homeowner

Thousands of homeowners in East Baton Rouge Parish belong to neighborhood homeowners' associations with rules that tell you what you can do to your property. Richard Gruse and his wife found out the hard way that taking on a homeowners association can mean a long and costly fight. WAFB's Julie Baxter reports now from the 'Lake at White Oak' subdivision with a story that asks whether those homeowner's rules protect or burden property owners.

[CG at 0:23:Name - TitleRichard GruseHomeowner]
[CG at 0:54:Name - TitleGlen Petersen, Past Pres.Lake at White Oak Hom. Assn.]

[TAKE VO]{***VO***}RICHARD GRUSE BOUGHT THIS HOUSE THAT HAD BEEN VACANT FOR A YEAR IN "THE LAKE AT WHITE OAK SUBDIVISION". BUT WHEN HE BEGAN ADDING ONTO HIS GARAGE, HE GOT A CALL FROM THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION.

[TAKE VO]{***VO***}

RICHARD TELLS HOW HIS WIFE QUESTIONED SOME HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS WHEN SHE FOUND THEM IN HER GARAGE TAKING PICTURES.

[TAKE SOT

AT: 6:00

TO: 6:08

DURATION:0:08]

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[TAKE VO]

{***VO***}

THE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION DISPUTES THE PART ABOUT TAKING PICTURES...

[TAKE SOT

AT: 9:25

TO: 9:28

DURATION:0:03]

{***petersen SOT***}

[TAKE VO]

{***VO***}

BUT THE ASSOCIATION SAYS THE REAL PROBLEM IS THAT RICHARD STARTED BUILDING WITHOUT GETTING THEIR APPROVAL FIRST.

[TAKE SOT

AT: 2:51

TO: 3:01

DURATION:0:10]

{***petersen SOT***}

[TAKE VO]

{***GRAPHICS VO***}

AND INDEED, THE HOMEOWNER'S COVENANT CLEARLY SAYS 'NO WORK MAY COMMENCE ON ANY LOT UNTIL THE APPROVAL OF SUCH PLANS HAS BEEN GIVEN BY THE COMMITTEE.'

[TAKE VO]

{***VO***}

THAT'S THE 'ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL COMMITTEE' THAT UNDER MANY SUBDIVISION COVENANTS HAS THE POWER TO STOP YOUR ADDITION IF IT DOESN'T BELIEVE THE BUILDING PROTECTS THE ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

{***petersen SOT***}

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{***SOT***}

{***peterson SOT***}

[TAKE VO]

{***GRAPHICS VO***}

RICHARD SAYS HE EVEN GOT THE CITY PARISH BUILDING INSPECTOR TO APPROVE THESE PLANS, BUT GLEN PETERSON SAYS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS LOOK AT AESTHETICS--HOW THE PLANS FIT WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

{***petersen SOT***}

{***SOT***}

[TAKE VO]

{***VO***}

AND PETERSEN SAYS MOST HOMEOWNERS HERE *WANT* THESE RULES TO PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY VALUES...WHEN WE WENT BACK TO VISIT RICHARD, HE HAD DECIDED TO RIP OUT THOSE DOORS, MOVE THE GARAGE WALL BACK FOUR FEET TO MAKE HIS ROOF-LINE CONFORM AS ASKED, AND BUILT THIS FENCE TO KEEP UNSIGHTLY TOOLS OR TOYS FROM VIEW...RICHARD LOST IN ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS AND HAS NOW PAID MORE THAN 20,000 DOLLARS IN LEGAL FEES OVER THIS....BUT THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION SAYS HE CREATED HIS OWN PROBLEMS BY NOT GETTING PERMISSION FIRST.

{***SOT***}

JULIE BAXTER, WAFB NINE NEWS.