The story that broke on Channel 4’s WSMV about a Brentwood elderly homeowner, whose Homeowners Association (HOA) threatened to sue over a wheelchair ramp installed without permission, brings to light something that most of us don’t think about, until we have a problem.
Charlotte Broadnax had a wheelchair ramp installed at her home in The Woodlands of Copperstone so her husband could come home for rehabilitation. Broadnax hired a contractor to install the ramp last November.
However, within the rules and restrictions of The Woodlands of Copperstone HOA guidelines, Broadnax needed to get approval before having the ramp built.
It can be easy for homeowners to make this mistake simply because they don’t understand, know the rules and restrictions, or sadly in some cases, associations report, people just break the rules.
Homeowners Associations are usually managed by outside professional sources, in this case Ghertner and Company, was the managing group. Within the community HOA, a volunteer group of neighbors who manage common areas and community property, creates its own covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These CC&Rs cover: resident behavior, architecture and responsibilities including fee schedules and fines for non compliance.
Most HOA’s have rules in place requiring approval for any exterior improvements, including adding additions, building fences or altering the look of the property. Typically an addition also has to be approved by the City’s Codes Department.
On June 1, 2015 a letter was delivered to Broadnax from the legal team for Ghertner and Company, seven months after the installation had taken place.
Channel 4 shared a statement from Kathleen Sutherland, Director of Training and Technical Services at Ghertner and Company that reads:
The governing documents for this community require that all exterior improvements receive prior approval. A letter was sent to the owner regarding the ramp as no application for approval had been received. The board did not know the ramp was for the homeowner, Mr. Broadnax, The association would like to work with the owners on a compromise regarding the appearance and location of the ramp and compliance with any applicable codes.
This story represents why its important for homeowners to read and understand their neighborhood’s rules and regulations.More Brentwood Stories