Cohen v. Kite Hill Community Association

191 Cal. Rptr. 209 (1983)

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Cohen v. Kite Hill Community Association

California Court of Appeal
191 Cal. Rptr. 209 (1983)

Facts

Mr. and Mrs. Cohen (plaintiffs) owned a home in the Kite Hill residential community. The Cohens paid a premium for their lot, which had a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. Community declarations empowered the community’s homeowners’ association (the association) (defendant) to preserve the aesthetic quality and property values within the community and gave the association a broad affirmative duty to administer and enforce the declaration, including its architectural specifications and restrictions. The declarations also included extensive and detailed restrictions on the types of construction, improvements, and landscaping that individual homeowners could install and engage in on their individual properties. In particular, the declarations contained specific restrictions for fences on lots with and without views. The Cohens sought and received association permission to install a conforming fence on their lot with a view. The Cohens’ neighbors, the Ehles, sought and received association approval to install a nonconforming fence on their lot. The Ehles’ lot was without a view, and the nonconforming fence would obstruct the Cohens’ view. The Cohens sued the association for permitting a nonconforming fence on their neighbors’ property in violation of the community’s architectural restrictions and the association’s fiduciary duty owed to the Cohens. The trial court dismissed the Cohens’ complaint for failure to state a claim, and the Cohens appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McDaniel, J.)

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