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Homeowners must arbitrate basketball goal dispute

A Loudoun County homeowners association was required to arbitrate a dispute with property owners over whether the owners could install a basketball goal on their property, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled today in an unpublished order.

The property owners contended that the dispute was subject to arbitration under the plain language of the declaration for the association, and an arbitrator agreed and found in favor of the owners.

The association filed a petition for declaratory judgment seeking a ruling that the arbitration clause applied to disputes between the developer and the association or a property owner but not to disputes between the association and a property owner.

The trial court agreed with the association, but the Supreme Court said such an interpretation was inconsistent with the rule of construction that a contract must be interpreted to give a reasonable meaning to every word or clause.

By Alan Cooper

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