Greenacre is a tract of land with a residential building that contains 16 dwelling units. Each unit is held in fee simple by its owner. Greenacre also includes a lawn area, as well as a swimming pool to which the residents of Greenacre have access.
The relevant state law permits the formation of common interest communities. One state statute includes the following language: “Any common interest community may adopt and enforce reasonable, nonarbitratry restrictions on the ownership of property and the conduct of property owners within the community.”
Greenacre is organized as a condominium, and is governed by the Greenacre Condominium Association (GCA) under the terms of the GCA Agreement (Agreement). The Agreement contains restrictive covenants that apply to all property owners. The Agreement is on file in the county recorder’s office, where, by law, all records relating to interests in land are kept. In addition, the Agreement is incorporated by reference in each unit owner’s deed.
Part of the Agreement provides as follows:
Each unit owner shall have an undivided one-sixteenth (1/16) interest in Greenacre as a tenant in common, excluding individual units. Each unit owner shall be assessed a one-sixteenth (1/16) share of any repairs to Greenacre.
Another part of the Agreement states:
No unit owner shall operate any machinery or industrial equipment on Greenacre, other than normal household appliances and equipment that is required to maintain the premises.
Five years after Greenacre is established, X purchases Unit 10. X has never learned to swim, and therefore does not use Greenacre’s swimming pool. One of X’s hobbies is making small wooden signs and other decorative items for sale. X has equipped a room in Unit 10 as a workshop for this activity. The workshop includes a small table saw, which is a motorized saw blade surrounded by a flat metal table. The saw is a scaled-down version of one that might be found in an industrial woodworking shop. The saw creates a great deal of noise while in use, but X has soundproofed this room to avoid annoying the neighbors. X has also installed a wall-mounted fire extinguisher in the room. No one has ever complained about noise arising from X’s activities.
One winter, several deep cracks appear in the walls of the swimming pool, caused by the freezing and thawing of the ground. The repairs cost $16,000. The GCA sends each unit owner a bill for $1,000 as an assessment for repairs. X refuses to pay the assessment, because X does not use the pool. The GCA then places a lien on X’s unit for $1,000, as permitted by state law.
At the same time, X’s workroom and equipment come to the attention of the GCA. The GCA sends X a letter demanding that X remove the table saw. X refuses and sues the GCA, asking the court to nullify the lien and to invalidate the provision of the Agreement that requires X to remove the saw.
- Can the GCA require X to pay the $1,000 assessment for the repair of the swimming pool? Explain.
- Can the GCA require X to remove the table saw? Explain.