Homeowners’ associations (HOA) in recent years have been in the news regularly for trying to take their authoritative powers too far and strip the freedoms of homeowners’ belonging to their communities. Skipper Law, LLC is proud to be able to say that we have recently won a case against one such HOA on behalf of a client in Maryland.
The Case of the $500 Mailbox
Known by many as the $500 Mailbox Case it began after our client, Dr. Keith Strong, purchased a little cedar mailbox for his home within Woodmore, a gated community in Bowie, Maryland. While he thought the mailbox was the perfect addition to his property, the HOA would later mandate that all homes in the community purchase a $500 metal mailbox from one manufacturer. People who failed to install the new mailbox within the given time limit would start to be penalized $100 a month for failing to comply. The measure was passed by a private vote held within the HOA and without the input of the people actually living in Woodmore.
Sensing that the HOA was overstepping its boundaries, our client refused to replace the mailbox he and his wife liked so much. Starting with a complaint filed to the Maryland Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, Dr. Strong started what would turn out be a lengthy and newsworthy case against the HOA. The Woodmore Board of Directors did not accept any form of mediation or arbitration but continued to fine Dr. Strong. Our client’s hand was forced and the matter had to be brought to the court’s attention.
Skipper Law Takes the Case
When Dr. Strong came to our law firm with his $500 Mailbox Case, we knew it was more important than it appeared on the surface. After all, the mailbox he was being asked to replace had only costed him $35. But it was the cost of giving up his right to property that concerned him and us. We knew we could not back down.
After years of legal back-and-forth, including a three-day trial, a ruling was given at the end of January 2017. Written clearly and citing legal precedents, it ruled in favor of our client, finding that the HOA mandate was unenforceable. In the end, this has not been just a victory for Dr. Strong, nor was it about the price tag of the mailboxes – it was actually a clash between homeowners and homeowners’ associations everywhere, and one that ended in a victory for us all.
For a full article regarding this groundbreaking case, you can click here to read one published by The Washington Post. You can also view our case results page for more information about this case and others we have won recently. If you need the help of Maryland HOA Attorney Matt Skipper, please contact us by calling 443.274.6106. We never represent HOA and condominium companies in such cases – we only work with homeowners like you.