HOAs get plenty of attention online, with entire subreddits dedicated to complaints about their restrictive policies. A home in an HOA is subject to rules regarding the appearance of the house and yard, and owners can be fined for the smallest infractions.
Even money-saving, eco-friendly improvements like solar panels, clotheslines, gardens, and water-saving landscaping may be banned in some areas — and homeowners who don’t comply with an HOA’s demands may risk losing their homes.
When Hadley built his home inside an HOA, he installed a beautiful “xeriscaping” design, a type of landscaping that minimizes the need for water, he told KSL. His yard included hardy, drought-resistant plants, a few areas of river rock, and tidy beds of gravel.
However, Hadley soon received an email from Holbrook Farms letting him know that his landscaping was against the HOA’s rules. Holbrook Farms doesn’t allow “substantial” use of a long list of drought-friendly materials, including concrete, masonry products, pavers, brick, stone, cobblestone, tile, terrazzo, slabs, slate, rock, pebbles, gravel, wood, woodchips, bark, decking, and artificial turf, according to KSL.
“It just, it’s mind-boggling,” Hadley told the outlet.
According to the HOA, the homeowner would need to remove the gravel and install mulch, sod, or river rock in its place — a frustrating requirement for Hadley.
“There’s not chemicals like mulch,” he told KSL. “It’s not sod, where we’re having to water it.” River rock is the only comparable option, which means Hadley would simply be trading one kind of stone for another.
According to KSL, the restriction might not be legal. Utah’s law HB282 says HOAs can’t have rules that ban water-saving landscaping in residents’ yards. But they can require homeowners to go through an approvals process, and Holbrook Farms has refused to approve Hadley’s gravel.
Commenters on Reddit think Hadley should fight back. “This is my number one complaint with every HOA I manage,” said one user, advising Hadley to check with a lawyer.
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