HOA Failure to Conduct Meetings Due to COVID-19 Did not Give Owner Right to Proceed with Construction Without Required Approval by the Association

This case involved a dispute between a homeowner (“Owner”) and his homeowners association (“Association”) over Owner’s construction of two structures (a patio enclosure and a wrought iron fence) on his property without having first obtained approval from Association. Association’s Amended Declaration contained a requirement that homeowners obtain preapproval of any exterior improvements to be built on their lots.

To comply with the requirement for first obtaining approval from Association, in early August of 2020, Owner telephoned Association’s property manager with the intention of scheduling an appointment to meet with Association’s board of directors to submit plans and specs for the patio enclosure Owner was desirous of constructing on his property. The property manager informed Owner that the Board had postponed meetings indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Owner subsequently made two other attempts later that month to speak to someone about the structures he wanted to construct but he was not able to speak with anyone about obtaining the desired approval, so he went ahead and began work on the patio enclosure. The work continued throughout the month of September 2020.

On September 29, 2020, Owner attempted to contact Association’s property manager again to inform him that he had commenced work on the project and that he wanted to present his plans to Association’s Board. At that time, Owner was informed that Association had a different property manager whose identity Owner learned of in late October 2020. Owner then waited until March of 2021 to:

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