There have been some rumblings on this blog before about the ability of homeowners associations to restrict what people plant in their gardens. According to this CNN article, one in six Americans live in a neighborhood governed by a community or homeowners association. These associations can act as quasi-governmental agencies, imposing and enforcing rules with little regard to their fairness or even their legality. Basically, it’s a grey area, and advocacy groups are forming to advocate for the rights of homeowners.
Where this gets interesting is when homeowners want to do more than express their individuality (GASP!) by painting their house a different color or planting something other than turf and shrubs in their front yard. What about when homeowners want to take such eco-friendly steps as hanging their laundry out to dry or planting drought-tolerant natives in front?
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has something to say about that:
Most government jurisdictions in the Las Vegas Valley have laws that prevent a homeowners association (HOA) from restricting the installation of water-saving landscape. An HOA may require homeowners to submit landscape design plans for approval; however, the HOA cannot require a homeowner to install turf nor can it prohibit water-efficient landscapes.
What’s up with your homeowners association? In the tradition of The Smoking Gun, we’d like to compile a dossier of incriminating documents. Scan your rules, notices, or pesky e-mails from the HOA and get ’em over here.