Court Affirms Lot Owners’ Obligation

In an August 1, 2017 decision, Tanglewood Property Owners’ Ass’n v. Isenhour, et al., the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the duty of a property owner that has the right to use an easement in a subdivision to pay for a share of the cost of maintaining the easement. In this case a voluntary property owners’ association created prior to the Planned Community Act was awarded judgment against a lot owner who claimed that he did not use all of the roadway easement in a subdivision and was not a member of the association.

The Court’s opinion restated the principle that the obligation to contribute to road maintenance can be calculated on a pro rata (per lot) basis without regard to the combination of multiple lots into one lot. This latter holding supports the Court’s 2001 decision in the Gilboy decision and prevents lot owners from reducing their payment obligation by combining lots and thereby increasing the burden on other lot owners.

This decision is helpful in clarifying rights and responsibilities of property owners with regard to assessments for road maintenance. If you have further questions about this case contact Bill Cannon or Martha Bradley for additional information.