Would you buy a house with this HOA restriction?

From an otherwise-promising new development in Charlottesville:

All toys, bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, mopeds, and such other similar items located on a Lot or adjacent streets shall be removed each evening to an area not exposed to view from any other Lot or street.

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14 Comments

  1. Athol Kay January 4, 2008 at 15:13

    Hmmm…

    If we say dug a 8ft hole in the front lawn, would the kids toys be hidden enough from the other lots? I’m thinking of some sort of retractable Thunderbirds / Tracy Island style platform here. The trees would fold back to ground level in the morning as the platform with the toys and mopeds were raised to ground level, and then at night the platform would descend and the trees would go upright again and obstruct the view of the whole thing.

  2. Christina Ethridge January 4, 2008 at 17:33

    Well, yes I would. They just need to go in the garage or behind a privacy fence. It’s called ‘putting it away when you’re done using it’. 😉

  3. Jim Duncan January 4, 2008 at 17:41

    Athol – that may cause problems, too.

    Christina – Thanks for stopping by. What if … and this is a legitimate what if …

    The houses are on near-zero lot lines, some don’t have garages, and privacy fences aren’t allowed?

    Where do you put the muddy tricycle if not on the front porch?

  4. JoshC January 4, 2008 at 18:25

    Well, I sure wouldn’t move there if I had kids — which may be their aim.

  5. Christina Ethridge January 4, 2008 at 19:39

    Well – then if you have those items and no place to store them, it’s not the right neighborhood for you . . .

  6. jm January 4, 2008 at 23:04

    No, I wouldn’t move there.

    What development is this?

  7. Candy Lynn January 5, 2008 at 10:50

    Feels like Fair Housing violation to me. Seems to be aimed at keeping children if not out then out of sight.

  8. Jim Duncan January 5, 2008 at 15:42

    The development I was referring to is Belvedere, a new development in Charlottesville (one development about which I am excited which is technically Albemarle County). But … they have assured me that this requirement will be removed from the final HOA documents, as the docs have not yet been filed. Good for them for listening and being open to change. However, It’s a more common requirement than one might think.

    For example – Glenmore, a higher-end golf club/equestrian community in Albemarle County says in their HOA docs –

    K. All toys bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, mopeds, and such other similar items shall be removed each evening to an area not exposed to view.

    Forest Lakes – one of the largest subdivisions in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area.

    e. All toys, bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, mopeds, and such other similar items located on Residential Property or adjacent streets shall be removed each evening to an area not exposed to view from any other property or street.

    Spring Creek (PDF), a new development in Louisa County –

    K. All toys bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, mopeds, and such other similar items shall be removed each evening to an area not exposed to view.

    My suspicion is that this is likely a clause in some HOA docs that is part of the template from which they (the attorneys) start.

    I also suspect (and hope) that it is rarely, if ever enforced.

    Candy – ditto
    Christina – I disagree, as in the Forest Lakes development, you would be omitting about 2500 homes.

  9. Christina Ethridge January 5, 2008 at 16:15

    Disagree with what? Not moving there if you don’t like the HOA? Putting away what you use when you are done with it? Having more stuff then you have space for? Utilizing off-site storage if necessary?

    I fully understand what y’all are getting at, but I also understand why those restrictions are in HOA documents. When I go in a neighborhood and see this kind of stuff sitting around the yard when it’s clearly not being used, the area looks unkept, trashy and well, like people simply don’t respect their own things because they don’t take care of them. Why ever would people want to live in a neighborhood like that?

    To say that there is not a solution because of no garage or zero lot lines is like saying it’s not possible to water your lawn because you don’t have an automatic sprinkler system. There is always a solution, always.

    There are people all over the world that live in even tighter quarters without any outside space whatsoever that manage to find homes for this type of stuff.

    I’d also like to rebutt the whole ‘looks like a FHA violation to me’ – you are wrong. Only 2 of the 5 items are associated almost exclusively with children – the other 3 of the 5 items are associated with all ages and 2 of the 5 items are associated with people at least 16+.

    I get your point, I just don’t agree that it’s a terrible thing to have in an HOA. As I said before, don’t live in that neighborhood if you don’t like what the HOA says. There are millions of other places to live. No one is being forced there.

    Additionally, it’s not up to you or me to decide what WE like or not, it’s up to the consumer. There are obviously consumers out there that love this and have requested this, otherwise nothing would sell in that community.

  10. Jim Duncan January 5, 2008 at 17:11

    Christina –

    Thanks so much again. As an aside, Kris has a pertinent post today on a related subject.

    In short, I think that the case very well could be made that these are Fair Housing violations, but I violently and fundamentally disagree that one should be able to make the case – our society has become to PC that every day brings a new scare. /rant

    A few thoughts – specifically to these referenced neighborhoods, and it’s hard to make the argument whilst straddling the fair housing/family line …

    These are very popular neighborhoods that are frequently marketed as being close to schools, Forest Lakes in particular due to its proximity to a couple of elementary schools.

    Leaving a bike on the front porch or in the lawn on occasion or a soccer ball in the front yard is, I argue, part of living with kids. Leaving them outside to rust and become dysfunctional so as to be lawn art is another matter, and likely what these clauses are intended to address. However, as they are written, the clauses prevent any bikes, toys, etc. from being left outside.

    On this point –

    Additionally, it’s not up to you or me to decide what WE like or not, it’s up to the consumer. There are obviously consumers out there that love this and have requested this, otherwise nothing would sell in that community.

    I agree that it’s the consumer’s/client’s choice, but I doubt two things –

    1) that more than 25% of them actually read the HOA docs thoroughly
    2) If they had, and the rules were vigorously enforced, they wouldn’t have bought there.

  11. Matthew Rathbun January 5, 2008 at 19:35

    There are many (most) HOA’s in my area that have this requirement. The HOA I live in does, a matter of fact. It’s not very well enforced, however. Our neighbors have tons of trashy toys out that need to be cleaned up. I don’t think that it’s a familial status issue, as it’s not a prohibition to purchasing; it’s a condition of maintenance once you’ve moved in. Simply put, take care of your yard, so that mine does loose value, because you have no pride of ownership. As with all HOA requirements some level of reasonableness needs to be utilized.

  12. Ken Portlock January 7, 2008 at 23:45

    Sometimes you wonder why we have HOA Dues, You want to have a clean community but come on!!!

  13. Dave Phillips January 8, 2008 at 18:11

    My neighborhood is one of the HOA’s with this restrictive clause. Since I am a rebel, I leave little hotwheels scattered in the yard just to taunt them. You can only see these if you really look hard, but I get to walk around with the swagger of a rebel. Yeehaw!!!

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