#569-O, Willard v. GlenbrookVillage Homeowners Association (February 4, 2003)
The homeowner (HO) challenged a decision of the homeowner association's (HOA's) board of directors to deny his application to build a masonry deck/patio.
The fact produced at the hearing showed that the HO had submitted an application directly to the board, which at that time acted as the architectural committee.The board denied the application giving the HO neither advance notice that the board would consider the proposal nor an opportunity to appeal the decision.
The board then created an architectural committee, which had the right to make final decisions on architectural applications.A homeowner had the right to appeal a denial to the board.
The HO then re-submitted his application to the new architectural committee, which approved it.The property manager then forwarded the application to the board, which rejected it, claiming that the committee's decisions were purely advisory and that the board had the right of making final decisions.
The panel noted that the HOA's own declaration indicated that all architectural applications had to be submitted to the architectural committee and that the decisions of the committee were final.It further provided that a homeowner could appeal a decision of the committee to the board.The panel ruled that the action of the property manager in sending the HO's application to the board was a violation of the rules, because only a homeowner could appeal a committee decision, and unless properly appealed the committee decision was final.In addition the board erred by not giving the HO any notice that it would meet to review his application.
The panel ruled that the board's action in reviewing the HO's application was outside the scope of its legal authority, and therefore null and void.The panel ordered that the HO could proceed with the construction as approved by the architectural committee.