A typical example is a case mentioned in a Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes property law update recently, where the rules did not specify provisions regarding the colours of exterior paints that were allowed within the estate. In this particular case, although it seemed an odd choice, the owners painted lime green stripes on the exterior walls of their home and the HOA applied for an order to have them remove the stripes.
The MOI further provided for aesthetic controls and empowered the HOA to employ an architect to control design matters, including 'the specifications, materials and finishes to be used in such erection as well as all matters incidental thereto'.
While there was no list of specified colours and finishes in this case, the controversy is in the interpretation of the rules (by the owners) and the power given to the HOA to determine paint colours or finishes used on the houses.
"It has to be remembered that rules are there for a reason, and they are generally what has attracted someone to buy into that particular scheme. If each owner applies the rules as they interpret them, the concept of estate living where each unit should complement the scheme and the other homes, is compromised," says Hulbert.