Association Remedies for Unauthorized Improvements

A homeowners association in Omaha, Nebraska is threatening to sue one of its homeowners after they failed to remove vinyl shutters that were not approved by the association.  Even though the black shutters are not in harmony with surrounding houses in the subdivision, the homeowners claim that they are being ‘picked on’.    http://www.wowt.com/content/news/HOA-attorney-threatens-lawsuit-of-shutters-480633801.html

So what are an association’s remedies here in Colorado if a homeowner fails to comply with a decision of the design review committee?

  • Fines: The association likely has the right to issue reasonable fines against the owner(s). Colorado law requires that a homeowner must first be notified of the potential fine(s) and have an opportunity for a hearing before a fine is imposed.
  • Mediation: If fines do not compel the homeowner to comply, an association should consider mediating the dispute with the homeowner in hopes of working out a satisfactory solution. A mediation is simply a settlement conference conducted by a neutral third party in an attempt to work out a specific dispute.
  • Injunctive Relief: If fines and dispute resolution do not work, an association may need to file a lawsuit requesting injunctive relief to compel the homeowner’s compliance.  An injunction is a Court Order requiring the homeowner to comply with a specific mandate or rule or to refrain from doing something in particular.  While this may seem like an extreme remedy, it is sometimes the only mechanism to compel compliance with the covenants. There are also time limitations for filing these lawsuits, so make certain to discuss this proposed remedy with your attorney.

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