The firm’s Marc A. Smiley authored an article that appeared as a Board of Contributors guest column in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper. The article, which is titled “Delay Causes Loss for HOA in Lawsuit Over House Color,” discusses the takeaways from a recent ruling by the Appellate Division of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County. The ruling focuses on one of the most common architectural review stipulations that homeowners’ associations use to maintain aesthetic standards for their communities: the approval of the colors which homeowners may use to paint the exterior of their homes. Marc’s article reads:
Many HOAs require the prior review and approval of proposed house colors by architectural review committees, which are typically overseen by three parcel owners who are not also members of the association’s board of directors.
However, many associations’ governing documents also include provisions to limit the power of the association to take action against color changes and other architectural modifications in perpetuity. Their declarations of covenants hold that new colors and other unapproved modifications will be deemed to be approved if they are not challenged by the association within a set period of time (typically one year).
A recent ruling by the Appellate Division of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County confirmed that such requirements for community associations to act within a set timeframe will be strictly construed and applied by Florida’s courts.