Q: Our architectural review policy states that the Board has 30 days to approve or disapprove any ARB application or it will be deemed approved. What happens if we do not respond within 30 days?
The request will likely be considered to be approved.
A recent Court of Appeals decision in Ohio addressed this very issue. In fact, the Court held that the Association had to very closely follow the specific guidelines within the policy.
Owner applied to build a shed in their backyard. Sheds were prohibited by the Declaration. The policy required that any ARB decision be given in writing. Another provision of the policy required that a decision be rendered within 30 days or it would be deemed approved. A board member verbally disapproved the shed within 30 days of the request, as it was prohibited by the Declaration. When the owner had not received a response from the ARB in writing, he notified the Association that he would commence building his shed.
The ARB then sent a rejection in writing after the 30-day response time. The Court not only found that the application was deemed approved for failure to respond, in writing, within 30 days, but also found that although the Declaration prohibited sheds, the shed was still allowed. The Court found that although the Declaration prohibited sheds, the ARB still had the ability to “consider all requests for approvals and not just those ‘actually allowed.’” Moral of the story: Respond timely! Summit Pointe Home Owners Assn., Inc. v. Neslen, 2013-Ohio-2643