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New homeowner perplexed by HOA's requests to replace their drought-resistant yard: 'They cannot take any action'

"Some HOAs have been known to try to enforce non-existent rules."

“Some HOAs have been known to try to enforce non-existent rules."

Photo Credit: iStock

One Texas homeowner was baffled by a recent demand from their HOA to replace supposed "dead grass."

Lawn care is one of those thorny issues that some HOAs obsess about. They often require tenants to mow regularly, remove weeds, and water it. Sometimes they can take those requirements to an excessive level that wastes time and water, costing the owner money and damaging the environment.

Usually, though, the homeowner actually has to have grass first.

"We just moved into a new neighborhood, and the entire front yard is gravel," the homeowner explained in their post. "After being in the house for a month, we got a notice from our HOA with the following note: 'Please sod or resod the areas of your yard where dead grass exists.'"

The wording was specific. The HOA didn't request that they install a new lawn or remove weeds but specifically told them to replace the dead grass.

However, the original poster said their yard held about as much dead grass as this gravel yard held weeds.

"After a few back and forths with the HOA, I let them know that the yard is gravel and not grass, but they keep replying (with a seemingly copy-and-pasted answer) that it should be sodded where dead grass exists," said the frustrated homeowner.

Since the discussion with the HOA was so fruitless, the original poster was beginning to consider a legal argument. "I am not a lawyer, but my understanding of the Texas Property code is that an HOA can't prevent us from having a drought-resistant landscaping, of which I believe a gravel yard would be," they said.

Drought-resistant landscaping, also called xeriscaping, consists of gravel, stone, paved areas, desert plants, and plants native to the local area — all of which need little to no water beyond the natural rainfall in the region. It's low-maintenance and low-cost, making it popular — plus, it helps conserve water, protecting people and the environment.

"Be sure to read your CC&Rs," one commenter recommended. "Some HOAs have been known to try to enforce non-existent rules. Before taking any enforcement action in Texas, they are required to send you a violation notice with the specific violation cited. Until you get an official 209 violation letter by certified mail, it is just a request and they cannot take any action."

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