Q I live in a neighborhood where there’s an association. When we first moved to the area it was still under construction. There was only one security company for 250 homes, and there were a lot of robberies. We live on a house with a main street behind it. There's a wall behind the yard, and people were jumping over to rob houses. My husband is a retired sick person, who is home all day alone. I had gone to a meeting and requested a permit [for security bars] from the new association—since they can find any documentation from the previous association. The previous association misplaced a lot of documents, according to this new management group. They had mentioned that they were going to approve the bars under the grandfather law. Now—after six months—they are giving me 30 days to remove the bars from the rear sliding door, but the back of my house faces the street. In addition, there are no other houses facing the back that belong to this management group. My husband refuses to remove the bars from the sliding door. What can I do?
—Insecure about Security
“The possibility that you may have received previous approval for the bars could be helpful but would not necessarily determine the outcome. You will need to obtain proof that prior approval had been granted. If the request that you remove the bars is based upon a policy or rule change applicable to all residents, and the board’s decision to make the change is supported by the governing documents and is otherwise protected by the business judgment rule, you would not be entitled to relief simply because you had been granted permission under the prior rule. If, however, the decision to change the policy falls into an exception to the business judgment rule, you would have a claim.
“You may want to consider installing the bars inside your home. If the board’s position is based on its right to regulate exterior alterations, this may be a viable alternative. Finally, you should consider putting the board on notice in writing of your security concerns and that you will seek to hold it liable for any injury, damage or loss resulting from a security breach. The viability of such a claim is beyond the scope of your inquiry.”