Board members met with RA staff last week to discuss their inspection procedures, and we decided not to have RA do inspections this year. RA supports this decision. Cam Adams, RA’s Director of Covenants Administration, explained that despite their observation that Lakeport homes and common property are very well maintained, it is likely that if RA were to perform the inspections, every Lakeport home would end up with a violation for something because RA inspectors check not only for maintenance issues (which is what we ask SCS to focus on) but also for violations of HOA standards and RA guidelines (of which there are many, some that would be a surprise to owners).
We thus decided to use the following alternative approach suggested by RA: SCS will conduct inspections of all homes again this year, probably around the beginning of June. We will ask SCS to allow 90 days to ameliorate violations (SCS normally allows just 30 days, but we want owners to have time to obtain multiple bids when needed and to schedule the work). A list of what SCS will be looking for appears below.
If an owner does not resolve all of the violations identified by SCS by the specified deadline or has not received approval by the Board for an extension, the violations will be referred to RA. RA will then conduct its own inspections for any non-compliant homes, potentially finding further violations in addition to what SCS found. If the combined list of SCS and RA violations has not been cured by the time RA conducts a subsequent follow-up inspection, staff will refer the violations to RA’s Covenants and/or Legal Committees. If violations are still not fixed, RA is authorized by Virginia’s Property Owners Association Act to impose fines (up to $10 per day per violation!) and/or refer the case to an attorney for action. If a design violation is identified, the owner will be required to remove the unapproved items or apply for Design Review Board (DRB) approval for the changes on the property.
Remember that although no one wants to get an inspection violation, owners have found that regular outside inspections can alert them to something they did not notice themselves so it can be fixed before it turns into a major (expensive) problem. Keeping homes well maintained protects the value of what is likely your largest investment and also preserves property values of your neighbors and of the community.
SCS will check for the following items (all of which RA inspectors also look for):
- Siding (rotted/cracked wood, peeling/faded paint, mildew, mold, grime, and mismatched paint colors)
- Trim (rotted/cracked wood, peeling/faded paint, mildew, mold, grime, and mismatched paint colors)
- Garage doors (water damage, peeling/faded paint, warping, mildew, mold, grime, and vertical black streak in the middle)
- Carports, including pavement, roof, brick, and trim (rotted/cracked wood, peeling/faded paint, mildew, mold, grime, and refuse/debris)
- Gutters/downspouts (damaged/detached/missing/broken sections, peeling/faded paint, mildew, mold, grime)
- Roof (needed repairs, mildew, mold, grime, and color match with adjacent roofs of the same type)
- Decks and/or patios (rotted/cracked wood, peeling/faded paint/stain, mildew, mold, grime, stains on steps and landings, and rusted and corroded metal railings)
- Brick siding/walls (needed repairs and/or cleaning)
- Entryways and doors (needed repairs, rotted/cracked wood, peeling/faded paint/paint, mildew, mold, grime, stains on steps and landings, and rusted and corroded metal railings)
- Fences (damaged/detached/broken elements, rotted/cracked wood, warping, peeling/faded stain beyond "weathered naturally," excessive mold, mildew or fungus, and color match with siding)
- Lighting, front and back (whether fixtures are present and peeling/faded paint)
- Landscaping (overgrown vegetation, whether every house has a tree in front)
- Any other glaring problem with maintenance or violation of standards.
While RA staff were here, they noted that several homes had violations for the following: exposed security-camera wires, dirty roofs, and dirty garage doors (if you have a black streak on your garage door, the second item on the “Preventive Maintenance Check List for Spring” will tell you how to prevent this from happening in the future).
For additional information about RA’s inspections, see the following:
- Covenants & Design Review Board FAQs
- Resolution 8, which describes what inspectors are evaluating when they inspect a property to determine conformance with Reston’s Use and Maintenance protective covenants
- Resolution 12, which addresses inspections and includes information such as identification of exterior elements and an explanation of the terminology that RA staff uses to label those elements and describe their condition. This resolution also discusses “party” or “shared” elements in detail. Reston’s policies concerning party elements are unique and can be confusing, and this document will help you understand this counterintuitive policy.