When you live in a neighborhood governed by a Homeowners Association, you’re quite familiar with how rigid their rules can be. It’s especially frustrating when you have your heart set on how you want your dream deck to look, yet you must work within the parameters set forth by the Powers That Be.
HOAs have “architectural control” over your house and property.
HOAs exist for the express purpose of protecting the value of the homes in the neighborhood. Their rules and regulations are put in place to prevent homeowners from altering aspects of their property that may be an eyesore to those around them. After all, no home seller deserves to have potential buyers walk away or offer a lower price because the neighbor’s monstrous deck diminishes the expectation of privacy they should have in their own backyard.
When your HOA rejects your dream deck specs, you have two choices.
- Modify your original deck design. Doing this can be heartbreaking, so try to stay focused by imagining the immense enjoyment the deck will bring you even though it might lack some of the sparkles you originally intended.
- Appeal the decision. If you believe the HOA is out of line and needs to be challenged, you’ll have to gather evidence demonstrating that you are in the right.
- Visit the county clerk’s office to verify that the HOA’s rules about deck construction have been properly recorded. If this is not the case, the regulations are unenforceable.
- Talk to others in the neighborhood to find out if any of them have a similar deck design that was approved.
- Find out how old the HOA covenants are because if they haven’t been updated since the 1970s, you may be able to get them amended. If you go this route, be sure to rally the support of your neighbors.
As you can see, dealing with the aftermath of the HOA’s denial can be a massive headache.
Save time and energy by avoiding the HOA’s Stamp of Denial!
The last thing you need is your new deck becoming a reminder of the time you went into battle against your HOA. To avoid turning your dreams of an outdoor retreat into a nightmare, there are a few things you can do.
Before you draw up your ideal deck design, follow these steps:
- Research the building permits from the county’s website. This is a good way to discover what the county will and won’t allow when it comes to decks. Plus, proving to the HOA that you’re aware of all the permits that must be pulled following their approval is a smart move. For example, if your design requires electrical work, it’s reassuring to them that you’re prepared to satisfy the county’s requirements by obtaining an electrical permit in addition to the building permit.
- Research the HOA’s regulations regarding backyard decks. Knowing what is and is not allowed will help you design a deck that will receive the HOA’s Stamp of Approval.
Now that you know what is allowed per the HOA and the county, it’s time to move forward by creating a blueprint for an outdoor retreat that will give you years of pleasure and lasting memories.
- Download and complete the HOA’s application. Carefully fill out all pages and be sure not to leave any blank responses. If you don’t understand something, get in touch with an HOA board member and have them explain it to you. It can take the HOA up to 60 days to return their decision, so avoid doing anything that will cause a delay in their response. They may even deny the application if it’s incomplete or filled out incorrectly.
- Gain your neighbors’ approval. Have your next-door neighbors check out your deck design and, if they have no objections, have them sign a Statement of Approval that you can draw up yourself. Demonstrating to the HOA that your neighbors don’t have a problem with your proposed deck will help sway the board members.
- Submit detailed specs. Your HOA will want to know everything about the deck you intend to build, so be sure to include all the specifics such as height, width, building materials, and where it will be located on the property.
Once the HOA gives your deck design a thumbs up, make sure you get their determination in writing. Should any problems arise, you’ll have proof that the original specs were indeed approved by the board. There have been instances where an HOA has requested a deck be dismantled due to violations, so it’s best to save everything in a file in case your deck’s design is put to the test, which could happen many years after its construction.
Relax! Leave it to the Experts of Kansas City Deck Projects.
Considering the strict protocols involved, it can be challenging to deal with the HOA’s Architectural Review Board. All you want to do is enjoy a gorgeous deck, so why not take the pressure off by hiring a decking contractor who can deliver exactly what the HOA is demanding to see?
We at All Weather Decks will swiftly accomplish this and so much more! Not only will we get your deck design approved during its first submittal, but we’ll happily pull the necessary permits as soon as we secure your HOA’s written endorsement. On the topic of pulling permits, we don’t recommend that homeowners handle this task and encourage readers to check out this article to understand why. By hiring us to handle all the red tape, you can be enjoying your dream deck while summer is still here!