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Question: According to our governing documents "If a home owner desires to decorate the exterior in a color and finish other than that supplied by the builder at the time of construction, then the consent of 50% of the members of the association and all holders of first mortgages shall also be required prior to such change being effected."

We had an owner who wanted to paint their home a different color and the board told him to put together a written request and color samples for a member and lender vote as required. Instead, he wrote a petition and went door to door to gather signatures. One of the signatures belonged to the board president. Almost half of the members never saw the petition. He has started painting.

Answer: I hope your board president has been removed from office for allowing and encouraging this violation to take place. HOA decisions should never be made by door to door petitions although petitions can certainly be used as the basis for holding a meeting. But the final decision should be made at a meeting where all owners are allowed to discuss the pros and cons and then make an informed decision.

By the wording of your governing documents, approval of 100% of the mortgagees is required in addition to 50% of the members. No mortgagee approval was obtained so that killed the request. But realistically, getting any of the mortgagees to respond to such a request is impossible since there is no mechanism for such decision making.

The person that wrote this provision into the governing documents was ignorant about how the homeowner association system is designed to work and may have tied the members' hands forever from making a paint color change.

However, the board should require the offending member to repaint according to the standard. He was told what the procedure was and circumvented it. If the board allows the offense to stand, it will be difficult to enforce any standard at all.

Question: What is the correct procedure to select officer positions? Historically, my board meets immediately following the annual meeting, someone nominates a director to the position of president, someone else "seconds" the motion, followed by a show of hands to determine if a majority vote exists. How do we get a second or third nominee considered in this procedure? We always wind-up with the old president serving another one-year term.

Answer: It's up to the directors to select the officers so the scenario you describe is normal. If you want things to change, someone (you?) needs to campaign with the stated goal of becoming president. That strategy needs to include getting other directors to support that goal before the selection meeting.

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