Help on getting HOA changed to allow backyard chickens

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by ashandnate, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. ashandnate

    ashandnate Hatching

    Jul 12, 2011
    I live in Liberty Hill, Texas in a neighborhood with a strict HOA. Our neighborhood is fairly new so the HOA is run by an actual company...not by volunteers who live here. Our guidelines say no poultry. I had 5 chickens that my family and I are absolutely in love with. My neighbors didn't mind and I have an adorable coop, and a fenced in enclosure that I kept very neat and tidy. Well...a really mean and unhappy woman who lives in our neighborhood reported me to the HOA and I received a letter saying I had to get rid of them asap. I re-homed my babies (hopefully temporarily) and am going to try to change the HOA rules on backyard hens with restrictions. Does anyone have helpful info on how to go about doing this? My husband and I, along with another neighbor who had 4 chickens put together a myth/fact packet to show to neighbors and went door-to-dooring to get "yes" signatures to present to HOA when we call our meeting. In one day we got 47 yes signatures with only one no. I am trying to figure out other surrounding HOA's that approve backyard chickens to present to them as well. Does anyone have any helpful information for me? I know that I was going out on a limb getting them even though I was breaking the rules but I am so beyond sad and missing my girls terribly. Any help would be greatly appreciated. OH, and I'm not a fighter, however, I am passionate enough about this to get a lawyer if I thought that might help but of course, I would love to change their minds with providing really great info and trying to do it in a pleasant and nice way....
  2. It isn't a simple as just "changing their minds". Allowing chickens would require rewritting of the covenants linked to your deed that is a big deal.
  3. edible_chicken

    edible_chicken Songster

    May 15, 2011
    i would first look at local and states laws if they give legal rights to own poultry (either as pets or food), i.e a hoa or organization cannot bar you from owning them
  4. Quote:This is incorrect. An HOA can set more stringent rules for their home owners, these limits can be banning RVs or chickens, limiting the height of grass, or the number of vehicles allowed to be parked in a driveway.
  5. ashandnate

    ashandnate Hatching

    Jul 12, 2011
    Thank you for your responses. I am definitely aware that it is more difficult than just changing their minds...I was hoping to be able to find other HOA's that allow backyard hens to present to our HOA and am not finding anything. Our city allows chickens...HOA does not. In Austin, Texas, you are allowed to have up to 10 hens with no roosters. So I was wondering if anyone had any information on how to go about getting things changed. Is getting a lawyer a good idea? Any other ideas other than getting a petition signed with people in the neighborhood? Any info or advice is greatly appreciated!
  6. Read your covenants, that will outline the limitations and the terms of the covenants.
  7. dretd

    dretd Songster

    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    I think Sonoran Silkies was able to change the HOA to allow chickens. Maybe try a PM?
  8. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    In Texas, especially, you need to be VERY careful with HOA's -- Texas law allows them to file liens and then foreclose on properties for all kinds of screwy reasons. Unscrupulous professional HOA management companies have used very flimsy excuses to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their own properties over very small amounts of money or other issues. And, Texas law is NOT friendly to the homeowners, its designed so that the entire foreclosure process can basically be done outside of the courts or with very minimal court oversight, and it puts the HOA management essentially in the role of judge, jury, and executioner. The laws were written by HOA association people to benefit them, not the residents.

    There have been several recent exposes of these practices in the media, including on 60 Minutes and on NPR. This came to light in the context of military families who fell behind in tiny late payments to HOA's and who lost their houses while the primary breadwinner was in Iraq or Afghanistan. IIRC, one family lost their home over a $35 assessment that was overlooked, but was able to fight and get it back after much legal wrangling, all while the father was serving in Fallujah as a captain in the Army.

    Please just be careful, people will look for any excuse to take what is yours away from you over trivial violations if they think they can make $.
  9. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    The crappy thing about HOA covenants is they are already set in place before you move into your home. When you buy your house, you agree to abide by them. Even if your county allows chickens, your HOA has the final say. Even if you present your 47 yes signatures to the company running your HOA, they still have every right to refuse. Which they probably will, especially considering you live in a fairly new subdivision. Have you actually spoken to the people managing your HOA? That would have been my first step. See if you (and perhaps anyone else wanting to keep poultry) can sit down and have a meeting with them to explain the pros and cons of having chickens, and why you love them so much. The worst they can do is tell you no again. Good luck- I sincerly hope you get your flock back.
  10. ErikaSmit

    ErikaSmit In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2011
    Schererville, IN
    Asking a lawyer for insight would probably shed the most clarity on the situation. They would know whether things can be done with or without counsel. Wish you the best!

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