By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Here’s another example of just how much power your HOA has, including the power to interfere with your health, your family’s well-being, and the sale of your home.
Melissa Crowder of Stapleton, Colorado, has had her house on the market. She had a willing buyer. A home inspection revealed elevated levels of radon, a naturally-occurring, odorless, colorless gas that is a known carcinogen. Therefore, the buyer requested that Crowder install a radon mitigation system as a condition of sale. Crowder agreed.
But Crowder had to ask Stapleton Rowhomes No. 2 HOA for permission to install the radon mitigation system, because it would require an exterior exhaust pipe.
Incredibly, the HOA denied the request. Their reasons? According to the report, it wouldn’t look good, and it might contaminate the neighboring homes with “concentrated radon.”
Not surprisingly, the home buyer walked away from the sale.
Furthermore, the HOA Board has dramatically increased the risk of legal liability for the Association. They have interfered with the sale of a home, and their anti-radon mitigation policy puts all residents at increased risk for lung cancer. From an ethical and moral standpoint, how can anyone value a pristine aesthetic appearance over the good health of an entire community?
By the way, it just so happens that Crowder’s next door neighbor is on the board.
Outrageous? You bet.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have owned several homes in my lifetime, and two of them had radon mitigation systems. One of those was installed by the seller at our request, when an inspection revealed elevated levels of radon in the lower level and basement. We had a 4-year old child at the time, and we lived in the house for the next 14 years.
There was no HOA to prevent us from making informed decisions that affected the health of our family.
Perhaps Crowder’s HOA board needs to learn more about the facts of radon exposure and mitigation systems.
What makes radon hazardous is when it becomes entrapped and concentrated within an enclosed space. Once it’s exhausted to the outdoors through a pipe at roof level, there is no health threat, as the concentration of the gas is diluted.
The concern over the appearance of an exterior exhaust pipe is simply petty. And it is not acceptable to require a homeowner to quadruple expense for an interior mitigation system just to avoid the appearance of an exhaust pipe running from the lower level to the roofline.
For the benefit of readers, the EPA has an excellent website on Radon gas, its health effects, and how to fix any home to eliminate excessive levels of radon.
Kudos to Jaclyn Allen, ABC 7, Denver, for the following report. After you watch the video, be sure to read the HOA’s denial letter, as well as the statement made by the State of Colorado’s Radon Program Manager. (Both are hot linked in the transcript.)
Stapleton HOA won’t allow installation of homeowner’s radon mitigation system (ABC 7 Denver VIDEO)
UPDATE: And here’s a follow up report. Even legal experts urge the HOA to reconsider.
Stapleton HOA blocking a homeowner’s radon mitigation system comes under fire
Legal Expert: Decision may be legal, but not right