U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas > Austin
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-11-2012, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
75,498 posts, read 36,696,309 times
Reputation: 18408

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
Most HOAs allow sheds....Home Depot has a Tuff Shed called the HOA Special or something - it is wood side, shingle roof, and 6 feet tall at the peak.

In my neighborhood (Villages of Western Oaks), I would guess that 2/3 of the houses have sheds. Technically, I think our HOA only requires the 'similar' construction materials and matching roof, and defers to the COA shed restrictions, which allows up to 8 feet; however, COA requires 5 foot offset from any property line or easement. Most people seem to go with the 'hidden' short shed and offset about 2 feet .
That's a great shed..I had one put on my property 10x8 and used it as a chicken house
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-11-2012, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
5,097 posts, read 3,466,779 times
Reputation: 3312
Do like I did:

15 years ago (without consulting any HOA committee) I built an 8'X8' yard/storage shed on my side yard using wood materials that matched our privacy fence, put a white fiberglass roof on it, lined the walls inside with tarpaper, and floored it with the extra bricks left over from the original home construction. The original fence makes up one side of the "shack". Cost was about $100.

It provides plenty of space for my lawn mower, garden tools, garbage can, ladder & a bunch of Mrs.Sco's potting crap and storage buckets. Keeps all that stuff dry too.

Best of all, it's not visible from the street or our back yard patio:





Nobody's objected to it so far.

Last edited by ScoPro; 01-11-2012 at 03:18 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 03:25 PM
 
1,402 posts, read 1,494,322 times
Reputation: 1295
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayBrown80 View Post
I dread wading into this because of the strong and unreasonable anti-HOA contigent that lurks on this board that will turn this simple question into an example of personal freedom that the founding fathers died to protect!! *rolls eyes*

.....

If you don't think you require approval for this new construction, I don't know why you asked for it to begin with. In this case, you asked for permission, you were told no and informed this out building was not allowed, and then you built it anyway. I think that if any legal action were to occur, that those actions would not be very helpful to you in front of a judge. How do you argue that you were unaware there was a problem when there is a very clear paper trail that you KNEW building would be problematic and you chose to do it anway?
A more positive response to the OP's question is provided at the end. In the meantime...

Perhaps you are blissfully unaware of the typical misrepresentations made by the HOA management companies? HOA management companies routinely insist that all improvements must be submitted to an architectural committee for approval. Of course this isn't entirely accurate. Management companies are not licensed to practice law or interpret restrictive covenants but that never stops them from making it up as they go along.

Another management company stunt is to claim that it is authorized to be the receiving agent for the Architectural Committee and to dictate the policies of the Architectural Committee. However, the management contract is with the HOA corporation board - not the Architectural Committee. There are many restrictive covenants where the Architectural Committee is not subservient to the HOA board and where the Architectural Committee makes its own decisions as to who its agents are. The management companies will invariably claim to be the agent of the Architectural Committee when they are not.

Another stunt employed by management companies is to generate forms that purport to require you to "agree" as a condition of consideration that you won't construct anything without the "approval of the Architectural Committee". There is no authority for the management company to impose such restrictions prior to consideration. Moreover in many, many subdivisions the restrictive covenants have an automatic approval provision if the request is not timely acted upon by the Architectural Committee. This is really nothing but a tactic to provoke disputes for the benefit of the management company and an attempt to deny owners the benefit of the automatic approval provisions of the restrictive covenants.

Another common tactic by the management company is to refuse to provide any documentation establishing that the Architectural Committee acted as required under the restrictive covenants. This is particularly true with respect to "denials" - which should actually have been automatic approvals in many cases.

Don't believe all the huff and puff of blockwarts. That "paper trail" will likely also include letters from the management company making false representations as described above along. There is often usually a web page that similarly makes such misrepresentations and invites owners to "report your neighbor".

Now for the good part:

If the HOA corp board is allowing the management company to represent itself as the receiving agent for the Architectural Committee, and if the restrictive covenants provide that the application is automatically approved if not acted upon by the Architectural Committee within a specific time period, then you have a case for the proposition that your request was automatically approved per the restrictive covenants. Obviously, you should not raise the issue until after the specific time period specified in the restrictive covenants plus a few days has passed. Good luck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 03:39 PM
 
112 posts, read 113,218 times
Reputation: 62
First and foremost, thanks everyone, for weighing in. I realize that my post didn't come across quite positively - my bad, I'll try to explain myself a bit. I'm not the litigious type... quite the contrary... I've never sued anyone in my life, nor did I threaten anyone with legal action. That's why all the silly questions... My question was more along the lines of "would a homeowner ever stand a chance against the HOA in court?" Someone already answered that "no chance, it's like fighting the government". I just wanted to get a feeling of how much power the HOA's have, and that was answered as well "some of them can enter the property and forcefully take down the shed" - damn!

I was just a bit frustrated with them because after I inquired about the application process, gathered the neighbors' signatures and filed the application, the HOA manager didn't even forward it to the architectural committee, she single-handedly rejected it on the grounds of being made of metal. But didn't bother to let me know, I just asked about an update on my application a month later and received an email "metal buildings are not allowed - feel free to resubmit your application". WTF?

OK, I guess my garage door argument was indeed silly... And I was never planning on taking it up a notch with the HOA, I was just letting my mind wander and more than anything, I was expressing my frustration with the situation... I'm sorry my original post came across as argumentative, combative and unreasonable.

So, I'm just trying to learn from this experience and figure out what I will have to put up with, later this year when we will decide where and what to buy (I'm currently renting this house - sorry for not mentioning this in the first place; I did have the approval from the owner itself to go ahead with the project, but he's not very involved with the house, I actually found the HOA management company on my own, 'cause it's not on the lease).

One thing is for sure, I won't be considering any homes until I see the damn CC&R's, one neighboring HOA has a rule that forbids even the installation of a kids' trampoline in the backyard without approval!

Another friend of mine got a warning letter from her HOA because she left the garbage bin in the front yard for a few minutes until she grabbed some soap and a brush from inside to wash it. While she was inside, someone took a picture of the bin and reported her to the HOA. I guess some people have too much time on their hands, don't they?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Cherokee Nation
28,938 posts, read 11,378,517 times
Reputation: 6418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post

3.12. Temporary Structures. No tent, shack, or other temporary building, improvement, or structure shall be placed upon the Property without the prior written approval of the Architectural Committee; provided, however, that temporary structures necessary for storage of tools and equipment, and for office space for architects, builders, and foremen during actual construction may be maintained with the prior approval of Declarant, approval to include the nature, size, duration, and location of such structure. Notwithstanding any provision in this Declaration to the contrary, an Owner shall be permitted, without Architectural Committee approval, to erect one (1) outbuilding on the Owner's Lot if (i) the surface area of the pad on which the outbuliding is placed is less than or equal to eighty (80) square feet, (ii) the height of the outbuilding, measured from the surface of the Lot to the higest portion of the outbuilding is less than or equal to six (6) feet, (iii) the outbuilding is constructed within an area completely enclosed by a privacy fence of not less than six (6) feet in height, (iv) the exterior of the outbuilding is constructed of the same or substantially similar materials as the exterior of any residence located on the Lot, and (v) ...

It says you do not have to get committee approval if:
It is no bigger than an 8x10
It is no taller than 6 feet high
It is behind privacy fence that makes a circle around it in some shape, form or distance.
It is the same cladding as the home(rock home, rock on the tiny shed)


I hate HOA's. I would never ever live somewhere like that, where private property is even less private, than it already is.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 03:58 PM
 
112 posts, read 113,218 times
Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
A more positive response to the OP's question is provided at the end. In the meantime...

Perhaps you are blissfully unaware of the typical misrepresentations made by the HOA management companies? HOA management companies routinely insist that all improvements must be submitted to an architectural committee for approval. Of course this isn't entirely accurate. Management companies are not licensed to practice law or interpret restrictive covenants but that never stops them from making it up as they go along.

...
Oh wow, this is a quite interesting point and pretty much exactly the kind of information I was looking for!

As I said above, I did not have a copy of the CC&R's, since I'm a renter and although I asked the HOA manager to send them to me, so I can do some reading on my own, she did not oblige. However, the rejection email had a copy of one page containing section 3.12 which I typed in my original post. That's where I saw that apparently as long as the outbuilding complies with requirements i through v (which mine obviously doesn't being 4 inches taller than 6 feet and not being made from the same materials as the house). Nevertheless the HOA manager "explained" to me that I read it wrong, that the exception is only for builders (?!) and I'm not a house builder and approvals are required. I'm quoting from her email: "ALL IMPROVEMENTS MUST BE APPROVED PRIOR TO INSTALLATION OR CHANGES"

This seems to be exactly the case described by IC_deLight above, where the management company overstepped their authority and competence. She didn't even forward my application to the committee for crying out loud!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 04:13 PM
Bo Bo won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Tenth Edition (Apr-May 2014). 

Over $89,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: San Antonio
14,649 posts, read 21,658,691 times
Reputation: 9913
Quote:
Originally Posted by BentBow View Post
I hate HOA's. I would never ever live somewhere like that, where private property is even less private, than it already is.
And you shouldn't. I hate having neighbors do things on/to their property that lower my property values. That's why I live in a neighborhood with an HOA.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,553 posts, read 21,297,334 times
Reputation: 6539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
Most HOAs allow sheds....Home Depot has a Tuff Shed called the HOA Special or something - it is wood side, shingle roof, and 6 feet tall at the peak.

In my neighborhood (Villages of Western Oaks), I would guess that 2/3 of the houses have sheds. Technically, I think our HOA only requires the 'similar' construction materials and matching roof, and defers to the COA shed restrictions, which allows up to 8 feet; however, COA requires 5 foot offset from any property line or easement. Most people seem to go with the 'hidden' short shed and offset about 2 feet .
Good points Trainwreck! As an Architect I have dealt with lots of similar issues.

A few more things Florinator should consider:

City of Austin permits: Permits | AustinTexas.gov - The Official Website of the City of Austin
Quote:
Building Permit Exceptions
  • One story detached building 200 square feet or less – See zoning* for requirements
Quote:
R105.2 Work exempt from permit. Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from the permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

Building:
1. One-story detached accessory structures, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2).
These also must comply with the Zoning* requirements for side and rear yard set back requirements. More about that below.

My neighbor who just visited with the City to verify the permit requirements for a shed he wants to build was told that a "detached accessory structures" cannot be built on a concrete pad or foundation. If it is, it will require a permit from the City of Austin.

In the case of what Florinator wants to build: If you try to build an outbuilding that is no taller then the 6' fence that will not leave much headroom. If you build something with a masonry footing instead of the concrete pad, it will need footing pads and a floor. By the time you subtract a floor and ceiling structure, you will probably have only 5'-6" or so of head clearance inside. I don't know how useful that will be to you, but to my mind, not much, but I'm 6'-2".

It would seem much more beneficial, in utility and to your property values, to build a larger structure, up to 200SF to stay below the City code limit, that uses the materials required by your HOA, so you can have a higher ceiling and a larger and more useful structure. Something that may actually add value to your property rather then detract from it.

It would be a good idea to look at what other kinds of accessory buildings your HOA has allowed so you understand what they do think is acceptable.

*Zoning: Typically the zoning setback requirements stipulate that any structure must be at least 5' away from the side and rear property lines of your property. If there are telephone or electrical easements along those property lines the structure must be those distances away from the easements. This was verified by my neighbor, mentioned above, who is getting ready to build just such a storage shed. He has these kinds of easements along both side and rear property lines and so much stay 7.5' away from both the side and rear property line.

The zoning setbacks evolved out of fire codes where it was determined that these were the minimum safe distances required between adjacent properties in order to limit the spread of fires from one property to the next.

P.S. I agree with most of the other comments above that you need to work with the HOA not against them. Your efforts to stretch the HOA requirements are excessive and will not achieve positive results. After a lifetime of dealing with building code, zoning, ordinace and development restrictions I have found that, even though you may be tempted at times to try and split hairs and argue over the meaning of what is written. You are almost always better off just trying to find out what is the minimum you have to do to satisfy the rule makers.

An attorney I once consulted regarding a so-called "code official interpretation" that I disagreed with, asked me, "Why don't you just do what they are asking? It was less trouble and expense then fighting them". And as much as I hated to admit it, the fight wasn't worth the trouble it would have taken.

CptnRn, Architect

Last edited by CptnRn; 01-11-2012 at 04:55 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 04:48 PM
 
2,345 posts, read 3,150,369 times
Reputation: 1229
Quote:
Originally Posted by buffettjr View Post
"or is the HOA management company in the business of annoying and harrassing homeowners instead of working for them?"


Hahaha! Welcome to the layercake, son. HOA's live to tell people what they can't do and make sure everyone looks and acts the exact same at all times . If you do anything different you've ruined their illusion of Stepfordville.
And if people don't like HOA's, they don't have to buy a home in an HOA community. But to buy one (like the original poster did), knowing full well what the rules were and then complaining about those same rules just doesn't make any sense.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,553 posts, read 21,297,334 times
Reputation: 6539
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoPro View Post
Do like I did:

15 years ago (without consulting any HOA committee) I built an 8'X8' yard/storage shed on my side yard using wood materials that matched our privacy fence, put a white fiberglass roof on it, lined the walls inside with tarpaper, and floored it with the extra bricks left over from the original home construction. The original fence makes up one side of the "shack". Cost was about $100.

It provides plenty of space for my lawn mower, garden tools, garbage can, ladder & a bunch of Mrs.Sco's potting crap and storage buckets. Keeps all that stuff dry too.

Best of all, it's not visible from the street or our back yard patio:
Nobody's objected to it so far.
Sorry to say it, but that clearly violates the City of Austin set back requirements for side and rear property lines. You can be required to remove it if any one objects, if you are in the City of Austin.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $89,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Texas > Austin

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top