What is the legal definition of 'in writing'

3 Replies

Hi everyone.  My HOA notified me via email of a paint color violation that is going to put me in financial jeopardy to correct.  I attempted to go through the proper approval process but the painters showed up days early due to a cancellation in their schedule; they started painting while I was at work and without informing me.  I haven't intended to fight the violation because, ultimately, I understand the situation is technically my fault.  Our bylaws state "The Committee's approval or disapproval as required in these covenants shall be in writing."  I've explicitly asked several times for formal/official written documentation of the violation, which I think is warranted/required in this situation, but have not been provided with one.  Does an email from somebody on the HOA legally meet the requirement to notify me in writing?  I live in a large neighborhood and have not actually met this person.  Thanks!

"In writing means communicated in written form with proof of receipt" which means also including any method that you can proof in digital, based on my knowledge.

- realtor not a lawyer, formal expression please consult lawyer

Most courts employ what is called the "plain meaning" rule when interpreting a contract or similar legal document.  In essence, the ordinary sense words have unless there is evidence that the parties intended some specialized meaning.  I suspect this is a fight you would lose.  An email is a writing as much as typed words on a page are.  Now, if they had communicated orally or by smoke signal . . . .

The legal answer is, it depends. Your bylaws can define what "in writing" means. that is controlling, otherwise, its up to a judge, but common precedent in most jurisdictions includes email as writing. is your email clear and unambiguous? 

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