A man faced a $50-a-day fine after his homeowners association (HOA) changed the rules against him.
The Carpenter Village Association is based in Cary, North Carolina, where HOAs typically have extensive legal powers, including the ability to foreclose on properties.
Andy Cheng was all too familiar with this fact when he took issue with the Carpenter Village Association about his newly installed windows, they say WRAL News.
Cheng had replaced the windows in his house with ones without bars in the glass.
Before proceeding with the change, he said he emailed his HOA asking if it was allowed. it was as long as the frame and trim of the windows remained the same.
The HOA later sued Cheng for violating the guidelines and fined him $50 a day until the guidelines were fixed.
When the homeowner presented the HOA board with their previous email exchange enabling the design change, they said they made no changes to their decision.
During their communication, WRAL News reported that the HOA told Cheng: “Contrary to all suggestions in your letter…we believe that the architectural control provisions in the declaration would include changes to the style of windows that are clearly visible from the outside.”
They would not respect their earlier decision that allowed Cheng to swap his windows.
It turns out that 18 months after the windows were installed, the HOA changed its rules to require bars in the window pane, according to the news agency.
They enforced this new rule retrospectively.
According to the new broadcaster, Cheng is not opposed to HOAs in general, as he believes they have a purpose when used properly.
He said: “If they make things legal, play by the rules, follow the guidelines and treat everyone equally, that’s fine with me.”
Cheng believed his HOA enforced the rules unfairly and discriminatoryly.
He told the news outlet that there was another homeowner who was a former board member who had the same barless windows and that the HOA wasn’t as harsh on them.
This has prompted Cheng to ask, “Why are you treating me so aggressively, unlike other owners?”
The answer he came to is race; Cheng is of Asian descent.
He told WRAL News, “Unless the HOA can provide a convincing explanation, I think I have reasonable doubt that race is a driving factor.”
In January 2022, the homeowner filed a lawsuit against the HOA alleging racial discrimination and violations of the Fair Housing Act.
In that lawsuit, Cheng is asking that the courts stop the HOA’s enforcement of the window rule and bar the association from imposing fines and foreclosure on its property.
It’s not about the homeowner’s money or the windows, it’s about how they are treated and why.
Cheng issued a warning via WRAL News: “We must not allow this abuse of power to continue. Today it was me, tomorrow it will happen to you.”
His case was dismissed in September 2022; Since then, no news about the conflict has been available.
The Carpenter Village Association has not yet responded to the US Sun’s request for comment.