About Councilmember Navarro

I serve as the Council Vice-President and the Montgomery County Councilmember representing District 4. I am the chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and also serve on the Health and Human Services Committee.

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April 19, 2010

Montgomery to Implement Accessory Apartment Disclaimer Following Councilmember Nancy Navarro’s Request

Disclaimer Will Help Prevent Violation of HOA Covenants
ROCKVILLE, Md., April 16, 2010—Applications for special exceptions for accessory apartments in Montgomery County will now include disclaimers that Homeowners Association (HOA) covenants may not allow the apartments, following a request by County Councilmember Nancy Navarro (District 4) to clarify a situation that has been a source of problems for HOAs.

In a March 26 letter to Katherine Freeman, executive director of the County’s Board of Appeals, Councilmember Navarro outlined why the County needed to address the issue.

“It has come to my attention that applicants may receive special exceptions for accessory apartments even where their Homeowners Association (HOA) specifically prohibits them,” Councilmember Navarro wrote. “In these circumstances, HOAs are often forced to incur costly legal fees to defend their covenants in court. I believe that a simple disclaimer on the special exception application for accessory apartments, stating that a resident’s HOA covenant may prohibit accessory apartments even if a special exception is granted, would prevent many of the difficulties and expense HOAs and residents have encountered due to the confusion surrounding this issue.”

Councilmember Navarro then asked that the Board of Appeals include such a disclaimer on its accessory apartment applications.

“This modest and inexpensive change may go a long way toward preventing future problems,” she wrote.
Earlier this week, Ms. Freeman notified Councilmember Navarro that the members of the Board of Appeals concurred that adding a disclaimer would be a valuable addition to the applications.

The Board of Appeals approved the following language for the disclaimer: “Please note: Approval of a special exception is separate from Homeowner Association (HOA) and Condominium agreements and covenants, which may prohibit accessory apartments. Homeowners should consult their Condominium or HOA documents. The Board of Appeals cannot enforce HOA or Condominium covenants, which are private contractual agreements.”

Councilmember Navarro said today that the disclaimer could make a significant difference for HOAs and for applicants.
“Providing this information to applicants will go a long way toward preventing neighborhood conflicts,” said Councilmember Navarro. “I thank the Board of Appeals for listening to community concerns and acting upon my request.”

Letter to the Board of Appeals

Montgomery County Board of Appeals Response to Councilmember Navarro's Letter


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