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Texas homeowners perplexed as to whether new law applies to their HOAs: ‘They wrote the law with zero foresight’

“Your property is not a farm …“

“Your property is not a farm ...“

Photo Credit: iStock

In the wake of new legislation in Texas, some homeowners have been left unsure whether protections apply to them — or whether their HOAs take precedence.

HJR 126 is an amendment to the Texas state constitution that passed in November 2023, “protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.” According to a Reddit post, the text of the amendment says it would apply to “real property that the person owns or leases.”

“Can my HOA stop me from turning my front lawn into a vegetable garden?” they asked. “I don’t see anything about grandfathering or previous HOA agreements still being enforceable after this change.”

Homeowners associations are notorious for blocking money-saving and eco-friendly changes to properties in their neighborhoods — including solar panels, compost bins, and even clotheslines. Vegetable gardens are a frequent target, even in places where owners are allowed to plant flowers or otherwise choose their own landscaping.

There are routes for homeowners to change the bylaws of an overbearing HOA, but they take time and effort. With the right protections from the state, however, you don’t have to go it alone. For example, Colorado recently passed legislation protecting the right to garden no matter what your HOA says.

But commenters couldn’t agree whether that was what had happened in Texas.

“Your property is not a farm, it is a home in a subdivision with an existing HOA,” one user said. “You are bound by those rules, which are a part of your deed restrictions.”

“It’s a farm if you start farming on it,” another commenter objected. “The text of the proposition says ‘real property you own or lease’ and doesn’t have anything afterwards that would say ‘unless the HOA disagrees’ or ‘unless you aren’t an industrial farm.’”

“I’m getting both yes and no responses, which makes sense as I believe the amendment is purposely vague,” the original poster said in an edit.

“They wrote the law with zero foresight, and it’s going to cause conflicting and contradicting circumstances all over the place,” another user concluded. “I can’t believe this thing passed.”

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