One of the greatest joys of being a homeowner is being able to make your space your own. However, when you live in a community with an HOA, you may find that there are some extra steps that are needed prior to making any changes to your home.
In this guide, we’ll go in-depth to cover:
- what type of requests need to be made prior to modifying your home,
- what types of modifications require a request,
- to whom these requests need to be made,
- why these rules exist,
- and, most importantly, what happens if you don’t follow them.
When it comes to modifications, additions, or alterations to the outside of your home, your community’s governing documents will typically require that you submit a request to the association’s Architectural Control Committee (ACC). To know whether or not your project will require ACC approval, check your association’s governing documents for verification, though it is typically projects that alter the appearance of the outside of your home.
What Is an Architectural Control Committee?
The Architectural Control Committee, also known as the Architectural Review Committee (ARC), is a committee that oversees modifications, alterations, and additions to lots in the community. This committee typically consists of volunteers within the community. In some states, board members can also be members of this committee. However, some states, like Texas, require that the members of this committee not be a member of the board, the spouse of a board member, or someone that shares a household with a board member.
Why Is an ACC Request Important?
By overseeing all modifications and alterations that occur within a community, the ACC can ensure that the community maintains a uniform, cohesive look and follows the rules set in the community’s guidelines. This helps the homes within the community retain their property values and helps ensure that your community remains well maintained.
Can I Just Skip Submitting an ACC Request? Surely the Board Won’t Notice!
While having to submit an ACC request and wait for approval does add time to your project, it is really important that you don’t purposely skip this step, even with modifications that you feel your board may not notice. By breaking the rules and not seeking proper permission, you may find yourself facing fines. Also, there’s the possibility that the association will request that you return the modification to its original state or remove any addition that has been added, which would certainly become costly.
What Does the ACC Process Look Like?
The ACC submission process will vary, depending on the rules set forth by your community’s governing documents. However, most associations will have directions on how to submit your ACC request either listed on the community’s website or sent regularly via email.
That being said, for most associations, the process will generally involve you submitting your request to the ACC. The request may have requirements on what type of information is needed to be included with your request, like pictures or project dimensions. Once the request is received, the ACC will have a set amount of time to review your request and then provide either an approval or a rejection.
Now that you have an idea of what the submission process entails, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure your project gets approved.
The first step in ensuring an approval is by verifying if your project follows the rules. By checking the governing documents prior to planning your project, you can see if there are any restrictions when it comes to the types of modifications or additions that can be performed on your home. Also, you can confirm if the community has any restrictions when it comes to colors and materials used.
The second step to ensuring your project is approved is to be prepared. Since your project can be rejected or delayed simply due to a lack of details in your request, you want to over deliver when it comes to providing details on what you have planned. Include pictures, color swatches, dimensions, and even schedules of when you anticipate your project to be completed. Providing all of this information up front will guarantee a swift and efficient approval process.
Once approved, you may start work on your home improvement project. However, be aware that additional steps may be required after your project is completed. Your ACC may need to complete an inspection of the work completed to ensure the modification or addition was completed as according to plan.
What Happens if the ACC Rejects My Submission?
While unfortunate, ACC submissions can be rejected. If your submission is rejected, you may be able to revise and resubmit your request for a second review, or you may be able to appeal the ACC’s decision. These options will be determined by local law and regulations or your association’s governing documents.
By taking the time to complete an ACC request prior to starting your home improvement projects, you’ll save yourself time and money. While these extra steps do take time, they help ensure your home fits within the community’s cohesive design.
For more information on making modifications to your home, check out our handy guide on Home Improvement Projects!