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HOA to crack down on homeowners who aren’t landscaping backyards

Q: Our homeowners association rules state that owners must landscape their backyard within six months. We have residents who have been here as long as 13 years and have never touched their backyard.

The builder/declarant never enforced most of our covenants, conditions and restrictions. Now that we have a homeowner board, I was wondering what can be done to enforce the landscaping of the backyards. We can’t “trespass” onto people’s property to take a picture. Since pictures are now required, how do we go about sending them a picture of their violation? You can look down the side yards and assume, seeing nothing but rocks and dirt, that the rest of the backyard is the same. Please tell us what we can do to enforce this violation.

A: One recommendation is for your board to have the management company send a letter to those homeowners stating the requirement from the CC&Rs.

In that letter, management can request a copy of their architectural approval letter and/or taking a photograph of their backyard. Homeowners would have “x” amount of days to comply. In addition, management can review the homeowner records to see which homes have backyard landscaping. It is a process, but it can be done.

Q: Can we approve the budget with an amount for landscaping, based on our current vendor, and then get quotes to bid it out?

Can the president only decide if renters can come to a meeting? Someone she knows came to our meeting (first time that this has ever happened), and she said he can stay but can’t participate in conversation. Yet he voiced a concern about the upstairs neighbor. Our property manager agreed to this.

Once again, thank you for your expertise on HOA. Do you teach any classes for HOA board members?

A: If you think that you will be changing your landscape company, then it would be more prudent to estimate the new landscape expenses and use that number for your 2020 budget and not the current expense.

The decision to allow renters to attend a board meeting should be made by the board of directors. If you do allow renters, then a policy should be made by the board as to allowing the renters to speak during the homeowner forum.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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