An interesting Homeowners Association dispute that comes up time and time again is one involving landscaping. The reason for this is because while an HOA may have rules stating that a landscape needs to be well-kept or clean in appearance, there is a lot of gray area there.
What one person believes looks good may not be what someone else likes. One person might think their grass looks good around three inches long, while another prefers it only two.
Avoiding HOA disputes over landscaping and the space around homes is possible, but it requires the HOA to have very specific rules about what people can or cannot do.
How can the HOA help prevent landscaping disputes?
It’s possible to prevent landscaping disputes by being clearer in the HOA agreement. Landscaping rules should:
- Discuss which plants or trees are allowed by the HOA
- Explain which colors of mulch are allowed within the HOA
- Detail how long tree limbs or boughs are allowed to be
- State how often the grass should be cut and to what length
- Describe when it is or is not acceptable to water the lawn
- Discuss waste disposal, such as the disposal of tree branches or leaves during different times of the year
- Talk about how to handle bare spots in the yard
- State a specific height limit for bushes
- Discuss the option of fencing
- Talk about yard furniture or decorations and if they are allowed. If so, the HOA should state how many are allowed or where they may be
While it might seem unnecessary to be so specific, the reality is that the HOA and homeowners don’t necessarily have the same opinions or ideas when it comes to the perfect landscaping techniques.
If the HOA feels that a landscape is not up to the required standard, it can send a notice and ask for the homeowner to correct the violation. If they do not, they could be charged or even end up in court.
Usually, these issues are easy to resolve. If not, an attorney can help you with mediation or other steps that could help get everyone back on the same page.