It is my opinion that many Home Owner's Associations need to review their rules and bring them up to date. The TWO rules that TROUBLE me MOST:
1. NO BOATS STORED ON PROPERTY. Why not? Why can't I keep a boat in my backyard? How is my boat hurting the neighborhood? Why would a neighborhood that brags that they have 3 boat ramps not allow people to store boats on property? When I see boats parked in the backyard, I am usually impressed. "Wow, the people in this community must be doing well! Look at the nice boats!" I would love to hear from folks on why boats are bad. I have never, ever figured this one out.
Here in the Houston area, boating is big. People need to speak up. As long as they don't block sidewalks, or look in disrepair than how are they a problem? I know a guy that had a HUGE speed boat parked in his backyard. It was an AWESOME boat. He was a great neighbor. He kept his yard and house in excellent shape. He was more than willing to pay monthly fines to store his boat in the backyard because the fines were cheaper than storing the boat at a storage facility, and the security was better. When the HOA finally filed a lawsuit, he sold his house and moved. Because of the boat. What a silly reason to loose such a great neighbor.
2. Clothes Lines. A local HOA sends out a newsletter every month. In the last newsletter, they had a little article on how to reduce your electricity bill. Hang you clothes out the dry on a clothes line was one of their suggestions. I thought HOW IRONIC! I get ugly letters from YOU the HOA if I hang my laundry out on a clothes line!
Clothes lines are great. No, I do not want want to see my neighbors nickers hanging out to dry. But lets get practical! I would dry the small stuff such as socks and undies in my dryer. But clothes lines are great for jeans, towels, sheets and other large items. Many communities do not have gas connections, so the home owners must have electric dryers. They are EXPENSIVE to run, and silly to run when it is a bright, hot, sunny-shiny day and the clothes line could handle the load quickly and for FREE. In this day of save-the-planet environmentalism, and the really hard economy where people are not able to pay bills, lets loosen up on this rule. Allow clothes lines.
I know that it is very, extremely difficult to change HOA deed restrictions. Once a rule is on the books, it is so hard to change it. That doesn't mean, however, that every rule must continue to be ENFORCED. If we can choose not to enforce the laws on illegal immigration, then maybe we should also choose not to enforce the rule on clothes lines!
Potential Home buyers are very concerned about HOA deed restrictions. They pick the areas they shop for houses based on deed restrictions. Deed Restriction committees are also one of the main reasons why people choose to move from certain areas. It seems like many people on deed restriction committees do not apply rules uniformly or pick on certain homes, while ignoring other infractions. Or, one area of a community will have a deed restriction inspector that is much more strict than in other areas of the community.
I feel it is very important for deed restriction committees to be clear on what they feel is MOST important to enforce, enforce the rule FAIRLY and EVENLY throughout the community, and PICK their BATTLES carefully so that they do not give a community a BAD NAME. If a rule has become out of style, such as no clothes lines, then make it clear that they will no longer enforce the code.
If you are interested in choosing a community based on the DEED RESTRICTIONS in the Houston area, contact me, and I'll hook you up with the rules if you can't find them on-line.