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Topic: Architectural Policies

Architectural Policies

Architectural Policies: Make sure your association has them!


Community associations maintain control over the common elements and exterior appearance of the units and buildings for various reasons. Most common interest communities are built with a "theme" concept that if compromised, reduces the value of the units. Well thought out and consistently enforced architectural requirements and rules help maintain uniformity, which in turn helps support the highest market values of the units.


Another important reason to maintain control is to assure consistency and quality of maintenance, repairs, and unit modifications. Without association mandated requirements and rules, this control would be lost. Requiring adherence to uniformity standards does not mean that changes can't be made. Instead, for commonly requested unit owner projects, the association should establish standards and specifications that include durability, color, style, make and model so that all such changes are uniform.


Some unit owner requests for modifications have the potential to cause problems in the common areas like heat, noise, leaking in the roofs and walls, etc. The Association should think through each new modification carefully as to both the curb appeal and future maintenance issues.


Establishing architectural policies (or rules) to address issues related to the appearance of lots and the exterior of units goes a long way in preventing future problems.

A well-crafted architectural policy will:


Create a system for the review process that works


Clarify the governing documents regarding architectural alterations issues


Show the owners exactly what is expected of them in the architectural alteration process


Act as a guide for the committee to follow in the review process


Help satisfy due process requirements of the HOA

(Courtesy of

The policy is the most important step in the development of an architectural design review process. It will serve to assist the Members in designing their proposed project, guide them through the architectural review process, and provide guidance for consistent review by the committee and future review committees. This is a communication tool to the Members as well. The policy should clarify and explain:


1.the basis in the governing documents for architectural review


2.the objectives of architectural review

3.projects that require architectural review and approval the Architectural Committee is created, empowered, and staffed


5.what are the architectural review procedures and how they work


6.what are the specific project criteria and standards needed for design approval


7.specifications and specific design practices that will assist Members when applying for approval of projects

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