If you live in a community with an HOA, then you likely know that home improvement projects require approval from your association’s Architectural Control/Review Committee (ACC/ARC). While this extra step can feel tedious when you’re ready to break out the paint and tools, it is important as it helps your community maintain a cohesive look, which ultimately protects your home’s value.

But what happens when you submit your request and it doesn’t get approved? Before you head back to the home improvement store with your receipt to stand in the return line, check out our steps for making a proper appeal when your ACC request is denied.

Step 1: Review the ACC Committee’s Response.

If your request is denied, the first step you’ll want to take is to thoroughly review the response from your ACC Committee. Did the committee specify why the request was denied? Did the committee give any clear steps that could be followed to have the request approved? Often, by reviewing this response, you will have answers as to whether the request can be successfully appealed, along with the next steps you need to take.

Step 2: Know the Rules

Once you’ve reviewed the response from the ACC committee, it’s time to consider your request and the rules of the community, which can be found in the association’s governing documents. Search for any rules that pertain to the modification request you submitted.  Did you want to paint your mailbox a lovely shade of neon yellow with bright blue spots, but your association requires that all mailboxes be painted white? Then, you will know that your request will likely not get approved, even with an appeal.

Taking the time to do your research will help you along your journey to get approved, but also may save you time if an approval is not possible for the modification you want to make.

But what if you disagree with the committee’s decision? In most instances, requests will be denied due to a conflict with the community’s governing documents, but sometimes you will find that the rules surrounding your modification are vague or fall within a gray area. In those instances, it’s best to take note of the rules you find within the governing documents so you can be prepared to reference them when making your appeal.

Step 3: Make Needed Modifications to Your Request

After you’ve done thorough research into why you were denied and the rules of the association, now is the time to make modifications to your request. Whether it’s changing your desired paint color to one that fits the association’s guidelines or revisiting blueprints to scale your project down to a required measurement, it’s important that you take the time to refresh your request to ensure that your appeal will be approved.

Step 4: Request an Appeal

Now that you’ve done your thorough research, you are finally ready to start the appeal process. How, when, and where to start this process will vary from association to association. Depending on the state where your association is located, there may be particular rules that your association must follow when it comes to how and when ACC appeals are held. Information for the appeal process may be included in the response you receive from the ACC committee, but if it is not, check your community’s website or governing documents for further instruction.

Step 5: Prepare for Your Appeal

The final step to making a proper ACC appeal is also the most important—being prepared. When attending your appeal hearing, you’ll want to be sure that you have all the documentation pertaining to your modification request, all the information regarding the changes you’ve made to your modification plan, and any reference material, like notes regarding the governing documents, that may be needed.

We hope these steps help you navigate your way to an approval from your ACC committee. These extra steps will help you contribute to your community’s cohesive, attractive design, which ultimately maintains the property value of your home. For in-depth tips on the ACC process, check out our Homeowner’s Guide to Architectural Review Requests.