to refund to the HO the $25 penalty and the $420 repainting fee.

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