No matter how innocent or small the violation, never underestimate the possibility of it blowing up and costing both the association and owner far more money than it ever should have. Case in point: Avignon Villa Homes and Mr. Jim Hildebrand. This dispute involves a Kansas community where an owner decided to fight for his right and freedom to install various improvements without going through the required architectural approval process or following the rules in the community.
It all started when Mr. Hildebrand moved into the community in 2012 and did not read the rules or covenants provided to him. As a result, he received a call from the community manager advising him of several violations occurring on his property, including but not limited to keeping ceramic flower pots on the driveway.
The owner then installed a decorative wall on the side of his home without requesting or obtaining association approval, as required by the governing documents, which resulted in additional violation notices. In order to protect his “constitutional rights”, the owner initiated legal action against the association, which remains unresolved in 2019.
To date, both parties have spent approximately $400,000 in legal fees, with more fees to come as the most recent court decision, requiring owner to pay the association a $25,000 fine, gets appealed. So what’s the lesson to be learned? If nothing else, fighting for the principle of things can be very expensive!!