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Old 01-10-2012, 11:34 PM
 
112 posts, read 112,367 times
Reputation: 62

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I've been looking into getting one of those DIY storage sheds from Home Depot for my backyard and filed an application with the HOA to get approval for the "project". Well, my application was rejected because "metal buildings are not allowed" and the shed is made of thin white painted corrugated sheet metal. I have two issues with this, but first let me copy the relevant section from the HOA rules:

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) ...

The contention points are underlined above. In my humble opinion, it appears that I didn't even have to file the application in the first place, for this particular project as long as it satisfies all requirements (i through v) - position with which the HOA management company disagrees. I was told that the exemption does not apply to me, since I'm not a builder... I think they are mixing things up... It states clearly that the owner shall be permitted WITHOUT A.C. approval to erect one outbuilding if...

The other point is the construction materials... As I said, the shed is made of thin metal sheets and the HOA manager didn't even bother to forward my application to the architectural committee, saying it can't be made of metal, since my house is not made of metal. I beg to differ, my 2 car garage door is made of sheet metal... so the shed is using the same materials used in the construction of the house. Not to mention that the shed is painted white, just like the rest of the house.

What gives? Am I in the wrong or is the HOA management company in the business of annoying and harrassing homeowners instead of working for them?

Does anyone have any (legal) experience with the ways of the HOA's?

If, say, I go ahead with the construction, because I think the rule clearly states I can do it without approval in this particular situation, but the architectural committee thinks otherwise and sends me a letter to take it down, are there any other ways for me to defend my decision? Can I, say, go to court and if a judge agrees with me, invalidate the HOA's order to take down the shed? Just exploring some possibilities here...

Please weigh in!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
5,327 posts, read 6,586,644 times
Reputation: 2007
Someone will chime in about the near-absolute power the HOA has over such matters. I know 'your' type of structure would NOT be allowed in Avery Ranch. It's a pretty good stretch to suggest that your house is constructed of galv-alum just because the garage doors are. Additionally, I believe our CCRs state that the roof material must match that of the home...not too hard to do, but another restriction.

One big concern I would have would be the stability of such a structure. If it's not seriously anchored, it could go blowing downwind like a Dixie Cup in one of our cen-Tex windstorms.

The six-foot height restriction is another sticking point for most outbuildings. It's six feet from LOT height, meaning an above ground pad would restrict headroom even more. Kind of a pain if you can't even stand up in the man cave. I do miss our 10' x 12' garden shed we had in Atlanta, but it would stick out like a sore thumb in our current neighborhood.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:15 AM
 
112 posts, read 112,367 times
Reputation: 62
"Substantially similar materials as the exterior" - come on, the garage doors are exterior and they are made of sheet metal, why do you think it's such a stretch? I can put plywood panels on top of the exterior walls, to make it just like the house, but it would look awful

I looked into the windstorm issue, Home Depot suggests an "anchor set" to go with this item for windy areas

Many of the storage "solutions" at Home Depot are made of plastic (Rubber Maid, etc), so I guess that is completely out of the question, because I can't find any plastic on the exterior of the house, no matter how much I stretch it

So the funny thing is, since I have to store a lot of bins and boxes in the garage, one of our cars sits in our driveway, which seems to be perfectly fine with the HOA, although I think it would help make the neighborhood look better if I kept the car in the garage where it belongs and the boxes in a shed in the backyard, where nobody can see it...
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:33 AM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
5,327 posts, read 6,586,644 times
Reputation: 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
"Substantially similar materials as the exterior" - come on, the garage doors are exterior and they are made of sheet metal, why do you think it's such a stretch? I can put plywood panels on top of the exterior walls, to make it just like the house, but it would look awful

I looked into the windstorm issue, Home Depot suggests an "anchor set" to go with this item for windy areas

Many of the storage "solutions" at Home Depot are made of plastic (Rubber Maid, etc), so I guess that is completely out of the question, because I can't find any plastic on the exterior of the house, no matter how much I stretch it

So the funny thing is, since I have to store a lot of bins and boxes in the garage, one of our cars sits in our driveway, which seems to be perfectly fine with the HOA, although I think it would help make the neighborhood look better if I kept the car in the garage where it belongs and the boxes in a shed in the backyard, where nobody can see it...
So you could make the same argument in favor of glass because the windows are glass OR just screening if you have screens on your windows.

Our 'board and batten' garden shed 'back home' looked pretty cool...painted to match the colors on our screened 'car-porch'. Of course, out here in the much-maligned 'burbs, all the homes are masonry construction; so 'matching' the materials is a whole different ball game.(not likely to blow away, however ).

By the bye, there are plenty of C-Ders who believe the garage IS for storage of bins and boxes, NOT for vehicles.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:00 AM
 
958 posts, read 1,189,089 times
Reputation: 554
The metal sheds can be anchored to any concrete pad, there are kits that either come with the shed or can be purchased separately. Biggest threat from the wind is it blowing _while_ you construct the shed.

To say that the metal matches your garage door isn't a stretch, it simply borders on silliness and probably would go a long way towards guaranteeing you won't get any type of sympathy from the HOA (not to mention branding you as a troublemaker and probably causing further headache in the future). Also, most of the sheds I've seen are taller than 6' when you factor in the peak of the roof (it would need a flat roof or an opening that is less than 6' which is somewhat uncommon).

I won't speak for the pros/cons/rightness/wrongness of HOA's and their rules (my neighborhood doesn't have one) but in this case I would think that you don't have a leg to stand on.

10scoachrick, I thought that large storage space attached to my house was specifically designed for boxes and what-not. You mean to tell me that folks use it for temporary storage of their horseless carriages, get out!
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:02 AM
 
576 posts, read 775,101 times
Reputation: 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
I've been looking into getting one of those DIY storage sheds from Home Depot for my backyard and filed an application with the HOA to get approval for the "project". Well, my application was rejected because "metal buildings are not allowed" and the shed is made of thin white painted corrugated sheet metal. I have two issues with this, but first let me copy the relevant section from the HOA rules:

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) ...

The contention points are underlined above. In my humble opinion, it appears that I didn't even have to file the application in the first place, for this particular project as long as it satisfies all requirements (i through v) - position with which the HOA management company disagrees. I was told that the exemption does not apply to me, since I'm not a builder... I think they are mixing things up... It states clearly that the owner shall be permitted WITHOUT A.C. approval to erect one outbuilding if...

The other point is the construction materials... As I said, the shed is made of thin metal sheets and the HOA manager didn't even bother to forward my application to the architectural committee, saying it can't be made of metal, since my house is not made of metal. I beg to differ, my 2 car garage door is made of sheet metal... so the shed is using the same materials used in the construction of the house. Not to mention that the shed is painted white, just like the rest of the house.

What gives? Am I in the wrong or is the HOA management company in the business of annoying and harrassing homeowners instead of working for them?

Does anyone have any (legal) experience with the ways of the HOA's?

If, say, I go ahead with the construction, because I think the rule clearly states I can do it without approval in this particular situation, but the architectural committee thinks otherwise and sends me a letter to take it down, are there any other ways for me to defend my decision? Can I, say, go to court and if a judge agrees with me, invalidate the HOA's order to take down the shed? Just exploring some possibilities here...

Please weigh in!

Thanks in advance!
The similar materials they are referring to are what the exterior of the home is covered in. The purpose is so that the shed at least blends in with the surrounding construction and helps preserve the neighborhoods looks. I don't care for HOA's but they do serve a purpose. They prevent people from throwing up all types of contrasting structures, painting their homes offbeat and gaudy colors, prevent the "Roach Coach" owners (and others) from parking oil and grease dripping vehicles in streets and driveways. Unfortunately some HOA's get drunk with power and become a problem. In this case I don't see that.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Pflugerville
2,213 posts, read 2,517,160 times
Reputation: 2175
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*

But before this thread gets crazy and unreasonable, I will say this. You knew you were moving into an HOA. You knew what the convenants were before you bought the house. Now you are stuck with their rules. Instead of being combative with them or being unreasonable (like you are being with your garage door argument) you could instead WORK with them and try to find a comprimise that makes everyone happy. Ask them if any other similar structures in your HOA have been approved, and if they have, maybe you could seek out that homeowner and ask them what they did? Where did they buy their outbuilding? How did they go about speaking with the HOA?

I have found that if you approach a problem with an open mind, and with open communication and a willingness to compromise, then you can usually solve said problem.

I have also found that if you apporach a problem with a closed mind, or are combative, or are trying to be "slick" or argumentative (like you were in your first post) then problems often DONT get solved.

It's up to you to decided what type of person you want to be.

As a seperate side observation, has anyone else ever noticed that argumentative, combative and unreasonable people are usually the ones that have the most problems with HOAs and that level head, solution-oriented and reasonable people are the ones that DONT seem to have many problems with their HOAs? I wonder why that is....?

To answer your questions though, since you asked us to weigh in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
Am I in the wrong or is the HOA management company in the business of annoying and harrassing homeowners instead of working for them?!
I don't see your HOA as harrassing you, after all, you contacted THEM. Not the other way around. In this case, I think your definition of "working for <you>" is "let me do whatever I want to do" which is not realistic on your part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
Does anyone have any (legal) experience with the ways of the HOA's?
No. I have never had a problem with my HOA that disinigrated to the point that legal action was required. Usually any issue can be worked out without suing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
If, say, I go ahead with the construction, because I think the rule clearly states I can do it without approval in this particular situation, but the architectural committee thinks otherwise and sends me a letter to take it down, are there any other ways for me to defend my decision?
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?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
Can I, say, go to court and if a judge agrees with me, invalidate the HOA's order to take down the shed? Just exploring some possibilities here!
You can go to court for anything. You can sue for coffee being too hot. You can sue for getting fat off of fast food. Just know that you are taking a gamble that a judge, being a rather educated person or else they wouldn't have advanced to the bench, is going to look at your HOA covenants (which are legal documents) and is going to look at your request letter and subsequent rejection letter, and is going to listen to your brilliant legal arguments (my garage door is metal!) and they are going to make a decision based on that information.

Now, if you feel that is a safe bet, if you feel like a judge is going to side with you, by all means, Gamble a little and see what happens. Just know that the worst case scenario is you will be wasting your time and your money purchasing the outbuilding, constructing it, paying fines for breaking the HOA convenants, paying for a lawyer and then having your entire neighborhoods HOA dues increased because your HOA is now spending HOA funds on fighting frivolous lawsuits. You might also want to investigate what the HOAs recourses are to your actions. Some HOAs might let it slide. Some of them are empowered to go onto YOUR private property and forcefully remove your outbuilding.

That's what gambling is! It's measuring risk. If you think that's a good gamble, knock yourself out. Please keep updating us though on your lawsuit. I will be interested to see how it turns out.

I don't think you have properly and thouroughly thought out your end game here.


Oh well, let's see how far and ridiculous the anti-HOA contingent can take their gripes this time...in 3...2....1.....

Last edited by JayBrown80; 01-11-2012 at 07:48 AM..
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:39 AM
 
4,044 posts, read 6,336,968 times
Reputation: 1656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post

The other point is the construction materials... As I said, the shed is made of thin metal sheets and the HOA manager didn't even bother to forward my application to the architectural committee, saying it can't be made of metal, since my house is not made of metal. I beg to differ, my 2 car garage door is made of sheet metal... so the shed is using the same materials used in the construction of the house. Not to mention that the shed is painted white, just like the rest of the house.


Thanks in advance!
I think you are right about the first point. but think you are wrong about the second. Based on your logic, if you have any plastic on the exterior of your house then you could build an entirely plastic shed. It reads to me that if you build a shed it has to be like a mini house. The walls being the same material as the walls of the house, roof needs to be the same material as the roof of the house etc
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:40 AM
 
2,304 posts, read 3,426,764 times
Reputation: 954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florinator View Post
What gives? Am I in the wrong or is the HOA management company in the business of annoying and harrassing homeowners instead of working for them?

Does anyone have any (legal) experience with the ways of the HOA's?
Do any of your neighbors have similar sheds like the one that you want to put in? Do you have a privacy fence that would hide it in your backyard or would it easily be seen over your fence? My experience with things like that in a HOA neighborhood has been, go ahead and do it without approval if it's in your backyard and not really visible from the street.

Our HOA will follow-up on complaints from neighbors, but is unlikely to send someone out to peek over your backyard fence. If another neighbor has the same thing, you can use the "I've seen similar sheds at these other residences, so I thought they were within the guidelines". If nobody else in your neighborhood has what you're looking to do then it's probably going to be an issue and it would only take one "busy-body" neighbor to report you to the HOA. If you don't have a 6 foot privacy fence for your backyard, it sounds like it might be time to put one up. It does seem to be a pretty common HOA guideline that a shed can't extend over your 6 foot privacy fence.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
75,259 posts, read 36,424,032 times
Reputation: 18302
Fighting an HOA mgmt company is like fighting the government . You will not win.
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