Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Complying with HOA Rules...

A few weeks ago we got our first angry letter from our neighborhood's Homeowners' Association. Actually, that's kind of a lie. It wasn't really angry. And it wasn't really our first (the first was a letter sent right after we closed on the house last summer telling us to get the weeds out of our front yard, but it didn't really count because we weren't even living there yet!).

Anyway, they sent us a letter to inform us that we were in a state of "non-compliance" with an HOA rule that requires air conditioning units to be blocked from view by plants or fences. My initial reaction was what?! Isn't ours covered?, but a quick trip to the side of the house revealed this:

Yeah. Very exposed and not at all covered.

My next thought was seriously? That's a rule? So we looked in the rule book and yeah, it's a rule. It also specifies that plants "must be currently large enough to completely block the unit from view." Picky, picky, picky.

So I drove around the neighborhood to see what other people have done with their A/C units. About 85% of them had backyard fences that extended into the side yard to cover the A/C units. Smart. I wish our builders would've thought of that. The other 15% of them had exposed ones just like us, with the exception of one house that had some bushes planted around their unit. Hmm.

Since moving the fence to cover it wasn't really an option, we needed to either get some plants or continue being in a state of "non-compliance." Clearly, there are plenty of other people in the neighborhood who chose non-compliance, but as a couple of first-born-child-rule-followers (one of whom spent a semester in Property class learning about the horrible liens and fines HOAs can stick you with), we decided to buy some plants.

We were in the middle of our backyard makeover anyway, so on a trip to Houston Garden Center we picked up three $6 oleanders.

They're perfect, except that they're nowhere near as tall as the A/C unit (and you know, plants are supposed to be "currently large enough" to cover the unit and all). But you know what... plants that big are expensive, and for a part of the house that we literally never see... it's not worth it. Good old HOA will just have to deal with it. I'm guessing they'll be more concerned about the other 14.899% of houses that have nothing at all around the A/C units.

Anyway, so Jeff got out there and staked out their positions and dug some holes and filled the holes with soil and got those guys planted.

I've got to admit, it does look better with a few plants around it. Plus, I just love those little pink flowers!

Now we just have to hope that they grow big and tall before the Homeowner's Association notices...

Totally blocking it from view, right? Haha.

Has anyone else got one of those awful HOA letters? I felt like such a bad person when we got it... I just hate breaking rules!! Haha.


  1. We don't live in an hoa, but some friends of ours do...and they received a letter when their boat was parked in their driveway for more than 2 days!

  2. We don't have HOAs, but we have some friends and family that live in communities that do and we've heard the horror stories. Yikes!

    Like the new plants though!

  3. Oh, the HOA. I understand what they're trying to do, but it kinda sucks that you can never paint your door a fun color or something. The one in my parents' neighborhood is called the CIA, which always gets me.

    P.S. I've seen some tutorials for cute ac hiders on pinterest if you're ever feeling ambitious!

  4. As an owner of a HVAC company, please make sure you are not blocking air flow to your unit. It will burn out the compressor quickly and reduce efficiency of the unit.