How to Balance Your HOA and Your Gardening Projects

  • 11/29/2021, 08:21 AM
How to Balance Your HOA and Your Gardening Projects

Homeowner Associations (HOAs) started to protect the value of properties by controlling the appearance of homes. A lot of neighborhoods are now governed by HOAs. But what happens when you find the perfect home but the exterior needs some TLC and the HOA gets involved? Sometimes it feels absurd to consult with the HOA on which colors you can paint your home, or how your garden should look, etc. However, HOA rules not only focus on aesthetics but environmental protection as well. The common question homeowners are constantly asking themselves is how they can balance their gardening projects with HOA guidelines. Read on to find some tips that can help.

Find Out Which Projects Require HOA Approval

Each neighborhood has its own rules when it comes to projects that require HOA approval. Therefore, the first question to ask yourself is which upgrades those are. The next step is to review the architectural guidelines issued by the association. Neighborhoods with aesthetic restrictions commonly have guidelines on improvements that affect the exterior appearance of properties within a community. For instance, one may be limited to specific colors when you are painting the exterior of your home, or the paint color may have to be consistent with the neighborhood's overall design.

If you violate the guidelines of the HOA, you can be fined. However, that does not necessarily mean you must pay a fine. For instance, in Massachusetts, after a conviction, you have a 30-day window to file a notice of appeal. Once the HOA approves your appeal, you will be given a date to present your case. You can gather your evidence in the meantime showing circumstances that forced you not to follow the guidelines. Also, if you correct the offense immediately, the HOA might cancel the fine.

Plan Ahead

Write down which gardening projects you are ready to handle. It can be sprucing the lawn, installing a water feature, staining the deck, or replacing the roof. Having a list allows you to prioritize the important tasks. It is also important to have realistic goals for what you can do, depending on your budget and timeline. While at it, note down the projects you can DIY and which ones will need a contractor. For instance, you may manage to stain the deck on your own, but for a project like installing a water feature like a swimming pool or fountain, call the experts.

Find State Limitations on HOA Improvement Restrictions

There are certain state laws that prohibit HOAs from restraining homeowners in certain projects. That is because the state finds certain projects too important to allow the HOA to interfere. Take a situation whereby one of your projects is installing solar panels on your roof. Many legislatures protect energy-efficient devices as they are eco-friendly. If the HOA is giving you problems with such a project, do research to see if there have been similar cases. Daily, there are about 1.8 billion websites operating at the same time globally. A quick search can direct you to similar cases, and you can find tips on how to proceed with such a situation.

Submitting Your Plans for HOA Approval

Once you have listed the gardening projects you want to take on, the next step is getting HOA approval. On average, one American moves about 12 times in their lifetime. However, unless you are moving within the same community, different neighborhoods have different HOA guidelines. Therefore, you have to figure out how to deal with HOA in the place you just moved to. Generally, the process starts with you or your agent submitting the written plans for review to the HOA committee. It is the duty of the HOA to give you their decision within a reasonable time. Also, note that at times waivers can be granted under appropriate circumstances.

Not all gardening projects require HOA approval. However, it is important to do your research when you want to start upgrading your home's exterior. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to take down a fence or repainting your home because you did not check the regulations.




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