Homeowner Associations (HOAs) have the power to control how a neighborhood looks to a certain extent. They are able to regulate the external appearance of homes and gardens under the premise that the external appearance of one home could affect the value of all other homes in the community.
Usually, an Architectural Control Committee (ACC) is established so that the HOC can approve or deny external home improvements. If a home improvement is not approved by the ACC, the homeowner in question may be liable for a fine or may need to engage in a lawsuit.
If your neighbor or your HOA is accusing you of making changes to your property without getting permission, you may need to take action so that your interests are represented. The following is an overview of the law on the matter in Arizona.
Not all external improvements need approval
Any improvements that are visible from a neighboring property need to have prior approval from the ACC. This means that a playground you set up for your children may need to gain prior approval. However, not all external improvements need to go through this process. For example, solar panels, children’s play signs, political signs around election times and flags must generally be permitted.
You may have benefitted from automatic approval
There is often an automatic approval provision in place to ensure that the ACC comes to a decision on homeowner submissions quickly. For example, if your community has a 30-day automatic approval provision, your ACC cannot take action to deny your application if they take more than 30 days to come to their decision. This is why it is usually a good idea to make your application as early as possible.
If you have become involved in a dispute involving a neighbor or your HOA, it is important that you take swift action so that your interests are fully represented and that you are able to improve your home in the way that you desire.