The Harper’s Choice Village Covenants are a set of legal documents which are a part of your deed of ownership and represent a binding contract between the Village and each of its property owners and residents. Similar covenants exist for each of the other nine villages in Columbia.
The covenants address property maintenance standards, architectural control over exterior changes to property, and in-home industry or professions. Complete copies of the Covenants may be obtained at Kahler Hall, or you may download them from our website.
Buying and Selling in Harper’s Choice
When property is purchased in the state of Maryland, sellers must disclose any and all information they have regarding the property, including the fact that Columbia and the Village of Harper’s Choice are covenant protected communities. This information is most fully disclosed when the Harper’s Choice and Columbia Association resale documents are purchased and provided to the buyer, along with a letter of compliance which clearly states whether a property is in compliance with the Village Covenants.
The resale documents provided by the Harper’s Choice Community Association include the Harper’s Choice and the Columbia Association documents and may be purchased from the village for a total cost of $20; $25 if we have to mail the packet. We do not provide an electronic version of the documents.
If you are selling property in Columbia, in addition to purchasing and providing these documents for settlement, please request a Letter of Compliance (see Applications below). This letter provides written documentation from the Harper’s Choice Community Association that your property is free of covenant violations. If the property does not meet compliance standards, a letter will be written listing the non-compliance issues. If you are purchasing property in Columbia, we suggest that you ask the seller to provide you with a Letter of Compliance. Uncorrected violations become the responsibility of the buyer to resolve or disclose to future buyers once they have purchased the property.
A copy of the Harper’s Choice Architectural Guidelines is provided to sellers as part of the resale packet; they are also available for viewing online. The guidelines are a supplement to the Covenants and are written to help property owners by providing information, in layman’s terms, on seeking architectural approval for changes to the exterior of the home and property, as well as their maintenance responsibilities. Additional free copies of the guidelines are available at the village office or can be viewed and printed here.
If you have questions about buying or selling in Harper’s Choice; the covenants, guidelines, or the Harper’s Choice Community Association, please contact our Covenant Advisor; 410-730-0770 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forms, Documents, and Guidelines
- HCCA Village Covenants
- Guidelines for Exterior Alterations & In-Home Businesses
- Columbia Association Policy for Vacant and Abandoned Property
Covenant Enforcement Process
When a property in Harper’s Choice is not being maintained or a change has been made to property without the prior approval of the Village Architectural Committee, the owner may be in violation of the covenants. Please contact HCCA staff by phone, email, or in person with any concerns or complaints. Where practical, we suggest residents first talk with their neighbors about any concerns. Your view may be directly into your neighbor’s rear yard, but they may not regularly see that pile of debris that is an eyesore to you. Talking with your neighbors can often resolve the matter without the formal intervention of Village officials.
Please be aware that the staff of the Harper’s Choice Community Association does not inspect homes for covenant violations as a regular course of business. Most often, violations come to our attention through complaints that may be made anonymously. The Covenant Advisor will make a site visit to determine the validity of the complaint and will then send the homeowner a letter asking for the problem to be corrected. Experience has shown that most violations are resolved this way.
In some cases, residents have circumstances that prevent them from quickly resolving the matter. We encourage residents to contact the Covenant Advisor promptly when they receive a letter from this office. Once contacted, we will work out a time frame that works for the individual property owner, as well as the Village.
Rarer still is that property owner who, for one reason or another, chooses not to comply. We are then obligated to uphold the covenants and must seek remedy in the courts. All costs associated with these proceedings become the personal obligation of the homeowner and represent a lien on the property. It is important to note that the courts have consistently upheld the covenants, so promptly resolving a maintenance violation is in everyone’s best interest.