Paint color denial HOA

50 Replies

I painted my house Alabaster and it looks gorgeous. The Reviewer came out to approve and said we were denied. Not because we painted before the Reviewer came out....and not because it was Alabaster.

Our denial letter says, "White is not an approved body color, nor painted brick" 

At our appeals meeting last night, I showed the HOA board members (and they brought their lawyer to my appeals meeting) pictures of houses that are painted white. They had no clue other homes were white and I even showed them an approval letter from last fall of a homeowner who painted hos front brick, Snow Bound. That is whiter than Alabaster.

In the meeting, they avoided my denial reason and said, "Alabaster is not approved color." Mind you, we don't have an approved color list. I said the color is irrelevant, MY LETTER STATES: No White is approved. It does not say, ALABASTER isn't approved. 

I have proven their written reason to be false as I showed proof in the neighborhood. 

We received this letter two months ago and last night was the first time hearing that Alabaster wasn't approved.

Thoughts?

I have seen this many times. We live in the state of Indiana and it is full of HOA Lords. This could be an expensive slippery slope and you might want to consider hiring an attorney. I can refer you to a fantastic resource for understanding HOA CCR and By-laws. She is not an attorney but has major connections for attys in various states.
Raelene Schifano
HOAFightclub  @ gmail.com
Mention that I referred you.

Best of luck!

Jenn Kampmeier

Usually with an HOA that has color regulations, you submit the color to the ARB first for approval before painting your house. Did you do that?

We painted first. That is just paying a fine. The reason for denial is because No White Paint is approved. My neighborhood does not have an approved color list. They said the paint color I used is not approved. (only for trim). I said my letter doesnt say my color paint...it says White only. Other homes are whote with approval. 4-corner law

Must be an area thing. In Las Vegas you would NEVER paint before getting approval. It’s not a fear of a fine it’s the story’s of some many people being forced to repaint. 

@Steve Rooney - I completely understand your frustration. I have heard horror stories of HOA's who overreach their power. With that said, I personally find working with your HOA and tenants rather than taking a combative approach tends to have the most success. I completely understand your back is against a wall with this situation, but moving forward, I would recommend trying to work with your HOA rather than skirt the rules. Life is so much easier when you try to work with people as opposed to go around them. If you really have a problem with how they run things, become a trustee and change the rules. That is what I did for my HOA.

Originally posted by @Steve Rooney :

You miss the point. The point isn't the color. It's what they wrote on my denial compared to their reasons in the meeting. Has zero to do with Alabaster. 

Alabaster is white.....white is not allowed.  Because others have painted white and not been caught doesn’t mean they have approve your white.  

 

Ask them for a list of approved colours and state that if alabaster isn't to their likely, you will use snow bound which is the same colour used on (insert street address) and was approved by the HOA. I'd also bring a lawyer. Maybe there is a law student looking for a good fight.

The issue is, have they allowed the rules to be broken so often that they are now not allowed to enforce them. It is a frequent problem with HOAs. Stop arguing about shades of white. Switch to arguments about waiver and about selective enforcement. Create a detailed census of houses with non-conforming architectural details, including paint. Review the HOA balance sheet. Is there enough money in the bank to sue you? Usually there is not, so it becomes a matter of fines and liens. Is a fine spelled out for your situation? If not, then they can't fine you, either.

You should probably get a lawyer involved, but do it AFTER you get all your facts. That will help keep the legal fees down.  I can't help you as an attorney because my license is in Texas, not in Alabama, although I now live in Alabama. Plus, I'm pretty much retired from litigation and spend my time on real estate.

I can't figure out the point of your whole post. You seem to know that you're in the right based on whatever laws are in place where you are, so what are you asking? It seems like you should simply lawyer up to prove your point. Then your lawyer and the HOA's lawyer will discuss the merits of the case and give each of you your likelihood of success in court. You keep saying "four corner law" so you seem to believe you have something that will hold up in court - so what are you looking for here?

Based on the very limited amount of information here, my thoughts are:

1. The HOA may very well go to court to defend their position, since they bothered bringing their lawyer to your appeal hearing.

2. Alabaster is a shade of white, no matter how much you beg to differ, just as ivory and bright snow are.

3. Whether someone else painted their house and bricks white may or may not matter in court depending on what has occurred since that paint job. The HOA may have voted to no longer allow painted bricks or white paint. Or maybe they simply dropped the ball when that neighbor painted their bricks white, and you have an iron case in court.

4. If you knew you were in an HOA, why didn't you submit your paint choice and request to paint before you painted?

Your house may look gorgeous, but you should probably sell because you sound like a difficult personality who doesn't want to abide by HOA rules and would prefer to be somewhere else where you can do absolutely what you want with your property. When you bought into an HOA you agreed to be bound by the rules and regulations of the HOA. You didn't feel like that applied to you, so you went ahead and painted without first submitting and getting approval of the color besides. That's the exact opposite of agreeing to be bound to HOA rules and regulations.

Originally posted by @Steve Rooney :

JD...you totally miss the point. lol  geez....

You're right - I really don't get the point. HOA's can be a total PITA depending on how they're operated, and certainly lots of HOA boards have Napoleonic Complex. But that's part of the hazard of buying into an HOA - you don't get to just do whatever you want. If your point is that they let someone else paint a brick house a shade of white last year, the only way I see you find relief is to pay a lawyer to argue your point and show that you are serious about pursuing a case against the HOA for favoritism and unequal treatment. That might be enough to get them to drop it, but they may not and you may have to go to court. You have probably violated at least two of the HOA's rules & regs - not submitting a request before you did it, and not submitting the color you wanted before you did it - so you're not going into court with clean hands.

 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

We hate spam just as much as you