Court Says HOA is Entitled to Recover Attorney Fees on Claim Against Owner

This case involved a dispute between a homeowners’ association (“Association”) and an Owner (“Owner”) over exterior changes that Owner made to her property without the approval from Association’s Board of Directors and Architectural Review Committee (“ARC”).

Factually, Owner sought permission from Association’s ARC to construct a fence on her property that was only 6” from the property line when the ARC guidelines required that fences be set back one-foot from the property line. Owner’s request was denied, and she was informed by the ARC that it would be approved if the fence was set back one foot from the property line. In disregard of the ARC’s denial of her request, Owner proceeded to have the fence erected on her property with the 6” setback and not the required one-foot setback from the property line. Association thereafter demanded that Owner relocate the fence to comply with the required setback rules and informed Owner that her failure to comply would result in the filing of a lawsuit against her seeking to compel compliance and a recovery of attorney’s fees and costs. When Owner failed to comply, Association filed a lawsuit for injunctive relief and obtained summary judgment in its favor, but the trial court did not award Association its attorney’s fees. Thereafter, Association filed an appeal of the portion of the trial court’s judgment that denied an award of attorney’s fees.

On appeal, Association contended:

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