HOAs have the reputation for making the home improvement process quite a challenge. Installing a fence on your property is no exception. Whether it be overly restrictive guidelines on height, style, and color to working from an all too short list of pre-approved vendors and contractors, finding a balance between getting what you are looking for and pleasing your HOA can be headache-inducing.
Hurricane Fence Company is here to ease your struggle with a few helpful do’s & don'ts when it comes to installing a fence when your residential property belongs to an HOA.
Don't: Make Any Changes Without Approval
If you only take one thing from this article, let it be this.
The old adage “it is better to ask for forgiveness, rather than permission” absolutely DOES NOT APPLY HERE.
HOAs can, have, and will force you to take down your newly installed fence if it does not meet the organizations guidelines & restrictions. The last thing you want to do is spend the time and money to have a new fence installed, just for your HOA to come by and have you get rid of it.
Do: Read, Understand, & Adhere to All of Your HOA’s Restrictions on Fencing
Every HOA is different, so unfortunately we cannot provide you with all of the answers you are looking for in this article. However, receiving this information from your HOA should be pretty simple. Once you have received their guidelines, read over them carefully and save it for future reference.
These could include restrictions on style, material, height, and color, as well as who may perform installation and when they are allowed to do so.
Don’t: Forget to Get Pre-Approval (When Applicable)
Some HOAs require pre-approval for any major exterior projects. Don’t assume that just because you have chosen a fence that falls in line with the guidelines and restrictions provided by your HOA that you are free to begin the installation. It pays to ensure you are playing by the HOA’s rules, so make sure you are aware if yours requires pre-approval or not.
If your HOA does require pre-approval, be prepared with plans, measurements, and as many other details as possible to help the process along.
Do: Keep A Communication Paper Trail
Keeping an organized paper trail of all your communications with your HOA is a great way to protect you against any future legal action.
You may be thinking: That seems a bit extreme, would my HOA actually sue me over a fence?
YES! There are endless documented examples of this happening. Check out this blog from Hirzel Law for a few of them.
If you follow all the proper procedures, the chances of this happening to you are slim to none, but when litigation is concerned, you can never be too safe.
Don’t: Forget Why HOA’s Exist
Can HOAs cause frustrations? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they are just there to make your home improvement process hell.
HOAs are established for a multitude of reasons. Among the most popular are to provide the community in which they reside with specific services that are covered in the dues paid by homeowners and to help keep the neighborhood looking clean and uniform.
Even though they have garnered a reputation for being difficult to work with, HOAs can seriously improve your neighborhood and can also raise your property value. To keep yourself from getting too frustrated with this process, try to keep in mind that your HOA is most likely helping to make your neighborhood or community a better place to live!
Do: Be a Good Neighbor
This tip is less about HOAs and more about getting a fence installed on your residential property in general.
Keep in mind that (in most cases) fences come up to the very edge of your property line. This means that in order to install most fences, the crew providing the work will likely need to be on parts of your neighbor's property at some point or another.
Do your best to be considerate and cordial with your neighbors during this process. Inform them of the project's timeline, when crews will be working, and especially if/when they will need to be on their property. Opening up a line of communication with your neighbors during projects like these can go a long way in keeping everyone happy throughout the installation process.
Home Improvement Without HOA Drama
Hopefully these tips will help you get started on a fence installation on your property. Although HOA’s represent a sometimes significant hurdle in your home improvement plans, ensuring that you have all the proper information regarding restrictions and guidelines can help make the process a little easier.
If you are in the market for a new fence on your property, contact us at Hurricane Fence Company in Richmond, VA & Norfolk, VA today for a free quote.