How Can I Enforce My HOA’s Declaration Provisions?

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My HOA wants to allow christmas lights to be hung on the balcony of our high-rise. I requested they not do this because it looks ridiculous. However, I looked into our condo declaration. The declaration 18.15 states the following: “Do not hang any laundry, garments or other objects, which are visible from outside of the unit, except for draperies, blinds, shades, or other suitable window coverings.” It is to my belief, that hanging Christmas lights would be “hung and visible from outside of the unit,” and therefore would be a violation of the Condo declaration. The HOA believe they can allow it but I believe they need to vote and get 75% of homeowner approval in order to amended the declaration under 6.1 of our condo declaration: “Except as otherwise provide in this declaration or the exhibits attached hereto, this Declaration (including the Condominium Plat) may be amended by affirmative vote of the Owners of 75% of all the Condominium Parcels at an Association meeting duly called for such purpose pursuant to the By-Laws.” Can the HOA board members allow lights to be hung when the declaration states that nothing can be hung that is visible from the outside? Lights are being hung on the balconies and clearly visible from the outside.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The question is not whether the board can allow this — they’re already doing that — but what can you do about it? If the board won’t enforce its own rules, you might have to sue to enforce them. That’s more than a little expensive, and risky (a court might agree with them, either taking an expansive definition of the rules, or perhaps determining that the owners’ free speech rights trump the rules).

Alternately, you can see about gathering enough residents who support your position to put pressure on the board, or even get them replaced. That’s probably a better way to start, both because it’s cheaper and because if the vast majority of owners disagree with you, they’ll just amend the rules as you describe.



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Author: House Attorney