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Homeowner fears they'll need to adopt 'horrible' property maintenance practice: 'Can the HOA force me to do so?'

"If you can come up with another way, they won't care."

"If you can come up with another way, they won't care."

Photo Credit: iStock

Many homeowners have used their little slice of land to do amazing things for the environment, like planting native lawns and pollinator gardens. Yet, battles with HOAs are never far away, and often, these organizations get in the way of people making sustainable changes in and around their homes.

In a Reddit post in the r/HOA subreddit, one user shared their frustration with their HOA, which is fining them for having weeds in their yard.

In the post, the OP explained that the reason they have weeds in their lawn is because they don't want to use "horrible" toxic pesticides. They explained that their yard is still well maintained and mowed year-round, and they don't understand why they are getting fined for the weeds. 

"I refuse to spray on my lawn. Can the HOA force me to do so? And btw, what's the definition of 'weeds?'" asked the OP.

Pesticides can negatively impact human and animal health. In an NIH report on the health risks associated with pesticides, it is stated that "pesticide application can result in both acute and chronic human toxicities, and the adverse effects of pesticides on the environment and human health remain a serious problem." 

With this in mind, it is no wonder why many people would rather just have weeds in their lawns. However, as pointed out by a commenter on the original post, pesticides are not the only way to get rid of unwanted weeds. The user offered ideas like pulling the weeds up by hand, or with a trowel, or spraying horticultural vinegar on them.

There are many stories of HOAs restricting homeowners from taking steps toward a more sustainable and biodiverse area of land. And unfortunately, HOAs can be hard to navigate. Some steps you can take to work toward a compromise with your HOA, which are outlined here, include familiarizing yourself with the HOA's covenants, conditions, restrictions, and bylaws

Additionally, a good tactic is taking the time to research who is part of the HOA board — and creating a meaningful proposal to explain exactly why certain things like pesticides and grass lawns are detrimental to the environment. 

🗣️ If you have a lawn, what aspect of it do you value most?

🔘 The way it looks 🤩

🔘 The way my family uses it 👪

🔘 It's enjoyable to mow 😎

🔘 It's cheap to maintain 💰

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

"No, the HOA can't force you to use herbicide. Yes, they can force you to get rid of weeds, if you can come up with another way, they won't care," commented one user.

"Besides pulling up weeds and spraying them with vinegar, you can use natural fertilizers to encourage the grass to grow. The healthier the grass, the less it will be crowded out by weeds and the greener it will be in winter," recommended another user.

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