Carefully Consider Denying Member’s Request

October 18, 2012
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There are many types of requests that members may make to the board. For example, a member may request permission to modify his home. From the association's perspective, a board or committee may deny that request for reasons such as obstruction of views and maintaining the uniform aesthetics of the community. Members often see a denial as unfair and against their rights as homeowners in some way. But, even if your declaration and association rules give the board or one of its committees broad discretion to approve or deny members’ requests to make modifications to units, don't arbitrarily deny a member's request. If you deny a request, always state a fair and rational reason for your denial. Otherwise, if the member challenges your decision in court, the court may decide your decision-making process was unfair and allow the member to make the modification.

Another type of request centers around parking rules. When rules are implemented to distribute limited resources, such as parking spaces, or to preserve the community's appearance by prohibiting commercial vehicles, members may seek an exception to those rules or interpret the rules in their favor. Tensions may rise, and lawsuits may occur when the association tries to enforce its parking rules against violating members. However, in some cases, your community may be required to make a reasonable exception to the rules. Fair housing law requires you to make “reasonable accommodations” when your rules might otherwise prevent people with disabilities from living in or enjoying your community. This includes your parking rules.