Most communities have a Homeowners Association or HOA in charge of maintaining the neighborhood’s safety, order, and peace. So to keep everything in check for the betterment of the community, the HOA enforces rules and guidelines covering almost everything necessary, like parking, smoking areas, pets, and even your garden and backyard.
This is why if you’re thinking of making significant garden arrangements, landscaping your yard, or letting your lawn grow out for a couple of months, it’s best to familiarize yourself with what the HOA approves or disapproves of to avoid breaking any rules and incurring a penalty.
Can HOA regulate your backyard?
How much say does the HOA have about what happens in an owner’s backyard? The answer is: it depends. Depending on your neighborhood, the HOA can either be mandatory or voluntary.
Mandatory HOA, as its name implies, is when all homeowners in the neighborhood automatically become a member of the HOA upon signing the house purchasing contract. Residents are expected to pay the necessary HOA fees and follow the association’s rules, including the standards and regulations they set for backyards.
Meanwhile, for voluntary HOA, homeowners can choose whether or not they want to become a member while being able to choose which fees they want to pay. In this case, voluntary HOAs are not required to abide by the complete set of the association rules except for the regulations in compliance with the city laws and codes.
Can HOA enter your backyard?
Yes, under mandatory HOAs, and if it is stated explicitly in the agreed-upon governing documents, the association has the right to enter your property and access your backyard.
They also hold you accountable for following their mandates regarding backyard appearances and maintenance. If you’re living in a community with mandatory HOA, here are some common HOA backyard rules your local HOA may also have:
HOA rules on trees and plants
It’s common for the community HOA to have a list of plants and trees allowed to be planted in your yard; however, the types of plants can vary from HOA to HOA. The main reason why they monitor and allow only certain types in your yard is to avoid plants that can rapidly grow and creep into your neighbor’s property, which can cause trouble, extra work, or even conflict. The same sentiment goes for leaves falling in your neighbor’s yard.
Meanwhile, for trees, some HOAs may or may not permit residents to plant trees in their backyard, depending on the type of tree and the community’s overall circumstances and agreement on the matter.
HOA patio rules and backyard items
Home configurations such as patios need the permission of the HOA to have your plans fit their regulations and standards. While some HOAs are very specific regarding what you should or should not install in your backyard, some give homeowners the freedom to build as long as they don’t directly attach the structure to the house itself.
Aside from patios, backyard items require permits before placing them on your property. The HOA has to check if they are safe, suitable, and fit with the community standards and appearances.
HOA tree cutting approvals
There are rules for planting trees, and there are rules for cutting them down. If the property you bought has a tree or trees you want to eliminate, you’ll have to consult your HOA first, as these trees may be considered valuable to the community.
They can deny your request for tree cutting if the HOA finds the tree beneficial to the neighborhood. It all depends on how you communicate your needs to the HOA and if it will affect your community.
While all these rules and regulations may seem too much, it’s for the benefit and best interest of all homeowners in the community. HOA rules and regulations differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. Review the documents and CC&R given to get to know your community HOA rules.