The Second Department, reversing (modifying} Supreme Court, determined that the homeowners’ association board (Fieldpoint) had the authority to require a homeowner to take down a fence and to fine the homeowner. However, the rule in effect at the time the fence was erected allowed only a one-time fine of $50.00. Supreme Court had awarded the homeowners’ association over $35,000. The amendment to the by-laws which provided for heavier fines was not incorporated in a recorded amended declaration as required by Real Property Law 339-u:
“‘In reviewing the actions of a homeowners’ association, a court should apply the business judgment rule and should limit its inquiry to whether the action was authorized and whether it was taken in good faith and in furtherance of the legitimate interests of the association'” … . Accordingly, a court should defer to the actions of a homeowners’ association board so long as the board acts for the purposes of the homeowners’ association, within the scope of its authority, and in good faith … .
… Fieldpoint established … that its actions in denying approval for the fence were protected by the business judgment rule … . In opposition to Fieldpoint’s prima facie showing, the plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact by submitting evidence that Fieldpoint acted “(1) outside the scope of its authority, (2) in a way that did not legitimately further the [interests of the association] or (3) in bad faith” … . Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly determined that Fieldpoint’s actions in denying approval for the fence were within the scope of its authority and taken in good faith. However, the court should have issued declarations to that effect rather than dismissing the causes of action seeking declarations to the contrary … . Ives v Fieldpoint Community Assn., Inc., 2021 NY Slip Op 05028, Second Dept 9-22-21