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Understanding HOA restrictions on property exterior appearance

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | HOA Law |

One of the key roles of the Homeowners Association (HOA) is to maintain a consistent and appealing aesthetic within the community. This often involves overseeing changes to homeowner’s property exteriors. When homeowners need to alter their property’s appearance, it’s crucial not to make changes without approaching the HOA first.

While HOAs can approve or deny these changes, it’s important to understand what they have and do not have control over.

The HOA’s influence on community appearance

The appearance of properties often only lasts a few years before homeowners need a change. As people evolve, so do their houses. Consequently, when they need to change their property, it’s usually not just a matter of minor adjustments. These often require significant alterations. In these cases, homeowners must submit a proposal the association reviews for approval. Although the process can vary, Texas HOAs usually oversee certain common areas, including:

  • Exterior paint colors: Homeowners may need a specific color scheme or get HOA approval before repainting.
  • Fencing: The HOA might control the fence’s type, height, material and location. Sometimes, they may not allow installation at all.
  • Landscaping: The HOA might dictate the type, size and number of plants and trees homeowners can have. They can also restrict homeowners to a specific landscaping style.
  • Roofing: The HOA may limit roofing materials and require homeowners to replace their roofs after a certain period.
  • Solar panels: The HOA may control the size, placement and visibility of solar panels before installation.

It’s important to note that Texas law protects homeowners’ rights to add specific elements to their property without needing HOA approval. This includes the right to display political signs or religious items. As a result, these displays are beyond the control of HOAs.

Final decisions must be lawfully restrictive

When homeowners propose changes to their property’s exterior, HOAs need to see relevant documents and information to support their request. Although HOAs can deny these proposals, any decisions they make should follow Texas property laws. Striking a balance between individual expression and community rules is important. It helps maintain a harmonious and visually appealing community.