Cantillana v. Five Oaks Homeowners Association (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-16-0277, 11 pp.) (Robert N. Hunter Jr., J.) Appealed from Durham County Superior Court. (Robert H. Hobgood, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Full-text opinion.
Holding: Although the parties’ condominium community was developed before the N.C. Planned Community Act was enacted, the Act nevertheless gives the defendant-homeowners association authority to fine plaintiff for violating restrictive covenants concerning door color.
We affirm the trial court’s dismissal without prejudice of plaintiff’s claims for declaratory and injunctive relief.
Plaintiff knew when she bought her condominium that it was subject to restrictive covenants. She read the rule pertaining to unit doors: “Exterior front doors are to be ‘4100 Five Oaks brown” as approved by the board of directors. All front doors are to be uniform in color.”
Nevertheless, without seeking architectural approval, plaintiff installed a glass front door on her condominium unit.
After notice and a hearing, the homeowners’ association board found plaintiff’s door to be noncompliant with the restrictive covenants, by-laws and rules. As permitted by the by-laws, rules and regulations, the board subjected plaintiff to a fine of $20 per day until she remedied the violation.
The fine began to run on Feb. 20, 2011. Plaintiff has still not installed a conforming door, nor has she paid the fines. Instead, she commenced this action for declaratory and injunctive relief. The trial court dismissed her action without prejudice.
Given plaintiff’s admitted knowledge of the restrictive covenants and rules and regulations prior to her installation of the glass door, plaintiff’s claim that defendants interfered with the quiet enjoyment of her property fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
Even though the restrictive covenants and by-laws do not specifically provide the board with the authority to fine homeowners for violations, the board has such authority under the N.C. Planned Community Act. This court has examined the constitutionality of G.S. § 47F-3-102(l2) and determined that its retroactive application allowing homeowners associations to impose fines does not violate the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The parties’ community came into existence in December 1975, and its articles of incorporation and declaration do not say that G.S. § 47F-3-102 does not apply.
Additionally, the events in question occurred in 2006, well after Jan. 1, 1999. Thus, under G.S. § 47F-3-102, the board has the authority to “impose reasonable fines … for reasonable violations of the declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations of the association.”
The rules and regulations which plaintiff admitted to reading clearly state that the homeowners’ association can fine homeowners $20 per day for a violation of the restrictive covenants and rules. Thus, defendants had the authority to fine plaintiff for her violation of the covenants and rules, her complaint was properly dismissed.