In neighborhoods with a homeowners association (HOA), you may have to get approval for remodeling or landscape projects from the association’s architectural control committee (ACC). What is this committee’s purpose? How do you get approval for your plan? Here’s what you need to know.
What does the architectural control committee do?
The architectural control committee, which may go by another name, such as the architectural review committee, aims to maintain appearance standards for the community’s homes and landscapes to preserve property values.
In most associations, the ACC must review homeowner plans for changes to the appearance of a property to ensure that the changes will uphold the community standards for appearance. Without the ACC, a homeowner could paint his house a gaudy color or uproot his landscape and replace it with something incongruous with the community. The other owners, all of whom are members of the HOA, would have no recourse.
How does the ACC operate?
Generally, homeowners must submit their plans to the ACC before work can begin. Typically there is an application a homeowner submits for plan approval. The ACC may have the authority to approve or deny the project on its own or may have to submit its recommendation to the HOA board of directors for a vote.
Changes to a home that needs approval could be as simple as repainting a different color or making a structural change, such as a room addition. The ACC generally will need a description of the plans and materials, drawings, a list of colors to be used, and a timeline for the project.
With landscaping changes such as enlargement of flower beds, addition of shrubs and trees or changing the ground’s contours, the ACC will likely require a description of all plants and landscape materials to be used as well as a layout drawing.
The HOA can legally order homeowners who make changes without obtaining proper ACC approval to reverse the work done and restore the house or landscape to its original form.
How to work with your ACC
- HOA boards of directors enforce a set of regulations called covenants, controls and restrictions (CCRs). To avoid problems with the ACC, carefully read the CCRs, which may address applications to make changes, before submitting plans.
- The application process may start on a web portal where you can submit your plan on a form. Be thorough in describing your project and submitting documents.
- The ACC will probably want to meet with you to discuss your plans.
- If the ACC approves your plans, keep the committee informed as the project unfolds. The ACC may require you to submit copies of permits and inspections.
- If your project is not approved, you may be able to get approval if you modify your plans. Ask what changes the ACC would like to see.
- If the ACC refuses to approve your plans, your association’s CCRs may have a provision for an appeal to the HOA board.