When you live in, or are considering moving into, a neighborhood of single-family residences, the influence of your homeowners’ or property owners’ association cannot be overstated.
In the U.S., nearly 60 percent of recently built single-family houses, and 80 percent of houses in new subdivisions, are part of a homeowners association (HOA), according to a 2019 research paper called The Rise and Effects of Homeowners Associations.
I got a schooling on this subject trying to get the Declarations, Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions (DCC&Rs) of my own neighborhood changed to allow residents to raise chickens. What I learned: It can be very very difficult to make changes (depending on the stated rules for amending them). So, if you’re moving, make sure you’re comfortable with the restrictions in your new prospective neighborhood before making a commitment. In any case, it’s useful to be armed with information.
Tips from Kelly Simon of TP&W
This topic came up when I spoke with Kelly Simon of Texas Parks & Wildlife for the video, and she shared a few valuable resources for me to distribute here. I’ll include them here with her comments on their importance:
- Public and Private Land Use Regulation: Zoning and Deed Restrictions. A history of the development and intent of deed restrictions and CC&Rs. This is much more interesting than it sounds.
- Drafting and Maintaining Deed Restrictions for existing neighborhoods. This legal publication provides guidance to paralegals on how to address a client’s desire to change existing restrictions. These two docs (#s 1 and 2) are good background for anyone interested in making a dive into their HOA/POA for the purpose of changing restrictions re native landscaping.
- Tips for dealings between local governments and landowners. This is just good stuff to know so that property owners understand how local law and subdivision rules interact
- Article about the Landscaping Bill (here’s the bill: Texas S.B. 198, 2013) to prevent HOAs from prohibiting use of native grasses or xeriscapes in landscaping.
- Lawn enforcement: How municipal policies and neighborhood norms influence homeowner residential landscape management. This is a fairly academic piece, but it’s interesting if you have the time to read it. Of bigger importance is the goldmine of a literature cited section.