We have all heard of that bright pink or purple house that somehow exists as an eyesore or curiosity in an otherwise traditional neighborhood.  How did it come to be here?  Aren’t the neighbors furious about it?

In a homeowners association and site condominiums[1], there are standards that are contained in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“CCRs” or “Declaration”) or Rules and Regulations that guard against the rogue homeowner deciding that he or she is going to make an architectural or other statement by going overly bold or outside of what has previously been done in the neighborhood.  This is generally prevented or rectified by requiring an approval process with the requirement of an application to the Board of Directors or the Architectural Control Committee (“ACC”).

A common provision found in homeowners associations’ or site condominiums’ CCRs or Rules and Regulations is something along the lines of:

Exterior Painting:

  • The external appearance of a residence shall be kept substantially comparable with the general appearance of existing structures in the community.
  • Other colors may be used as long it is one that already exists within the community.
  • Adjacent residences cannot be painted with the same color scheme.
  • The trim must remain the same color as was applied by the builder.
  • An Architectural Variance Request (“AVR”) must be submitted to the Board for review and approval prior to painting the home’s exterior.

The requirement of an AVR application submitted to the ACC or the Board of Directors tends to prevent disputes over paint colors when a homeowner wants to change the colors of the external paint.  However, we are seeing an uptick in disputes around this issue as more homeowners have invested in the maintenance of their homes over the last few years.

In order to avoid a dispute with your Association, make sure you have received approval from the Board or ACC for any change in your paint color.  Some Association rules also require approval or at least acknowledgement that you have made your immediate neighbors aware of your intent to change the color of your house (or to make other exterior changes on your property).  It is also a great idea to make hard color copies and electronic copies of your submissions to the ACC or Board and of the signatures you receive granting any variances.

Ignorance of your Association’s Governing Documents is not going to be an excuse to following the required process to change your house’s color.   Avoid a costly dispute and don’t surprise anyone with the latest home fashion color.  Only become the first tangerine colored home on the block if it meets with the requirements of the Association and you have obtained the appropriate approvals!