Great Advice On Getting An HOA Approval For a Fence
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners can make when installing a fence is not checking to see what the by-laws of their Homeowners Association (HOA) require. Do not assume that what your neighbors have previously done with their fence is okay! Just because the neighbors did it, doesn't mean that the HOA approved the project.
I recall a particular job where we were scheduled to install a chain link fence, and the customer called to tell us that the HOA informed her that no chain link was allowed in their community. There were already several yards in the neighborhood that had used chain link. Because of this, we didn't suspect that the chainlink would be a problem. This assumption was wrong. The HOA actually directed the chainlink fence homeowners to remove the unapproved fences from the entire neighborhood.
In another instance we had a customer who submitted her information to the HOA weeks in advance. She assumed that because she had not heard from the HOA that the fence was approved, and she had us install her fence. The HOA later stated that they never received her question. They made her redo her fence because she didn't get approval for the style she selected. As you can see, this can be a very costly mistake.
Typically, a HOA can take anywhere from one week to six weeks to approve your fence project. Generally speaking, you have to to get the HOA's approval whenever you do anything to the exterior of your residence. This can include painting and landscaping. Many HOA ordinances and rules prevent you from constructing chain link, split rail, or wire containment fences because they are not aesthetically appealing. If you install one without HOA approval, you can almost be sure you will have to tear it down or face serious fines, as well as aggravation and time consumption.
Following are suggestions for getting HOA getting approval for your fence project.
1. Read the regulations provided by the HOA thoroughly. Make sure that you have the most updated version. Call the HOA president or another board member with all questions you have regarding the specific regulations. Document the date and time of call, the name of the person with whom you spoke with, as well as what was said during the conversation.
2. Make notes on what you want to communicate in your letter to the HOA. In your correspondence try to anticipate any questions the HOA board may have about your project. Always include possible solutions to any problem you think the board may have with your planned project.
3. Enclose blueprints, pictures and project drawings. Also, be sure to include the specific dimensions of your project and any other pertinent details in your letter. Include images or colors of the materials you will be using. Be clear and precise so your letter will be easily understood.
4. Make copies of your letter to keep for your records. Mail your request to the homeowners association. Be sure you have included the best ways for members to contact you, such as giving them both a home and work telephone number.
5. Follow up on your letter if you are not contacted within a week after mailing. Confirm your letter has been received and ask for a date by which the board will render a decision on the plans for your property.
6. Appeal for a variance if your request is denied and you still want to pursue your plans. An appeal hearing may then be scheduled during which you can present your case to the entire board. You can enlist the support of your neighbors to help bolster your argument.
The bottom line is to be sure to get the approval of the HOA FIRST. It is not up to your fence company to find out the rules and regulations or to get approval of the HOA. A longstanding and professional fence company can help advise you in this process. They can also supply you with fence samples and pictures of existing installations to help you get the approval of the HOA before starting construction on the fence.
Article contributed by Chuck Billmyer.