One of the primary functions of a Homeowners’ Association is to maintain common areas and to improve the neighborhood in specific ways, and most neighborhoods have one of these governing boards in place. They may have residents in place as board members, and some also outsource the collection of dues and other tasks to a third party management firm. In addition, almost all have adopted specific rules that neighborhood property owners are required to follow. While these rules may be in place to promote the appeal and value in the property as well as to give area residence a comfortable life, some rules are so crazy or bizarre that some property owners are left scratching their heads.
Stringent Landscaping Requirements
While many HOAs have rules regarding having a well-maintained lawn, some HOA rules go a step above and beyond. For example, some dictate that properties must have a specific number of trees in the front yard and even that the trees must have a certain width to their trunk size. In addition, many dictate what type of grass you can grow, how tall your hedges must be and even what color your flowers can be.
No Clothes Lines
While most homes today are built with laundry rooms and some are even sold with a washer and dryer included, there are times when you may want to hang your clothes on a line in the backyard. For example, your dryer may be broken or you may simply want to dry your beach towels in the sun after a trip to the pool. Some HOA rules, however, state specifically that you cannot tie your laundry to a line outdoors.
While many homeowners welcome the fact that their HOA may have a no soliciting rule in place, this can go a step too far. Few people enjoy having a salesperson knock on their door to disrupt tranquil home life, but many family-friendly neighborhoods have kids selling cookies, raffle tickets and other items for fundraisers for schools or sports teams. In some neighborhoods, this type of soliciting is also prohibited. In addition, in rare cases, even the neighborhood lemonade stand on the street corner run by elementary school-age children is banned.
When you live in a hurricane-prone area such as Florida, Georgia or Alabama, you may understandably want to invest in hurricane shutters for your home. In fact, your insurance company may even offer you a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install these, and this is because they can drastically decrease property damage in the event of a major storm. However, some homeowners’ associations in these and other neighboring states specifically state that these shutters can only be in place on the home when a major storm is approaching. This requires homeowners to quickly install storm shutters within days of the storm hitting land.
Exterior Home Requirements
While few property owners would find an obnoxiously colored home in their neighborhood appealing, the fact is that property owners may also want the right to decorate the exterior of their home in any manner they choose. While it may be common for HOAs to require a property owner to obtain HOA approval for changes to the exterior color of the home or when changing the type of shingles in place on the roof, some have strict requirements. For example, some HOAs only allow asphalt shingles that are a specific color. Others only allow the siding and trim to be painting a specific color. In fact, you may even have to paint your front door a neutral hue in some neighborhoods.
It is wise to read through the HOA rules thoroughly before you decide which neighborhood to live in. If you moved into a neighborhood without realizing how ridiculous some of your HOA rules are, you may consider approaching the board members to revise some of the rules at the next board meeting.
Tulsa Property Managers is a Jenks property management company offering professional property and real estate management, consulting and sales services throughout the Jenks, Oklahoma area.