Some in the membership may believe the association is similar to Big Brother when they wish to alter the exterior of their home or do anything that requires approval of the Board of Directors or Architectural Review Committee. The architectural review or design review program is actually a benefit to everyone—not a burden. The association’s architectural design standards are based on harmony with the overall community, consideration for neighbors, and high-quality construction practices. The architectural design review program exists to maintain, protect, and enhance the value of the membership’s individual property, and it strives for a balance between individual rights and the good of the entire community.
While association members have the biggest stake in property values, others are also very interested in seeing the association well maintained and looking its best. Potential home buyers and lenders’ financial support are intertwined closely with the associations. Also, public officials have an interest in the maintaining and the enhancement of the association since well maintained communities improve the overall standards of the entire community in which the association resides.
The association should make all efforts to notify new association members of its architectural design review requirements as soon as a new member moves into the association. These guidelines should contain everything needed for the approval process, design requirements, and the association’s basic design philosophy. The guidelines can even list the changes that do not need approval.
The Architectural Review Committee should make every effort to process applications fairly, reasonably, and quickly. Architectural violations are the leading cause of lawsuits in most associations and the process must be taken seriously by all parties involved.