What about home owners' associations?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by raro, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. raro

    raro In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2010
    My county has no ordinances whatsoever about keeping chickens. I don't think the issue has come up, as it used to be a rural area, but has now become suburban. I was delighted, because we are near enough to Washington DC that I was sure it wouldn't be allowed.

    However, after getting the chickens, my sister in law (who thinks I'm nuts) commented that I should really look at my Home Owners' Association rules. It had never dawned on me, duh...

    The rules state that I need permission to get ANY pet, including cats or dogs. That's all it says. So, basically, it's a ridiculous rule, because I guarantee that no neighbors of mine are calling the HOA for permission to have a goldfish, let alone cats, dogs, or chickens. So is this something to worry about? Or is it a case of, if someone complains, I should ask forgiveness rather than permission?!

    Fortunately, my neighbors haven't noticed that I have my girls, because I have a 6-foot fence and my property runs up against the woods. But now I feel like an outlaw, sigh.
  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    I live in a sub-division with a covenant. This covenant has never been enforced in the 18 years I have lived in the house. I do know that in other sub-divisions in town you can't even paint with out permission, and god help you if they don't like the color you picked out. Some people love this type of neighborhood so that they can have a say over their neighbors lives, well as much as a person can in this country. In my neighborhood, we are more of live and let live kind of place. I don't say anything about the neighbor's motor home, and they don't say anything about my dogs and chickens.

    I know that this could change if enough neighbors banned together and started to insist. One of the other clues about my hood was that there were no homeowner dues. They neighborhoods with homeowner due are much more likely to get involved with the daily lives of others. Homeowners dues will get a group together, and often one or two people will lead a group to think only the way that they do. That can go both ways. So if you pay homeowners due get involved, and stay involved. You will know what others around you are thinking and feeling.

    What I am not sure of is who enforces a covenant. I know of one woman in a hood north of my town that was sued for painting her house a rather pleasant shade of dusty purple, by her homeowners association. She was forced to re-paint her house in an approved shade of boring. It also means that she paid dues to sue herself.

    I am aware that covenants can also protect me and my homes value, it will make sure that the neighbors have to cut their grass, and maintain their house, and not permentaly park their junk cars on the front lawn. I do know this can be a very good thing. But for the most part the live and let live works very well, and I have more chickens than anyone else in the neighborhood does, but I am not the only one that has chickens. [​IMG] Covenants are often a two way street. If you get me then lets hope that you never break the rules, because I will have read them too.
  3. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    You should have been given a copy of the homeowners covenant when you bought the house, or if you rent the landlord should be able to give you a copy.
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    I think it could be something to worry about especially if you have noisier chickens or you live in one of the "nosier" HOAs. All it will take is one HOA official noticing them or a neighbor or two to get you in trouble. I'm not for breaking rules at all, but since you've already got the chickens, if you can keep them hidden and quiet you may be OK for a while.

    Like Justbugged said before, there are some benefits to HOAs such as keeping junk cars off of lawns, keeping the appearance nice and bringing up property value. But, they can be a pain with ridiculous rules such as not being able to do minor work on your car in a closed garage, washing your car or that rule about getting permission for pets. I mean, if it's in your own home, why do you need permission? I can see if it's outside, but not inside. Isn't that your responsibility to take care of the inside (or your backyard)?
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  5. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    You should get this resolved. If there is EVER an Avian disease outbreak anywhere in the US, your neighbors WILL panic, complain, beat a path to either YOUR door, or complain to the Head of your HOA. I know this, because my father was the HEAD of the HOA in the suburban neighborhood that I grew up in for many years. There were never any real problems, but they did resolve issues, and the heads of HOA's often behave like a judge in any controversies.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  6. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chirping

    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    I'm sorry, but I think covenants and HOA's are absolutely ridiculus. It's your property. Live how you want to live.
  7. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Songster

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    Quote:Agreed!!!! I guess there are some people that just have to have control over their neighbors and can not mind their own business. If people would just buy homes in more civilized neighborhoods(without HOA rules) these scourges of society would soon wither and die.

  8. Marshmallow Man

    Marshmallow Man Chirping

    Aug 7, 2010
    I hate HOA's. That being said they do serve a purpose. they keep the guy down the block from painting his house Barbie Pink or keeping his boat parked in front of your house. Lot's of times the people on the board have Nazi personalities. If you follow the covenants there's no problem. If you own the home and violate the rules you better pay the fine. They can put a lien on your house. Usually the fines double if not paid and keep on doubling. Then they use the money you pay them to fight you in court.

    That's why I live miles away from any covenant controlled area. Fortunately my neighbors take pride in the way their property looks. No HOA is needed.

    Watch out for the DC area. I hear that they have so many regulations there that they announce when the POTUS is going to bed and that is the curfew for the night. LOL
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  9. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    I have a simple rule about covenants and HOA's. I don't want to deal with them. Period. I am looking for real estate and the first thing I tell the realtor is that if the property is governed be a covenant or a HOA, don't bother showing it to me because I am not interested. As far as I am concerned an HOA is a deal breaker no matter how otherwise desireable the property may be. Life it too short to deal with those headaches.
  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    HOA CC&Rs are a binding contract between each homeowner and the association. However, if a particular provision has routinely not been enforced, that particular can be judged invalid and unenforceable. Enforcement cannot be selective; it must be fair and uniform. Thus, if there has been no effort to ensure that all pets are officially approved, that provision could not be used to prevent you from having chickens as pets. However, it may take a court case to get that ruling; the good news is that the loser usually has to pay all attorney adn court fees for the party that prevailed. Bad news is that since you are an HOA member, that is also money you partially pay for.

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