Case #775-O, Lisa Felker v. Sierra Landing Condominium Association, Inc., January 27, 2006 (Pettey, Gramzinski, Neel).
The Homeowner (HO) challenged a decision of the homeowner association (HOA) to replace the skylights on her unit at her cost although they were not leaking. The HOA refused to attempt mediation of the complaint and the matter went directly to the Commission for a hearing. Evidence produced at the hearing showed that many of the skylights in the HOA, similar to the HO's, were leaking and causing hidden damage to the units, and that it would be cheaper to replace all the skylights at one time than to replace them piecemeal; as a result, the HOA was offering all HO's the option of purchasing two different models of skylights for the costs of materials alone. One model was half the price of the other. This information was never shown to the HO before the hearing although she had asked for it and the HO testified that if she had seen it, she might not have proceeded with her complaint.
In addition, the HOA proceeded to replace the HO's skylights with the more expensive model before the Commission could hear the case.
The Commission ruled that the HOA's decision to replace all the skylights at once, including the HO's, was a reasonable decision within the power of the HOA to make. However, the HOA had withheld crucial information from the HO and had rejected mediation without good reason. In addition the HOA had violated the "automatic stay" provisions of the CountyCode by replacing the skylight after the complaint was filed without authorization from the Commission or the HO. Therefore the Commission also ruled that the HOA should be penalized, and the penalty was that it could not charge the HO the cost of the more expensive skylights it had installed but could only charge her the cost of the cheaper skylights; in addition, the HOA was ordered to pay the HO a refund of the $50 filing fee she paid when she filed her complaint with the Commission.
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