The Covenants Coordinator, a member of the Wellington Community Association (Association) onsite Management team, represents the Association’s Board of Directors (Board) and Architectural Review Committee (ARC) in conducting external inspections of all single family homes and townhomes within the Wellington community. Whether you are a long-standing or new homeowner, as well as a renter, the following information, it is hoped, will help clarify any questions you may have regarding the inspections of your residence. If this information does not answer your questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Association’s on-site Management office at (703) 330-5019.
What is inspected? Inspections are ongoing, consisting of systematically traveling through neighborhood streets in order to visually ascertain whether homeowners are in compliance with the Association’s governing documents. These consist of the Covenants and the Bylaws (wherein the Board is empowered at Section 4.1(4) & (6) to adopt and amend any reasonable rules and regulations and enforce the provisions of the governing documents and at Section 7.1 to establish a covenants committee (i.e., the ARC)). One of the rules adopted by the Board is the Design Standards and Guidelines (Guidelines), which the inspections are meant to enforce in order to maintain the aesthetic appearance and environmental quality of the community.
Accordingly, inspections include, but are not limited to, the condition of the roof, siding, driveway, walkways, wood trim, external doors, caulk and paint, fencing, lawns, and gardens; the location of trash cans, trash, and building and lawn supplies; commercial vehicles parked in driveways and townhome streets; and issues of cleanliness. These inspections can include the back of the home, if visible from the street or to a neighbor. If a violation is observed, the owner will be cited and a picture is usually taken for the purpose of clarifying any subsequent questions the owner may have about being cited.
In the interest of assisting the Covenants Coordinator in inspecting an aging community, any resident may contact the on-site Management office to report a possible violation or simply pose a question. Any resident identifying a possible violation may take a picture of the violation and report it to the office along with the picture. Violations can also be reported by residents by completing and submitting a violation report form. This form can be downloaded from the Association’s website by going to http://www.wellingtonca.org/forms/Covenants_Violation_Report.pdf and can be submitted to the office by mail or electronically. All such reports of possible violations must be verified by the Covenants Coordinator.
Owners, as well as renters, are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Guidelines, which were provided to owners, along with the resale certificate and packet, when the home was purchased. Annual changes to the Guidelines are also provided to owners. The Guidelines can be accessed on the website by going to www.wellingtonca.org under “Homeowner Resources” and then “community policies”.
Why inspect? When you purchased your home, you were informed that this is a subdivision with covenants and you agreed to abide by those covenants. This is not a choice; it is a contractual obligation. As noted above, the Board has a fiduciary obligation to insure that the governing documents and rules are enforced, without exception. As in any subdivision, the condition of your home impacts the property values of adjacent properties as well as the entire neighborhood. It only takes one “eye-sore” or lack of “curb appeal” to bring down the values in the neighborhood and, by extension, the subdivision. In addition, yard clutter is a health issue and attracts insects, snakes, and other vermin. Health issues, as well as the potential for serious injury, will be reported immediately to health or zoning authorities, as appropriate.
How long do I have to abate the violation? In most circumstances, violations must be abated within 30 days, although additional time may be granted on a case-by-case basis. If there are extenuating circumstances that will not allow you to abate the problem within 30 days, you may contact the Covenants Coordinator to establish a plan of action. The only exceptions are for issues of health and serious injury.
After a plan of action is established, all requests for extensions must be submitted in writing to the ARC for approval. Nevertheless, if the violation(s) is not abated within the time specified, including cases where you failed to have a plan of action approved by the ARC, the Association will continue to seek compliance in accordance with the Guidelines. Continued failure to abate the violation(s) can result in a hearing before the ARC and, ultimately, before the Board. Actions, including monetary fines, can be taken against you in accordance with the Guidelines and Virginia Code.
What about owner-initiated design changes?
Design changes to the exterior of your home must be approved by the ARC and carried out in accordance with what is stipulated in the approval. The application form may be downloaded from the website by going to http://www.wellingtonca.org/forms/design_review_application.pdf. The application must be received by the ARC within 7 days prior to the ARC’s monthly meeting held on the first Tuesday; otherwise, the application will be considered at the next monthly meeting. Contact the on-site office with any questions about whether a design change needs to be approved.
The Wellington Board of Directors