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Old 10-11-2008, 01:24 PM
 
276 posts, read 417,868 times
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Hi,

I have searched this forum for HOA-related topics, and found several. But since I am specifically looking for legal help, the other threads didn't seem to cover the subject matter.

I am looking for a lawyer experienced with HOAs. I understand that HOAs are often seen as legally bulletproof.

But in this case, I will be charging the HOA itself of violating the language of the covenant. And my intent would be to seek restitution in the form of the re-painting of possibly 100 houses to restore them to their original color.

The HOA is a sub-community in Raintree.

Can anyone recommend a lawyer in this issue?
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:56 PM
 
Location: CLT native
4,280 posts, read 10,050,806 times
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Did you read the HOA bylaws before moving into the community?

Just curious.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:22 PM
 
276 posts, read 417,868 times
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No, I didn't. Maybe that is good advice in general, and I but most people don't do it.

I am not sure it would have mattered in this case. It's not the by-laws I have issue with, but rather, the fact that the HOA assumes it doesn't have to follow the covenant.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:55 PM
 
Location: CLT native
4,280 posts, read 10,050,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsobchak View Post
No, I didn't. Maybe that is good advice in general, and I but most people don't do it.
I read mine 100% before even making the offer, let alone closing and moving. Maybe you should have done the same.
And honestly 'most people' are probably general idiots, sad but true.

Personally I LOVE my HOA.
A bit inconvenient at times, but I learn to live with it, certainly keeps the neighborhood looking nice (no boats/campers out of the garage).

As a long term CLT resident and someone who has dealt with these types of issues in various neighborhoods, spell out your issue, and let us discuss it in particular.

Last edited by mullman; 10-11-2008 at 04:08 PM..
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Old 10-11-2008, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,577 posts, read 2,387,244 times
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I live in Raintree and we had to have our paint color approved by the architectural review committee before we could proceed.
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Old 10-11-2008, 07:25 PM
 
276 posts, read 417,868 times
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Raintree actually has more than a dozen separate HOAs, each with a different covenant.

I was TOLD by the HOA that they had the authority to approve house colors, but it is not stated in the covenant.

I am a modernist. There are no modernist houses in Charlotte. Raintree is as close as I can get, and its a cool place. I bought my house because I liked the clean, modern, linear architecture, eco-friendly size, and yes, color. The roof is tannish brown. There is a lot of brick. The house is a rust color with dark brown trim. I know these are the original, intended colors because the metal windows and gutters, which are original, are also dark brown. The color of these items were intentionally SELECTED when it was built.

Shortly after I moved in, I noticed a lot of houses that were painted in colors that were non-traditional for Raintree, to wit - pastel with white trim. It saddened me to think that people didn't understand the modernist aesthetic - and unlike me - lived in a place they didn't respect and love. Ironically, I thought individual residents were responsible for this debasement, but being a strong supporter of individual property rights, felt I could not complain.

In the last couple of years since I moved in, EVERY house that has been re-painted (maybe 20) has been re-painted from the legacy Raintree colors to pastel colors with white trim. (White trim is pretty hackneyed anyway, but it rarely seen on houses with a modern design).

So, the progressively-designed, naturally-landscaped modern community is rapidly being turned into a place even the Cleaver family would reject. They are desecrating the special quality of the community and replacing it with a "burb", and I use the term "burb" as negatively as possible.


A few months ago, I told the HOA I wanted to re-paint my house the same colors it was already painted (yes the same colors - the intended, legacy, aesthetically-appropriate colors).

I was told to consult the HOA rep. I repeated that I was making no changes to the color scheme, simply re-painting the house.

The HOA rep showed up at my house with a color chart. Generally speaking, house colors are based on architectural design. And this color chart was no different. It showed a yellow and white ersatz Colonial on the cover, and it turned out it was a color chart for "Colonial Revival" houses. (I would later go to the web site of the paint vendor; they indeed have a number of color charts, all based on architecture design. They had a "contemporary" color chart, but that was not was being used by the HOA).

The HOA rep said she wanted me to paint my house - ready for a shock? - a pastel color with white trim.

I tried to explain to her that these colors are not appropriate colors for modernist house. She puffed up and said "Light colors make your house look bigger". She must have read that while perusing the National Enquirer. Meanwhile, I can't even completely morally justify living in a 1500 square-foot house.

When I told her white trim is never used on modernist houses, said said "White trim looks classy".

Rule of thumb: If anyone uses the term "classy", be advised they wouldn't recognize "class" if it bit them in the bum. I think the newspeak equivalent for that sort of pseudo-affected nonsense rejected by all except the most crass among us is "upscale".

I'm sorry I used the word bum.

If she meant "formal", that is exactly the opposite of the look modernism is trying to project. I have four big giant boulders in my front yard - that's not formality, that's natural. (I have given them names). I live in Raintree, not Raintree Commons Landing Preserve.

So I decided to move. After finally finding I place I could call home, I had to leave. I began looking again. This has happened to me before.


It was only a few days ago that I decided to read the covenant for the first time, to see if I had any legal wiggle room.

In an otherwise excruciatingly-detailed and legally-granular document, the only mention of the word "paint" is in the maintenance clause, which states that the HOA can require someone to repaint their house. No mention of an approval process, approved colors, an approval form. ANYWHERE.

There is a clause that states the HOA can review new construction to make sure in conforms to the "existing look of the neighborhood". And even though the clause clearly refers to building construction, the HOA is using this clause as the basis for their having approval authority over house colors.
But they can't have it both ways. The "existing look" they are mandated to preserve is the aesthetic look of the neighborhood at the time of the enactment of the covenant. They were legally mandated with PRESERVING the look and feel, not changing it.

So, they have:

Assumed an authority over approving house colors, which is not explicitly stated in the covenant, and by their own admission, is only implied.

Told residents they have this authority.

Conspired to change the aesthetic look of the community, which is the exact opposite of their legal responsibility to preserve it.

Provided no Fair Disclosure of any kind to the residents as to their decision and plan.


The aesthetics of my community have been compromised - not by unconcerned flippers or cultural dullards - but rather, by the very people charged with preserving and defending it. I want the 100 or so lollipop-colored houses, coersively and inappropriately re-painted, restored to their intended look.

Please advise.

Last edited by wsobchak; 10-11-2008 at 07:45 PM..
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:20 PM
 
578 posts, read 2,356,292 times
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So you want the HOA to force everyone to repaint their houses the colors you want? Not criticizing...just want to understand.
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:50 PM
 
276 posts, read 417,868 times
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Absolutely not.

My actual position is that the covenant implies it is the resident's decision. As I stated in my post, I am a strong believer in property rights.

For those residents who have been illegally coerced, and don't like their current house colors, those responsible (the individuals in the HOA, not the homeowners) would be financially responsible for re-painting. Nobody is held legally responsible for the wrongdoing of others (unless you are a US taxpayer).

I would be willing to compromise - I don't want to bankrupt anyone, even if they are guilty. But there would have to be a proactive solution that mitigates the damage that has been done.
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:21 PM
 
276 posts, read 417,868 times
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To repeat my initial request, I am looking for referrals to a lawyer experienced in these matters.

The reason I am writing here is that internet searches have only displayed lawyers who work FOR HOAs, not litigate against them.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:01 AM
 
Location: CLT native
4,280 posts, read 10,050,806 times
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From the way you are describing the situation in post #6 above, I DO think you have a very valid point.
You simply want to repaint your house the current, and possibly the original color, and are being coerced to paint in a completely different scheme (I laughed at the 'lollipop' moniker).

I do not have a reference, but I am sure that someone will weigh in with someone who can help you.
Good luck, and sorry to hear about your frustrating situation.
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