Governing Documents commonly include a provision that the Board and/or Architectural Committee have a certain number of days to render a decision on an architectural application (e.g. 45 days from the date that the application is received), and failure to render a decision within that timeframe results in the application being considered approved.
The Court of Appeals of Kentucky, in Ciochetty v. Fountain Trace Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Nos. 2021-CA-0171-MR, 2021-CA-0177-MR, 2021-CA-0243-MR (Ky Ct. App. Apr. 1, 2022), recently ruled that an application that does not meet the minimum requirements provided in the community documents does not trigger an architectural committee’s obligation to timely respond. However, the Court of Appeals did note that responding within the required timeframe, regardless of whether the application is complete, is considered best practice.
While the above-referenced case law is not binding in Arizona, it provides a useful reminder that the Board and/or Architectural Committee should (1) familiarize itself with all architectural procedures set forth in the Governing Documents, including approval timelines; and (2) always send out a written response to an architectural request within the approval timeline, regardless of whether the initial application is complete. If the initial application was incomplete, an argument could be made that the timeline to response was never triggered; however, best practice is protect the Board and/or Architectural Committee by sending timely, written responses to all architectural requests.
If your community is facing any of the above-discussed (or similar) issues, please contact Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C. for legal assistance.