by Richard Thompson
In urban settings, homeowner associations have become a dominant form of construction. While HOA homeowners carry many rights and privileges, they often concede certain freedoms enjoyed in more traditional home ownership. One particular area of concession involves remodeling,
To control the look and feel of the community, many HOAs have material, color and design standards which must be adhered to. In common wall communities, structural integrity demands that changes made by one unit do not jeopardize the viability of the building. For these reasons, it is important for the board to keep the owners informed and reminded of material standards and violations. Here are a number of guidelines which can be included in a Design Policy as appropriate:
For aesthetic only projects (like painting, no structural or utility work involved), submit to the board for written approval prior to commencement of work a description of the work to be performed, who will do it and the anticipated schedule.
For more involved projects (includes structural, plumbing, electrical work, etc.) submit architectural plans, copy of permits and signed contractor agreements to the board for written approval which must be received prior to commencing work. If warranted, the board can seek the review and approval of an architect or engineer with related costs to be paid by owner.
If view is a consideration in your HOA, require disclosure of proposed structure height and whether removal of trees is involved for view purposes.
All power tool operation must be accomplished either in the unit or off property unless authorized by the board in writing and provided there is no unreasonable objection from the neighbors.
Contractors are permitted to work only from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturdays.
All demolition and construction material shall be disposed of off property, not in HOA dumpsters.
Contractor shall clean up any affected common area daily.
Owner will provide adequate parking for contractor. Contractor should not use guest parking or block fire lanes.
Common utility (electrical, water, gas, etc.) interruption must be approved and coordinated by the board.
If landscaping renovation is proposed and the HOA has a landscape standard, a comprehensive plan should be submitted showing proposed changes.
Establish specific standards (brand, model, color) for paint color, roofing material, storm doors, screen doors, awnings and other common add-ons.
Since the desire to remodel can happen anytime the spirit moves the remodeler, the board needs to be proactive in keeping owners informed of expectations. Publish the Design Policy on the HOA website and reference it in all newsletters and periodic email updates. Since remodeling will happen, make sure you do all possible to direct a model outcome.
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Published: May 23, 2013