Architectural Review Process in southern california

It is important as a new homeowner to understand that the CC&R's of your community regulate the changes you can make to your home/landscaping and the process you must follow. It is extremely important before you commence an improvement project that you check with your Association for the required applications and approval process. This will prevent conflict and unnecessary costs in resolving issues. In addition, it is important to note that the governing documents will normally allow the Architectural Committee a period of 45-90 days to review your application for approval. Therefore, start the approval process early so you can proceed to commence your improvement according to your contractor's schedule.

The following are some key points pertaining to the Architectural Review Process:
  • Association Responsibility – One of the most important functions of an Association is to promote the aesthetics of the Association and preserving the architectural scheme of the neighborhood. The CC&R's will grant the architectural committee the authority to review and approve or deny an application based on a set of requirements and guidelines. The Board and/or the Architectural Control Committee also adopt the Standards.
  • Homeowner Responsibility – Prior to commencing any improvements, it is the legal responsibility of the owner to receive appropriate approvals as well as obtain any required county/city permits.
  • Purpose of Architectural Guidelines – When the community was developed, certain criteria were established to help control aesthetic changes in the Association that would decrease property values. It is the goal to establish a high quality of appearance, harmonious streetscapes, and an enhancement of property values. This includes any front, rear, or side yard landscaping, patios, pools, exterior modifications, satellite dishes, etc.
  • Enforcement and Violations – If an owner fails to submit the required plans and applications and does not receive approval from the Architectural Control Committee you may be subject to fines or legal action, as this constitutes a violation of the CC&R's. This can be quite costly for the homeowner so it is very important to follow your community's guidelines and protocol.
  • How to Submit an Application – Your community will have an application available for you to complete and instructions as to whom to forward the package to for processing. The Association may also have a deposit required or a fee to cover the costs of an independent architect for consultation. Your plans should be clear, drawn to scale and prepared to include anything required for applicable building codes. Please include colors, plant species, location of drainage and irrigation, material to be used for patios, etc. The more detail and information you provide the easier it is for the Architectural Control Committee to review and approve your plan.
  • Incomplete Applications - If your application is incomplete, the Association will return it as denied. You will need to resubmit the application with the additional information and the time period for review will begin again.
  • Committee Review – The Committee will typically review your application for completeness, adherence to aesthetic standards, compliance with architectural guidelines, neighborhood awareness statement forms, permits, etc. You will receive a letter notifying you if the plans were accepted. If you do not receive a letter at the end of the review period, contact the management company to determine if your application was received and the decision rendered.
  • Approval – Final approval will always be issued in writing – do not commence architectural changes without having a written confirmation from the Board and/or Architectural Committee.
  • Vendor Selection – It is always important to screen your vendor and ensure they have the appropriate license and insurance. Check to see if permits are required and that the contractor obtains them. Have your contract reviewed when necessary by an attorney for your protection. The Association is not responsible for the results of your improvement or your vendor – they are only providing a review for compliance to the governing documents.
  • Notice of completion - If your association requires a notice of completion, be submitted to the Architectural Control Committee or Management Company then make sure you take this final step. The Committee may require an inspection of the property to ensure that the improvement was done in accordance with the accepted plans. The committee will appreciate your co-operation during the process – if they request changes then incorporate them within the time periods specified so you will not be in violation of the governing documents.
  • Assistance - If you need assistance, contact Lordon Management for assistance.
Contact Lordon for an architectural application or if your association has a private client section on our website, you may review it to see if the application is available for you on the web.