Search This Blog

A Blog about Real Estate, How it Can Be Damaged, and Disputes Over its Transfer

This blog is a personal blog written to discuss legal issues affecting Georgia property, and how it is damaged, transferred, and fought over. I write this partly to keep abreast of the law, and partly to offer a forum for my writing. In order to find content, I often analyze Georgia Supreme Court decisions. I try to update this blog as I can, but writing is a time consuming process.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Association Required to Follow County Maintenance Code

Teague & Chambless, LLLP is representing homeowners against an association in a lawsuit and companion case.  The main case is styled and known as John Rymer, et al. v. Polo Golf & Country Club Homeowners Association, Case No. 10CV-0415 (Superior Court, Forsyth County, Georgia).   The case involves the Rymer's claims for damages due to flooding of their home.  The Rymers contend their damages are connected to failures of under ground pipes and a detention area in the Polo Subdivision.  The corrugated metal pipes in the subdivision were installed twenty five years ago, and are failing due to rust and age.

On July 3, 2012, the Superior Court of Forsyth County entered an order enforcing Section 4.2.2 of a Post Development Storm Water Code, which is a part of the county's development codes.  (Order of July 3, 2012.)  The relevant code section provides that in Forsyth County subdivisions that have homeowner associations, associations are responsible for maintenance and repairs to components of the storm water system that service the subdivision's residents.

The association claimed the code at issue was an unconstitutional infringement of the association's "constitutional rights."   Among other things, the association claimed that the code could not apply to it because it was a grandfathered association that had been developed before adoption of the code in the 1990's.  The association also contended the code impaired its contract rights under the Georgia Constitution of 1983 and equivalent provisions of the United States Constitution.   In the opinion written by Chief Judge Bagley, the trial court disagreed.    

While the order is a superior court order that may be subject to appeal, if upheld the order will significantly affect the ability of boards of directors of subdivision associations to deny responsibility for repairs to decaying infrastructure within subdivisions.  Without the code, the burden of maintenance would ultimately be passed on to taxpayers.  Under the order, associations will no longer be able to choose to repair their tennis courts and swimming pools with homeowner dues -- before addressing maintenance of storm water sewers and detention ponds.   The order represents a significant victory for the plaintiffs in the Rymer case and for other homeowners facing associations that will not pay to repair community infrastructure.      

Currently, the Atlanta area faces billions of dollars in maintenance costs for repairs and upgrades to sewer systems that were installed before and during the heyday of pre-recession, suburban and urban growth in the region.   The stakes are huge for insurance companies, local governments, and homeowners as this silent fight over who will pay for infrastructure failures takes place.  

No comments:

Post a Comment