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Understanding your HOA’s authority over yard landscaping

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | HOA Disputes

Living in a community with a homeowner’s association comes with certain rules and regulations designed to maintain uniformity and preserve property values. However, sometimes HOAs may overstep their boundaries and impose restrictions that significantly limit a homeowner’s personal choices and individuality.

One such example revolves around whether an HOA can dictate what homeowners can plant in their yards. Learn what authority California HOAs have regarding yard landscaping and the rights and limitations homeowners have in expressing their personal landscaping preferences.

Understanding HOA governing documents

HOAs in California derive their authority from governing documents, such as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). These documents outline the rules and guidelines that homeowners must follow. While CC&Rs vary from one HOA to another, they commonly include provisions related to landscaping and property aesthetics.

Landscaping HOA restrictions

California HOAs generally have the authority to impose certain restrictions on landscaping within their communities. These restrictions may include guidelines on plant types, height limitations, design aesthetics and maintenance standards. The intention is to create a cohesive and visually appealing community while preserving property values.

Balancing personal preferences and HOA guidelines

While HOAs can impose restrictions, homeowners still have the ability to express their personal preferences within the guidelines set by the association. Many HOAs provide a list of approved plants and landscaping options that align with the desired aesthetics of the community. Homeowners can select from these approved options to create a yard that reflects their preferences while complying with the HOA’s landscaping regulations.

Reviewing landscape plans

In California HOAs, an Architectural Review Committee is often established to review and approve landscaping plans and changes to the exterior appearance of homes. Homeowners typically submit requests to the ARC, detailing their proposed landscaping changes. The committee assesses the proposed changes against the established guidelines and may approve, deny or request modifications to ensure compliance with the HOA’s regulations.

Challenging HOA restrictions

If a homeowner disagrees with an HOA’s decision or believes that the restrictions imposed are unfair or unreasonable, there may be avenues for challenging those restrictions. Reviewing the CC&Rs, understanding the HOA’s dispute resolution process and engaging in constructive dialogue with the HOA board or ARC can help homeowners address their concerns.

By understanding the authority and limitations of the HOA, homeowners can strike a balance between their landscaping choices and the community’s aesthetic standards, fostering a harmonious living environment for all residents.