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Homeowner stopped from selling house by HOA dispute

Many California homeowners live in neighborhoods with HOAs or homeowners associations. While these associations can provide an important service in keeping up an area and caring for common spaces, in some cases, overstepping HOAs can lead to disputes with individual homeowners. In one Texas case, a man says that his HOA is prohibiting him from selling his house and moving because they claim to disapprove of the color on his roof.

The man says that he was denied a certificate that would clear his home to be sold because of his roof. The roof had been damaged due to storms in the region, and he hired a neighborhood roofer to repair the damage. When additional damage was discovered, the homeowner opted to replace the roof rather than simply patching it. In the process, the owner chose gray shingles for the roof, similar to the color of other neighborhood roofs.

He received a violation notice from his HOA a week later, claiming that he had not received permission for the change. However, the homeowner says that the HOA bylaws do not require approval before roof changes like adding shingles. The bylaws allow residents to choose "weatherwood" or "earth" tones, which generally are understood to include shades of gray. Indeed, the man says that he was later sent a list of acceptable colors that include the very color of his own shingles.

The HOA dispute has dragged out, even as the man has moved out and taken a job in another community. He is refusing to take out a loan to re-roof his house, especially as his real estate lawyer has noted that the HOA is violating state law through some of its actions. When homeowners are caught in a real estate dispute with an HOA, an attorney may play a critical role in bringing the issue to a close and allowing the parties to move forward.

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