HOA Backyard Rules

5 HOA Backyard Rules You Must Know

HOA backyard rules mandate homeowners to get approval before cutting trees in their backyard and plants trees that cannot rapidly grow into another homeowner’s backyard. HOA backyard rules also mandate homeowners to know the type of configuration to have, and the level their backyard weed/grass should grow before cutting them.

As we all know, Homeowners Association which is popularly known as HOA is an association of homeowners in a community who came together to ensure the betterment of the community. They create rules and enforce them.

However, HOA can be voluntary or mandatory. While mandatary HOA is the type of HOA that mandates homeowners to join and pay HOA fees, voluntary HOAs are simply voluntary. With voluntary HOA, you can refuse to be a part of the HOA and when they bring fees to pay, you can choose to pay or not to pay.

Mandatary HOAs mandate every homeowner to join. As soon as you sign those papers that completed and sealed the purchase of your house, you are automatically a member. You must pay the HOA fees which can be high sometimes and follow all the rules made by the HOA. Now, the question is, What are the HOA backyard rules?

5 HOA Backyard Rules To Know

1. Rules About Plants to Grow on your Backyard

If your house is situated in a community managed by HOA, you may be told the type of plant to have in your backyard. This varies from HOA to HOA. In some HOA, you may be told to grow some specific type of plants to ensure you don’t grow a plant that will grow and encroach into others’ backyard or compound.

The major reason why the HOA specifies the type of plants to grow is to avoid a homeowner growing a plant that can rapidly grow into his or her neighbor’s backyard or compound.

Also, to avoid the leaves of the plant entering inside other homeowners’ backyards. Your neighbor will not like it because she has to be clearing the leaves every day. It will look as if you’re giving your neighbor more work to do in her home; to be clearing leaves of a plant she doesn’t own.

This is actually a good idea. Trust me, as a homeowner, you don’t want to wake up every morning knowing that you will be clearing plants leaves you don’t own. It can cause trouble or misunderstanding between neighbors.

2. Rules About Having a Tree in Your Backyard

Some HOA may specify that they don’t want any tree in any homeowner’s backyard for one reason or the other. Others may permit you to have a tree in your backyard but will specify the kind of trees to have.

So, it depends on your community HOA and their agreement concerning planting trees in the homeowner’s backyard. Remember that these HOAs are still homeowners in that same community, so whatever rule they make, affects them as well.

3. Rules About Backyard Configurations

Some HOA will tell you how to configure your backyard. However, if you are to configure your backyard, this and this are the things you should never use in your backyard configuration. Some HOAs may tell homeowners to configure their backyard the way they wish provided they don’t directly attach a structure to the house

4. Rules bout the Things to Put in Your Backyard

While it may be possible for anyone that does not live in a community controlled by HOA to put anything such as a shipping container in the backyard of his property with or without a permit, it may be difficult for a homeowner who lives in a community controlled by the HOA especially if they are in control of homeowners backyard. So be mindful of that.

5. Approval to Cut Backyard Tree Rule

Some HOA may require you to get permission from them before cutting any tree in your backyard. This is to avoid you cutting trees that may be valuable to the community.

Truth is that trees can add to home values in the community. If the type of tree in your backyard is important to the community, you may need to request approval before cutting the trees.

However, while your request may be approved, it may also be denied. If the tree is so important to the community or is in a strategic place where everyone in the community benefits from them, your request may be denied.

Also, if you don’t have any strong reason why you want to cut the tree, the request may be rejected as well. So, if need be, make sure to state your reasons clearly to get the approval. Remember they are also fellow homeowners like you.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that HOA backyard rules vary from one HOA to HOA. Therefore, the best way to find out what your HOA backyard rules are all about is by checking the CC&R given when you purchased your house.

The HOA CC&R which is also known as the HOA governing document contains the HOA rules, get the document and look for the rules that cover every homeowner’s backyard in your community.

If you don’t have the governing document or can’t find it anymore. You can ask your fellow homeowner to give you: note that the person must be in the same community managed by the same HOA with you. Or, you can request the document from your HOA Board members. You have the right to have access to the document.

Moreover, while HOA backyard rules might be annoying, it is for the best interest of the whole community. As reiterated earlier, imagine someone growing trees that can grow rapidly and enter into other people’s compound or backyard.

It is also important to note that you can always write to your HOA and make requests. If you have anything you wish to have in your backyard, you can write to the HOA Board Members and have them looked into it. It is better to write to them or call a meeting and let them know about it than to do it without their approval. Getting their consent is the best way to go.

Like I would always say, if you are no longer comfortable with the HOA where your house is situated or you are not enjoying your home because of the HOA backyard rules, you can sell your house, use the money and buy a container house in a community not managed by HOA.

As long as your HOA is a mandatory one, there’s no other solution except selling your house. You must follow their rules or else enter into serious trouble with them.

Can HOA Control Backyard?

Yes, HOA has the right to control your backyard. The HOA has the right to tell you how your backyard should be, the type of trees and plants to have in your backyard, and how tall the trees should be. They also have the right to enter your property to access your backyard.

Again, this depends on the type of HOA you have. It is only possible for HOA to control your backyard if it is a mandatory HOA and if it is stated in the governing document that they can do so. But if it is not clearly stated in the CC&R, then they don’t have the right to control your backyard.

Pros of HOA Backyard Rules

  • To Protect the Property Values: HOA backyard rules are there to protect the value of every property in the community. For example, if your HOA refuses you to cut a particular tree in your backyard, it could be that the tree is in a strategic place where it is possible to increase the values of the properties in the community.
  • To Avoid Misunderstandings and Fighting: These backyard rules are there to ensure that everybody minds their business. It is there to ensure that the community is not always in disorder because of a neighbors tree that rapidly grown into other people’s backyard.
  • To Ensure Clean Community: While some may cut their grass when it’s grown, others may not have the time to cut their grass until it’s overgrown to house snakes and other dangerous animals. The HOA backyard rules are there to make everyone cut their grass to prevent these dangerous animals in the community and to ensure a clean community.

Cons of HOA Backyard Rules

  • It is Annoying: HOA Backyard Rules can be very annoying. It is annoying to have someone tell you how to use your own house and the things to have in your own backyard. Very annoying.
  • Lack of Choice: HOA Backyard Rules may prevent you from configuring your backyard according to the way you want it. For example, you may wish to put a shipping container in your backyard, but your HOA may not allow that because of one reason or the other. At this stage, you have no other choice but to obey. The same goes for the grass and trees you wish to grow in your backyard.

Can HOA Take Pictures of Your Backyard?

Yes, the HOA can take pictures of your backyard. The HOA is responsible for maintaining properties in the community, hence can take pictures of your backyard if need be. They are allowed to take photographs of all common areas, streets, and home exteriors for documentative purposes.

Do You Need HOA Approval for Backyard?

Yes, you need the HOA approval for your backyard. If your house is in a mandatory HOA community, you need HOA approval for your backyard. You will need to submit an application to the homeowners association for review of the work or landscaping you wish to do in your backyard before commencing the work.

Final Thoughts

The HOA CC&R which is the governing documents has everything you need to know about HOA backyard rules, consult the document to know exactly what your HOA wants in the backyard and what they don’t want. Remember that if it is a voluntary HOA, you can choose to ignore the backyard rules as they have no right to enforce any rules.