• Home Home

Homeowners rally together to change law that lets HOAs rule neighborhoods with an iron fist: 'That's a bigger fight'

"This is the way."

Law to protect their right to grow native plants despite HOA rules

Photo Credit: iStock

A group of homeowners in Virginia is trying to change state law to protect their right to install environmentally-friendly landscaping on their property, according to a recent Reddit post recruiting users for the project.

The post appeared in r/NativePlantGardening, a community dedicated to landscaping with local plants adapted to the area where they grow. It quickly spread to another community showcasing the problems with homeowner's associations (HOAs) because the two issues overlap.

HOAs often stand in the way when residents want to make their homes and gardens more eco-friendly. While native plants are cheap and easy to maintain thanks to their low water needs and good for the environment because they feed pollinators, they're also a deviation from the suburban standard of a flat turf grass lawn — and HOAs tend to push back.

That was the problem Janet and Jeff Crouch were up against when they wanted to keep growing wildflowers in their yard. Fortunately, the two succeeded in a legal challenge against their HOA, changing Maryland state law to protect their right to grow native plants.

Now Nature Forward (formerly known as the Audubon Naturalist Society) and Virginia resident Melinda Soltys want to do the same in Virginia, according to the survey shared in this Reddit post.

"Nature Forward is excited to partner with local Virginia advocate Melinda Soltys to advocate for a change in Virginia state law to ensure community associations cannot prevent homeowners from installing more environmentally friendly, low-impact landscaping," the group said

In their Reddit post, they added that the measure would be aimed at protecting "conservation landscaping, native plants, and other eco-friendly gardening practices."

"I'd much rather support a law where an HOA has no say what someone does with their private property and can only regulate what the HOA financially owns itself," said one frustrated Redditor, prompting another user to respond, "This is the way."

However, according to the original poster, there is a strategy involved in their choice. "That's a bigger fight," they said before pointing the commenter toward a national group attempting to do just that.

Other homeowners in conflict with HOAs have had success changing the rules of the organization itself; here's a guide outlining how.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider