ILNews

Homeowner association has authority to decide on new home proposal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s ruling against two homeowners challenging their homeowners association’s interpretation of covenants on building a new home.

In William J. Harness and Bridget V. Harness v. Tabassum Parkar, Arshad Husain, John Mattingly Homes, Inc., and Lakeridge Crossing Homeowners Association, Inc., No. 87A04-1107-PL-380, the appellate court affirmed a ruling by Warrick Superior Judge Keith Meier denying a request for injunctive relief and final judgment from William and Bridget Harness.

The Harnesses filed suit against their Lakeridge Crossing Homeowners Association, as well as a local builder hired by two neighbors to build a home, because of their concerns about the new structure complying with the neighborhood’s restrictive covenants. The HOA held a public hearing about the Harnesses concerns – specifically one provision regarding the proposed project’s building details that gave the HOA sole and exclusive jurisdiction to approve or disapprove a plan.

In March 2011, after a hearing on the topic, the HOA approved the neighbor’s proposed site plan as long as the home is located no closer to the water’s edge of Blue Lake than the Harnesses’ home. The Harnesses disagreed with the resolution and appealed in court, but the trial judge agreed with the HOA’s right to decide the matter and granted summary judgment against the Harnesses.

On appeal, the judges turned to the record and found the evidence supported the trial court’s findings about the HOA’s approval, the deliberative process required by the covenant at issue. Finding otherwise would invalidate the covenant, which the court has refused to do in past cases.

The appellate court affirmed the trial judge’s decision to not substitute his subjective judgments about the covenants in place of the HOA’s subjective judgment that has exclusive authority on this case.

Even though the Harnesses didn’t prevail in this appeal, the appellate panel determined that they didn’t file a frivolous suit or maintain the appeal in bad faith. The requested appellate attorney fees should not be awarded to the opposing parties.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

ADVERTISEMENT