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  1. Gosanke

    Gosanke Just Hatched

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    Jul 25, 2016
    Hello:

    the back neighbor complained with the city and the city code enforcer paid me a visit already. all approved and no issue. the neighbor now complained with the HOA.

    HOA sent me a letter and asked me to remove my coop without giving me a first hearing.

    I live in San Jose, CA. Any tips on how to deal with HOA management about this? please share your experience or legal service recommendation.

    Regards,

    Steve
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    First, is there a WRITTEN covenant against keeping chickens in your subdivision? There has to be or they really don't have much say. You need to review the written covenants carefully to see if there is some rule that applies. HOA trumps the county, but they can't just arbitrarily tell you to do something without a rule to back it up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  3. Gosanke

    Gosanke Just Hatched

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    Jul 25, 2016
    This is the exact wordings in the CC&R:

    an owner may keep two dogs, cats or other customarily uncage households pets within his lot. each owner may also maintain a reasonable number of small cage animals, birds or fish. the rules may increase the number or type of animals which may be kept. the board shall specifically have the right to prohibit the maintenance of any pet which, after notice and hearing, is found to be a nuisance to other owners.


    As far as I know, it doesn't appear that hoa management is aware of such article in the CC&R. the letter is kinda bullying.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Well, that certainly is awkward wording, to say the least. So, seems you are limited to only dogs (at a limit of two), cats and other animals which are "customarily uncaged"? What the heck does that mean? And a "reasonable number" of small caged animals is open to interpretation-what is "reasonable"? Sounds like rabbits, caged chickens and even quail, all fit that bill. It's really not very clear. It does not say "no livestock" or "no chickens". And the "nuisance to other owners" can be just about anything someone says is a nuisance to them. We've seen the fact that a neighbor simply feels chickens don't belong in their neighborhood make like unpleasant for the chicken owner, even when there is no covenant. But if it's written, someone in the HOA will find it in their fight against you, if they are motivated enough.

    The way that is written, they will assume that everyone understands what animals are "caged" or "uncaged". But, as we all know, chickens can be either one. So, I don't know what to tell you. I myself detest HOA's on principle.
     
  5. Gosanke

    Gosanke Just Hatched

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    Jul 25, 2016
    > each owner may also maintain a reasonable number of small cage animals, birds or fish.

    my interpretation of "birds" equal all feather friends which include chickens. do I have a point?

    thanks,

    Steve
     
  6. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2013
    Hilo, HI
    Hate HOAs refuse to live in one although all these new "community/neighborhoods" seem to have these "rules". I hear your argument but "caged birds" don't mean chickens. Chickens are "poultry", I've had my fights with HOAs, here in Hawaii it's CCRS. Now I ask, can I have chickens & a boat (Hubby) when I find out there's "rules".

    Here's a good one, one of the newer subdivisions in our area has CCRS that say no chain link fencing. So this homeowner put up "hog wire" fencing around his property, lined it with palms and hedging. He was called on the carpet by the CCRS, his argument was it's not chain link. Now they clarified that by amending it to say "privacy fence" only but he's "grandfathered" so far he's good with his fence. Love his natural line of hedging, can't see the wire fence.

    So you could "fight" the issue that your chickens are "caged" & not running free. That they don't smell & there's no crowing, they're your pets with benefits. You also need to check what your city/county ordinances say about chickens, it helps. I'd also install the tallest PRIVACY fence allowed. Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Is there possibly any other clause in regards to livestock or farm animals?

    Either way you have an uphill battle, even if you win the 'small cage animals' clause all they need to do is have a hearing and rule that your chickens are a nuisance (very openly broad term) and are thus prohibited now that someone has complained...
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    And the above statements by the other folks are all true. They will make your life very unpleasant. I detest HOA's because they are full of folks whose natural tendency is to want to control other people. I've rarely seen a HOA president that wasn't a real jerk and sometimes, just a real nasty bully.

    Yes, chickens are birds and you can try to push it that way, but they'll say you should know that birds don't mean chickens but parakeets and such. I know, it's stupid as heck. That's why as a former realtor, I know the drill. I asked to see the covenants of the place I live now before I bought it. It was written by the guy who bought a farm and divided it up into lots and sold them to all his friends from Florida. It said no pigs and no mobile homes. There is an exception for Lots #1 and #2, which has an old mobile home and which, on occasion, had pigs in a pen. You know who owned those lots? His son. So, I can have any animal I want other than a pig. But, I knew that when I bought it. Good for me I didn't have an ambition to be a pig farmer, huh?
     
  9. Fluffyserama

    Fluffyserama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2016
    olympia, WA
    My HOA has a rule specifically against keeping poultry, so I extensively quizzed the fellow in charge of issuing citations before I started building my coop. He is actually sympathetic to keeping chickens even though its "against the rules" so he gave me tips for getting away with it.

    The chickens cannot be visible from off your property. The person issuing the citation has see the chickens with their own eyes and if they have to trespass onto your property to see the offense its automatic grounds for dismissal, unless you invited them onto your property or if there is a clause in your contract with the HOA allowing their representatives onto your property.
    Citations cannot be issued simply by a neighbors hear say. A neighbors complaint can cause them to send someone out but if they can't substantiate the claim they cannot cite you.
    Hearing what sounds like a chicken without visual conformation is not enough prof for a citation of keeping poultry, although the sounds can be enough to break noise ordnance's and they can give a citation for that. He suggested not keeping rooster and/or getting no crow collars for both roo's and very loud hens.
    If the chickens cannot be seen or heard from off the property but the HOA knows you have chickens and still want to go after you, they have to prove a health and safety violation is occurring on your property which is a LOT of hassle so if the HOA is taking it to that point they either think action is needed and warranted or you really ****** someone off on the board and they want to make things hard for you.

    At the end of our conversation he boiled his tips down to;
    keep them out of sight
    Keep noise as low as possible
    don't invite HOA representitives or employees onto your property or tell them you keep chickens

    If he catches me flagrantly breaking the rules or if I tell him I'm currently keeping chickens he will have to cite me, however I'm welcome to give him extra eggs as long as I don't let him know where they came from.

    I don't know what your Protective Covenants allow, but I think he gave me enough good information that it can be applied to most HOA's

    Good luck
     
  10. Fluffyserama

    Fluffyserama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2016
    olympia, WA
    I forgot to ask what exactly they are citing you for and if your HOA has the ability to fine you for violations???
     

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