A Fort Worth man said his homeowners association is preventing him from selling his home because they don't like the color of his new roof.
The homeowner, Mike Luna, said his homeowners association refused to give him a certificate to sell the house until he changes the roof, so he called NBC 5's Samantha Chatman to step in.
Luna purchased his Fort Worth home back in 2016. He said the North Texas storm season in 2017 showed no mercy on his roof, so he brought in his neighborhood roofer to make the repairs.
"When he was on the roof he had said he noticed that there is actually a lot more damage from some previous hail storms," he said.
Luna said he and his wife went over some colors for new shingles and decided to go with a shade of grey. But about a week later, he received a violation.
According to the Tehama Ridge HOA, Luna didn't get approval to alter his roof.
The second problem is the color he chose, which he said was a shade of grey.
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He didn't see a problem with his choice.
"Especially since other homes in the neighborhood have a very similar colored roof," he said. "My own roofer, who lives in the community, has a very similar colored roof."
Luna said the bylaws are full of contradictions.
In one section, Luna said, the bylaws say property owners need prior approval for home alterations, but in another section it said for roof materials, like shingles, permission is "encouraged, but not required."
As for the color, per the bylaws, the HOA allows weatherwood or an earth tone color, which Luna thought he had.
"Grey is considered an earth tone color," he said. "If anyone searches weatherwood, they're going to find an array of different colors."
A Google search of "weatherwood" reveals several different colors, including many shades of grey.
Luna said he brought this up to the HOA and appealed its decision, but he keeps getting denied.
He took a job in Waco and has been trying selling his home for months, but said he can't because the HOA won't hand over the certificate of resale.
"We need a blessing from the HOA to say there's no violations," he explained.
So Luna tried something else. He sent the HOA a list of color options, hoping one would work.
But he said one of the colors the HOA recently approved just so happens to be the same color that's already on his roof.
When he brought this to the their attention, he said they got mad and told him he still needs to replace that roof.
"It's taking resources away for my family because we can't sell our home," he said. "And there's no empathy whatsoever."
Luna called the NBC 5 Responds team and we called the HOA's board members. The vice president said she believes the roof is blue, not grey, but first and foremost, Luna didn't get even approval, so rules are rules.
She said 99 percent of the roofs in the community are shades of brown or grey, and in this case, Luna is wrong.
The Fort Worth man said it seems that he has two options: Take out a $5,000 loan to get a new roof or fight the HOA for as long as he can.
We brought in real estate attorney Robert Abtahi to look into this case. He said the HOA is overstepping its bounds.
"The rules that they're trying to enforce go against state law," he said.
The attorney said it appears that the HOA is using their old 2005 bylaws to enforce the shingles issue, but other portions of the bylaws reflect current state law, and that explains the conflicting language.
He said as of 2011, HOAs cannot enforce a provision on shingles if the shingles resemble others in the community.
"Almost every HOA dispute that someone calls me about could have been resolved if there were different personalities involved. It's not a bad idea to go to a couple meetings and see what the personalities on your HOA board are like. They're going to be the ones in charge once you buy that house," he explained.
Luna said he is in contact with an attorney and hopes to have this settled soon.
Before you sign up to be a part of an HOA, here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions:
- Read the HOA bylaws before buying the home.
- If you don't understand them, have an attorney walk you through it.
- Talk to people in the community. Ask them what they think about the HOA and its rules.
- See if you can attend an HOA meeting before you purchase the home.