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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I purchased a multitenant retail store, in Houston. This retail

Customer Question

I purchased a multitenant retail store, in Houston. This retail store is behind the multifamily apartment. There are two occasions, that the middle of the night a pick up truck drove from the shopping parking into the store side walk, slammed to the pharmacy store front, ripped off the frame, door, glasses, robbed all the inventories, and left with lots of damages. Can you imagine if someone was behind the window could get killed with that type of impact? Now I am trying to install standard safety billiards on my side walk at the front of the entry, which the HOA preventing me from doing so. What is my remedy beside?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Have you sought to install decorative concrete planters reinforced with steel rebar as a barrier, which you can argue is for planting plants, yet would provide protection for the building? What does the HOA bylaw provide about improvements? Do they have a reason for disapproving what you are asking?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No! I am not trying to improve the Site. m trying to install 6" Diameter, 4' high billiards, with painted. They said it does not look good for the neighbor. I told them that they are comply with the city code and they install at the front of many stores, fuel stations, and national chain grocery. I told them I will make them liable if another collision starts, and possible injure someone. They still say no to installation.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Perhaps you missed the rationale of my question. An HOA has the right to have architectural requirements and rules for "looks" of the neighborhood and when you own anything in an HOA area they have the right to reject visible alterations to the building within the HOA even if they are legal by law. Them denying your request because they do not like the looks would not make them liable for someone driving through the store and you telling them you would make them liable of course you know would not make them liable.
So, if they do not like the looks of what you propose, you have to look for an alternative solution. What I was referring to was really concrete barriers that are designed in a decorative manner but built to prevent a vehicle from penetrating. They are constructed of concrete with rebar and would do the same thing as the 4' billiards you are looking to install. It was an alternative with a different look to do the same thing, which is why I posed my question that way, as I figured the HOA would not like the looks of the billiards you are suggesting as many of these HOA consider them unsightly, eyesores and many other descriptions, regardless of their functional purpose or if they meet city/county codes.
So, if the HOA will not approve as it not conforming to their HOA bylaws or architectural requirements, you would need to find another way.
If the billiards are not acceptable and they would not accept an alternative design as I suggested and they have nothing in their bylaws specifically prohibiting it, THEN you would have to file what is called a "declaratory judgment action" in the county court and you would have to argue that their denial was arbitrary and it was not based on any good cause and it is not specifically prohibited by the bylaws, so the board abused its discretion and the court will have to review the bylaws and rules and decide.
The alternative designs though could be what you need to protect your property and convince the HOA it is not bad looking for the HOA.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The retail store is behind the building and it is not visible, to the neighbor. The neighbor's write of way is not through my center, and the installation is within my common area side walk, and not in the parking lot. In fact all my tenants asking to install that safety billiards.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I understand your arguments that you are making and I am not saying that they are not valid, I am saying that if you are within the HOA, they have the right to say what you can or cannot install within the bylaws of the association.
You can make a written appeal to the board to reconsider this decision and present your evidence, but if they refuse, you either have to try to come up with an alternative they will agree to or you have to sue in court for them being unreasonable for no good cause.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Legally, owners within an HOA are really tied by what the board allows and the bylaws provide for and that is why many times we tell people considering buying in an HOA to run away from them.
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