I live in North Carolina. We have an HOA
which has a covenant that all garbage receptacles shall be behind screening so as not to be seen from the street or by other neighbors
. I have lived here for 16 years and kept my garbage cans at the top of my driveway, which clearly is a violation of the covenants. However, 75% of the neighborhood also does this and has been keeping their garbage cans in plain view of the street. In May, I received a letter from the HOA requesting that I remove my trash cans from view of the street and/or install screening. I admit, I did not take immediate action as I did not see my neighbors complying around me. Upon receipt of the second letter, I moved my trashcans out of view. Since such time, I have had some construction
work done on my house and subcontractors dragged the garbage can out into full view again. Apparently, whoever is inspecting the neighborhood must have driven by on that particular day, snapped a picture of it. The HOA now intends to fine me $100 per day if I they catch me again.
I am now preparing for my hearing and I started polling my neighbors about whether they had also received these letters. Of the 75% of our 800 lot neighborhood, I know of only two letters sent. One to me and one to my next door neighbor. Coincidentally, the neighbor on the other side of me, who stores their trash can in the exact same place as I do, did NOT get a letter.
I have asked the HOA for a list of addresses to which violations for this particular covenant had been sent and they have refused to supply the information. Additionally, one of the board members was a good friend of mine, with which I have recently become estranged.
Do I have a case for selective and arbitrary enforcement of CC&Rs. I am actually in agreement with the Covenants and intend to comply with the request for screening, regardless of what my neighbors do, but I also do not want to be in a position that if a subcontractor or one of my daughters friends drags the garbage can out and if a neighbor suddenly wants revenge catches it on film, I have to pay $100!!
I would like to engage a lawyer, but I want to be sure that I can also recoup my legal fees if I have to go to court.
Thanks for your help!