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View Full Version : HOA's - no patios or decks past sides of dwellings


DVS Hardscaper
08-14-2011, 11:51 AM
I can understand an HOA not allowing decks to extend past the side of a dwelling. A deck is usually elevated off the ground and harder to conceal. So in terms of decks, I can support such a covenant.

But for patios, I think the convenant is sometimes a little extreme. In which most HOA's convenants lump decks and patios in the same paragragh.

Does anyone have any idea of what I'm talking about?

A few years ago we did a nice patio where a portion of a seatwall was designed to extend about 12-inches from the side of the house. And the HOA denied the approval for the design.

Last week we started a new patio in a fairly new community. They have no formal HOA set up. Well, yesterday the owners received a letter from the builder saying the fire feature can not come past the side of the dwelling. This changes the whole -----n design. That, and the owners and neighbors said they did not even realize an architectural committee existed!

Like I said, decks are elevated. I can understand why they should not come past the dwelling's sides.

But patios......they're usually IN THE GROUND and concealed with plantings around the patio.

Let me put it like this: HOW IS A PATIO COMING 5-FEET PAST THE SIDE OF A DWELLING ANY DIFFERENT THAN A FORMAL FRONT PORCH???? Or Any different than a paver walk leading into the backyard???

Most convenants are copied from HOA to HOA. A developer will obtain convenants somewhere and will use the same convenants for all his/her communities.

This common convenant is something that both the landscape and hardscape industry need to LOBBY the HOA's and get them to review plans by a case by case basis.

I have worked in some HOA's where the houses are real close. So I can see them dis-approving a patio coming past the side(s).

But when you have a large lot, with a side load garage, or even a house on a corner lot where the house is positioned diagonally on the lot - there is no practical reason to deny a patio extending past the sides. And if the plan calls for well thought out planting, then where is the harm?


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DVS Hardscaper
08-14-2011, 11:53 AM
And by the "landscape/hardsape industry" lobbying I mean trade groupls like LCA, ACLA, ICPI. I don't mean contractors knocking on the doors of the HOA presidents.

Stillwater
08-14-2011, 01:47 PM
any work i do at a condo complex or hoa is signed off on and approved by the condo association or hoa association. Before I start I need proof of plan approval. I can't be bothered and I have no time to lobby or be concerned with their rules regs or bylaws. in fact I could care less what they are as long as what the homeowner has planed for me to do is approved and I have proof of this, this is all I need. As far as the politically aligned trade groups go I don't even recognize ICPI as an authority as long as their decisions and written policy's remain politically and monetarily motivated. I am certainly not alone with this thought.

RussellB
08-14-2011, 01:54 PM
If the homeowners want to change the bylaws and or covenants they can lobby and a force a vote. We did so in our neighborhood.
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DVS Hardscaper
08-14-2011, 05:45 PM
well my point is they have a convenant that they don't even know what it is. In our area almost all HOA's will not allow patios to come past the sides of a dwelling. If its a well thought out design, and the patio extends by mere feet, there is no reason to deny it. They're ground level. And no different than a front porch.

Will P.C.
08-14-2011, 11:54 PM
Once people start putting furniture or other things on the patio, I can see where this could come into play. Sometimes people do some very odd things and this protects them.

However, the right house w/ the right lot should not be a problem.

PaperCutter
08-15-2011, 06:59 AM
What I've found is that in better than half the cases, a pretty plan submitted for approval gets approved by the HOA even if I've ignored the landscape design guidelines because they suck. The random attorneys and middle managers doing the "architectural review" have no idea what they're looking at.

Does the homeowner have the opportunity to appeal this to the board? And how does this affect you? After dealing with the ridiculous HOAs in the Phoenix area, my contracts have entire paragraphs stating what I'm responsible for should the HOA push back against what I want to do (hint: not much).

DVS Hardscaper
08-15-2011, 08:52 AM
We made the change to the design. No biggie.

But it's the principle that I'm looking at.

In this community people have pools in their backyards. Well the pool decks extend past the dwellings side lines!! It's a stupid convenient that was originally drafted for decks back before Patios became more mainstream and they added the word patio to the paragraph. I'm a practical person and see things from a common sense stand point.

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PaperCutter
08-15-2011, 09:10 AM
So in this community, is the definition of patio something like "directly adjacent or attached to the residence" and the pool decks are fine because they're away from the structure?

Just out of curiosity, what language do you have in contract relating to HOAs? I always specify that the homeowner is solely responsible for all approvals, because back in AZ the HOAs were so hardcore that if you put something in without approval there was no getting an as-built and paying a fine - it had to get ripped out.

DVS Hardscaper
08-15-2011, 09:34 AM
I haven't read their convenants. I don't think they're that detailed. In Md it seems all the newer hoas say no patios past the sides. A patio and a pool deck are the same thing, intended for people, intended for entertaining and relaxation.

I do have a clause in contract for HOAs, but I need to fine tune it. We did a job a month ago where the owner didn't submit his application and we had to stop the work. Funny thing is the president of the HOA just built a freestanding pergola and I never saw a permit posted! Being the safety minded person I am, I have no choice but to contact the county and bring this to their attention (insert evil laugh here)

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PaperCutter
08-15-2011, 10:11 AM
Hey, safety is very important. You're mighty nice going out of your way like that to keep the HOA president's family safe. You may be getting a letter from the Nobel Prize committee. Soon.

I strengthened my HOA language because I had a client who wanted all kinds of crazy stuff (gargoyles, unicorns, fountains) in a really restrictive HOA that had just put her on notice for the wrong style mailbox post. So I put that any modifications to the design required by the HOA for approval would be on her dime, not mine. I ended up leaving it in there because it's actually not a stupid policy to have.