City passed chicken ordinance (YAY!) but HOA says no

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by DaraKing, May 19, 2016.

  1. DaraKing

    DaraKing Just Hatched

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    Hello all,

    Brand new member of BYC, and posting my first question here. I live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (a small-ish town next to Albuquerque). The city council has been going back and forth for awhile now on whether to allow livestock, particularly chickens and goats, to be kept in residential neighborhoods. In April the counsel finally approved the allowance of up to seven hens (no boys allowed) on properties of a half acre or larger. My home lot size is about 3/4 an acre, so my family would abide the new city ordinance.

    But, here's my problem/concern: Our home is in a HOA community. Which rule/law supersedes the other? Can I legally raise chickens and bypass the HOA rules? Does the HOA have authority to override the city ordinance and ban chickens?

    I don't want to ruffle feathers (pardon the pun!) and ask questions of the HOA to have them start monitoring my backyard for chickens. I do not yet have chickens but I'm of the mind to disregard the HOA since the higher governing body (the city counsel) has approved the ordinance. Has anyone experienced this or heard of others that have? I'd rather not have to hide my flock from the HOA if I have a leg to stand on with the city ordinance.

    ~Dara
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG] glad you have joined us and hope you are able to get your own flock.

    I am no expert in laws - but have looked at responses to others with the same question.

    It seems that if the City Ordinance "Guarantees" the right then it likely supersedes the HOA's rule. But if the law "Allows" then the HOA's rule can be enforced.

    IMO - get out your home owners HOA contract and read it carefully - are they allowing variances for other rules? Have you evidence they are not enforcing other rules on some homeowners? If yes to either, you can petition the HOA for a variance with specifics about your personal plans, talk with other residents to see if they will support you in the process and if so start a petition.

    Get a copy of the new City Ordinance and review the phrasing of the new law.

    You can consult a local residential lawyer to get the best advice.



    You should post an intro under the New Members forum to get a proper welcoming.
     
  3. DaraKing

    DaraKing Just Hatched

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    Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Hello sunflour,

    Thank you for the warm welcome to BYC! I appreciate it muchly. [​IMG]

    My desire to start with my own backyard chickens has won out...I bought 4 pullets this morning (at least, I *hope* they're all girls!) I bought two Americaunas (love the idea of colored eggs!), a Buff Orpington and a Dominique, all from a local farm and feed store. The Americaunas and Dom are one week old, the Buff Orp is two weeks old. They've taken up residence in a large
    storage tote in one of my bathrooms...for now. And yes, I've got them under a 250 watt heat lamp with the bathroom ventilation fan turned on to move the air around in there. It's a very small 1/2 bathroom that we really don't use in our house, and it keeps them out of harms way of our dogs while they grow.

    As for the HOA, well...I've got a couple things going for me. Our backyard is surrounded by 6 and 1/2 foot high cinder block walls. I have neighbors on either side of my house and a sidewalk and street at the back wall. On that side, the wall on the sidewalk side is more like 7 feet high, so I'm not too concerned about prying eyes or coyotes getting to my girls. It'll be the hawks to watch for around here. Hiding them from the HOA shouldn't be too much of a problem, and if I need to get a few no-crow collars to quiet their bawk-bawking about a newly laid egg I'll do that. And I've already gotten it in mind to offer up free eggs to my neighbors to keep them happy. [​IMG] I'd given this some serious consideration for months prior to the city changing the ordinance to allow chickens. I was so very close to just doing it anyway, but I'd rather have the city ordinance on my side and hide from just the HOA (instead of hiding from both the city AND the HOA). I've still got a couple months at the least, while my girls grow, to install some privacy hedges to further hide them. Bring on the Green Thumb! lol! At best, I've got a couple weeks to figure out how to house them as they get bigger. Off to read and learn from other BYC members!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    The HOA rules trump the town ordinance. Nothing the town does has any effect on your HOA contract. Read your contract carefully, what they allow, what the fines and procedures are if in violation and anything else that's in your contract about the HOA rules and enforcement of them.

    Towns, counties and states have a hierarchy but an HOA agreement is a contract you entered into when purchasing the house. There is procedure to change them, will be in your contract. Or you can ignore them but I'd think you'd want to know what their enforcement is first.
     
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Hope all goes well.

    They will out grow the plastic bin brooder in a couple of weeks. And be ready to move to their permanent home at 5-6 weeks old.

    Inside a house 250 watt bulb may be more than you need....I brooded mine in a garage at 40-45 degrees and had to move down to a lower wattage bulb almost immediately.
    Make sure you watch them - if they stay under the light - they are cold, but if they move and stay away then it is too hot. A lady I work with recently killed her new ducklings with too hot a heat lamp indoors :(.

    If you don't want to tackle the HOA - at least take with your immediate neighbors - if they oppose your flock and the ordinance prohibits them, then you will be rehoming all of them :(

    Crow collars only work or are supposed to work on roosters - and your flock is way to small to handle even one roo - so be prepared to rehome if any are guys.

    Hens are not as noisy as barking dogs - but they can get chatty loud when ready to lay and sing proudly after laying.....you won't be able to hide that from the neighbors.

    The real question is how strictly are the HOA's rules enforced? In my neighborhood - we complied to all only to see others breaking many of the rules. Please do review your agreement and see if you can find other variances in your neighborhood. AND go ahead and talk with your immediate neighbors to get them on your side, now.

    Even a well known wealthy, celebrity in Atlanta, GA was forced to get rid of her flock because of a similar situation:( I hope you get to keep yours.
     
  6. DaraKing

    DaraKing Just Hatched

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    Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Thank you sunflour,

    I used a second facebook account (not my real name) to post the question to my HOA facebook group, which is how I know that they stipulate "no farm animals within the HOA community properties." I admit now that I was young and uninformed (not to mention, lied to by the developer's selling agent--but more on that in a moment) when we bought this house in 2003. I had never heard of a home owners association much less knew what they were about. When the developer's selling agent explained to me--after we'd signed the purchase agreement contract--what an HOA was, I asked him if it has a termination date. I wanted to know how long we'd be expected to pay out money for services we reap absolutely no benefit from. DH and I were told the charter would expire in 10 years, or 2013. Here it is, 2016, and the HOA is still in existence.

    When I say we reap no benefit from the HOA, I'm not kidding. The developer xeriscaped most of the front yards when the community was built but some do have grass in the yard. This is the desert of New Mexico, after all. Water is at a premium. So instead of grass I have small rocks covering my entire front yard. I do have a couple trees out there as well and they are irrigated but truthfully I'd much rather pay the water bill for that myself than the jacked up rate that they charge. The HOA has contracted with a landscaping company that comes out bi-monthly for maintenance but we've got nothing for them to maintain or upkeep. By now I'm sure you can sense my irritation at this whole thing. Thankfully, DH and I will be looking to sell in 2017 or early '18 to get the flock out of here! The only thing holding us here is our teenage son, he'll be starting his senior year in the Fall.

    Now, as for my new babies, I have them in that large storage tote in a small bathroom. The heat lamp is a good 4 feet away and I have the bathroom ceiling fan running for air circulation. One side of the tote is covered over the water and feeder area with a cardboard "roof" to keep the temps down a bit. I did ask at the feed store if the chicks would self-regulate by moving under the heat lamp and then away from it and was told that they will do that. And in fact I checked on them just a bit a go (they're so stinkin' cute!) to find them under the cardboard roof.

    I recognize that they will grow quickly and outgrow the plastic tote, so at around 4 weeks of age or so what would you recommend for a new larger brooder?
     
  7. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    @DaraKing Your flock are pets not farm animals:)

    Make sure the tote / box is 2 feet tall - you can rig 2 together to expand.

    I opted for a 100 gallon water trough - but they are quite pricey.
     
  8. DaraKing

    DaraKing Just Hatched

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    May 19, 2016
    Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Better shots of my temporary brooder and the babies. I pulled the cardboard roof back a bit when I took this, but I have it fully over the water and feeder to keep that area out of the heat lamp.

    [​IMG]

    Black with spot on her head is a Dominique, yellow chick is a Buff Orp and the remaining two are Ameruacanas.
    [​IMG]

    Ameruacana
    [​IMG]
    Ameruacana
    [​IMG]
    Dominique
    [​IMG]
    Buff Orpington
    [​IMG]
     
  9. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    at the local level.. HOA CC&R is the supreme law of the land ..

    If it's a no then it's a no. You only have 2 options you can try

    1- attend the meetings and see if you can change their minds
    2- move to another place (county land or rural areas).Houses on county land or the rural areas don't have to deal with the HOA.


    Most new housing communities in the city will have HOA now a day-- to maintain the common areas+ to prevent people turning their backyard into a dump or doing things that will affect the houses' value.

    There are pros and cons of having the HOA.

    Trying to hide it from them will not work since the neighbors will report you to the HOA soon or later.. so before you start.. consider whenever you are willing to go to court or throw all those equipment/supplies and chickens when they gave you a notice ?

    if it stated no chicken on the CC&R.. there's nothing to you can do.. you signed the CC&R before moving in right ? so you are putting yourself in a tough situation by raising chickens despite knowing that it's against their CC&R.

    HOA fees/penalties will not go away even if you filed for bankruptcy and the chance of you winning a case against them when it's clearly stated in the CC&R is zero.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  10. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've dealt with a lot of HOA's and very, very, few of them want to litigate unless the issue is seriously detrimental and ongoing issue. This includes Country Club HOAs with virtually unlimited funds.

    There are neighbors and a type-A HOA inspector who will try to remove your chickens. If you go into it knowing that it can happen, go for it, just be prepared to sell or give away everything. I've talked to hundreds of people that live in a "no chicken" HOA but have had chickens for years, the neighbors are typically the deciding factor. Roosters are definitely a no-go, and more than a few hens will also get people looking in your back yard.

    HOA fees and penalties are 100% dischargable in a bankruptcy, that is a mis-conception since most people try to keep their house in a BK and the HOA fees are tied to the property.

    These days, it's always easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask permission.

    Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.

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