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HOA changes homes’ color schemes

Q: First, I have to thank you for your weekly article regarding homeowners association questions and concerns. They have been very enlightening.

My reason for writing you is pertaining to my new HOA (board), which took over January 2021. It is demanding that all residents repaint their homes by March 31, 2023, using a new color scheme.

A little background: I am the original homeowner (since August 1999). I still have my original builders homeowner’s manual. We had a color choice of nine schemes, ranging from light tan to mid-brown for the primary color (perfect desert colors). I choose the lightest one because I have learned how it will minimize the heat absorption/retention during the summer. It looks very clean and less fading. I have repainted my home the original color scheme and paint brand (with HOA approval) for years, and it still looks fresh and new. I recently found out via a new neighbor about the HOA repaint demand and the 10 new color schemes. All dark colors (grays, dark blue, mauve and darker brown tones). Many neighbors are upset since some have recently repainted their homes (the original colors) less than a year ago and don’t care for the new color choices.

Can an HOA dictate a color scheme change (no neighbors ever heard of a vote or feedback) and demand repainting? What’s next? Mandatory pink front doors!

Your guidance and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

A: Interesting question. Most governing documents will have a maintenance section that requires the homeowner to properly maintain their home. That often requires the homeowner to paint their home as needed. Most color schemes are not found in the covenants, conditions and restrictions but in a separate document, such as the architectural guidelines.

Many architectural committees and boards are revising their color schemes, often to create a more modern look. In some cases, the original color paint is not available anymore.

For those homeowners who have recently painted their homes with the original color schemes, the association would have a difficult time requiring these owners to repaint their newly painted homes with the new colors.

There may be some legal precedence. Under Nevada Revised Statutes 116.3111 (3), improvements or alterations that are visible from any portion of the community must be in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents. If at the time of purchase of the home, the color scheme was part of the original architectural guidelines, the association may possibly not have the authority to mandate a new color scheme.

Q: I faithfully read your real estate column every Sunday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. I would appreciate your opinion regarding to what lengths an HOA can force an owner-occupied couple to repaint their entire house.

My wife and I have lived in the same house for 19 years. In that time there have been multiple turnovers in not only HOA management companies but also members of the board itself. The current membership consists of five people, three of which have been on the board for several years. Each house has specific color requirements as determined by the CC&Rs.

The house we live in was certified for occupancy in 2000, but the original owner never moved in, and my wife and I bought the house in 2003. After a few years, we had the house completely repainted to match the required color scheme.

As the membership of the board evolved, the latest makeup asked that we repaint the house a second time due to what they considered extreme fading. Because the front trim of the house is a darker color than the rest of the structure, we had just the front repainted along with adjoining outside walls that are visible from the street. That was probably five to six years ago and seemed to satisfy the board at that time.

Fast forward to 2022, and once again, the board has required over 180 of the approximately 250 houses to be repainted. So for the third time we had the front trim of the house repainted along with the adjoining walls that are visible from the street.

As you can imagine, this is not good enough and as a result we have been issued a letter of non-compliance with a hearing next month. The CC&R’s language reference in the board’s request states only that the house needs to be maintained and does not specifically address painting. All previous repainting was done by the same licensed/bonded painter who felt that the other three sides of the house were satisfactory.

We do live on the sunny side of the street with minimal desert landscaping so there is no doubt that some fading to the light beige color takes place. It probably starts fading within two to three years, and even the licensed painter states every house with dark trim could face repainting every five years. I have no problem with repainting the dark color trim, but I honestly don’t see an extreme difference between the light color beige that was recently used on the front and the old, somewhat faded beige on the rest of the house.

Is another $2,000 redo in our future? I appreciate your learned opinion. Thank you.

A: Most associations would consider the painting of a house properly maintaining the home. From the association’s view point, painting adds value to all of the homes.

From the description of your home, facing the sunny side of the street and the light beige color that has some fading, you may want to budget your home for additional painting notices from your association.

Barbara Holland is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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