5 On Your Side

Homeowners' association battles resident over house trim

Posted October 22, 2008
Updated October 17, 2011

— Homeowner Crystal Adu was told she was not welcome to use the amenities in her upscale, golf-course development because of the trim on her house.

Adu’s home has vinyl/aluminum trim that she had installed. The Chapel Ridge Homeowners' Association approved Adu’s plan, which clearly listed the vinyl trim.

Documents show that six months after it approved Adu's work, the association amended its guidelines to prohibit that kind of trim.

“So after they changed the restrictions, it seemed like they pretty much attacked us like a shark,” Adu said.

The Chapel Ridge community told the Adus to replace the trim, which would cost an estimated $18,000.

“I just don't think it's fair. I don't think it's ethical. I think it's unscrupulous business practices,” Adu said.

The homeowners' association also said the trim was installed improperly but would not specify what was wrong with it.

Adu hired an inspector, who said the trim was installed correctly.

Homeowners' association attorney Jennifer Andrews admits the association missed the trim in the plans, but said the group "can pursue aesthetic issues at their discretion."

Along with baring the Adus from the development's amenities, the association threatened to levy a lien and fines.

Adu said she already had been fined $500 twice for a different reason.

“My husband and I were working in our own yard prior to moving into our home on landscaping," Adu said. They drew "a nuisance fine for disrupting the neighborhood. Mind you, we were the only house on the street.”

Attorney Clark Brewer, who represents both homeowners' associations and homeowners, said that based on the state’s Planned Community Act, a homeowner cannot be fined more than $100 per incident.

Brewer said most neighborhoods with homeowners' associations require people to get approval to do anything to the exterior of their home, but he questions the trim violation alleged in Adu's case.

“I think the association is going to have a hard time trying to back up this decision or insisting that these people have to remove this product ... when the architectural committee made the original mistake,” Brewer said.

After 5 on Your Side got involved, Andrews said the homeowner’s association dropped the trim issue and reinstated the Adus' amenities.

Andrews also said the two $500 fines had been levied against the builder, Sam Lynch, not the Adus, and, therefore, the fines do not fall under the Planned Community Act. Brewer disputed that interpretation.

Andrews also blamed the controversy on Lynch. WRAL's calls to Lynch went unreturned Thursday.

Andrews said the association has inspected Adu's home and found that everything is in order.

Adu said she and her husband are thrilled, but she still thinks the situation as a whole was absurd.

“I called you all (5 on Your Side) because consumers need to be alerted to practices like this. I mean, I would have never imagined that I would be experiencing this kind of treatment – never in a million years,” Adu said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • sheablue22 Oct 30, 2008

    So you can't use the pool and golf course because your previously board-approved vinyl siding has now officially been banned...? Wow. Is it just me or is everyone else rolling their eyes at this too?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 28, 2008

    Can I get a show of hands...if you're a so-called "less government" person and you're saying HOAs are "unConstituational" and you're asking for gov't intervention in the form of MORE laws restricting personal freedoms. Can you say "cognitive dissonance"?

    HOAs are voluntary, so you are intentionally restricting your own Constitutional Rights...no one else's. No one is forcing you to buy a house, much less one in an HOA neighborhood. So, keep your freedmon-taking laws to yourself.

    7degrees, it's your own fault you didn't know about the HOA. It's even listed on the MLS, so you'd know BEFORE you got in the realtor's car to go look at the house. And if the HOA box wasn't checked, wouldn't that be the first question our of an HOA-hating person's mouth?..."Does this place have an HOA?"

    What else do people sign that they don't read...and then deny responsibility for? Sheesh.

    (It's way too easy to be bitter in such a large pool of ineptness and hypocrisy.)

  • Mom2two Oct 28, 2008

    I learned about HOA the hard way, moved out and now live in a nice, quiet neighborhood where the houses are well-built and a house for sale has only happened twice in the last 4 years. I have found that GOOD NEIGHBORS are far more important than PROPERTY VALUES.

  • LuvLivingInCary Oct 28, 2008

    this is so backwards. i think this is when you have a new board elected that has some common sense. work it that way.

  • Scubagirl Oct 27, 2008

    This is just so absurd! HOAs are getting to big for their britches methinks! So glad my neighborhood doesn't have one. It's my property, my decision.

  • chargernut69 Oct 27, 2008

    I moved out of the HOA fiasco after a few years of putting up with all the absurd rules... type of mailbox, color of fence, etc.

    Some of these HOA enforcement people really need some psychiatric help...!

  • ncweddingdj.com Oct 27, 2008

    Looking at the picture, considering the location, the history of the town, what is your question? It is exactly why we moved from Pittsboro after living there only a year...."Bringing a little piece of Mississippi in 1960 to the Triangle."

  • redneck050 Oct 24, 2008

    cant imagine some idiot knockin on my door telling me what i can and cant do on my own property. if i didnt pop a cap id prolly just laugh at him in public every chance i got. this is usa not communist russia. this country is goin to heck in a hand basket wonder who is goin to finish us off obama, mccain, or gasoline i just wish they would get it over and done with one way or another

  • allie19 Oct 24, 2008

    We had a lady here in town that had lived in a house for years and the town attorney told her she had to move, that property was going to be rezoned. The little old lady had her house moved to God knows where. Now the town attorney has put his office on that same spot. Strange isn't it.

  • allie19 Oct 24, 2008

    This is almost as fishy as what goes on in Zebulon politics!!