Ask the HOA Expert: Improving Neighbor Relations

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 24 January 2018 12:00

Question: We are planning to rebuild a wood boundary fence. When the original fence was built, we had no neighbors but now we do. We received a complaint from our neighbor that our fence was "illegal" because the "bad side" of the fence was facing them. Can our defense in this matter be that we are restoring the original fence design and are grandfathered?

Answer: You have a golden opportunity to improve neighbor relations by building a "good neighbor" style fence which looks the same from either side. It costs a bit more than a board fence but maybe the neighbor would be willing to share in the extra expense or even pay 50/50. Even if they don't, the small increased cost is a great way to improve relations. Win-win. You can find specifications for a Good Neighbor Fence at in the Specifications section.

Question: We have a unit owner who installed a large wind chime on his balcony. We have received a number of complaints about the noise. How can we approach him about this?

Answer: Complaining about a wind chime sound seems pretty extreme but if your location is given to high winds, the sound could get loud and obnoxious. If this is the case, wind chimes, just like loud music are subject to the "nuisance" restriction which exist in virtually every HOA. This owner needs to remove the wind chime or install one that is small and less noisy.

Question: We recently changed the date of our annual meeting to three months later than in the past. Two director terms expire this month. Is there some protocol to follow to keep them on until the annual meeting?

Answer: Directors terms are tied to the annual meeting which conforms to their term (one, two or three years). Changing of meeting date doesn't change their term of office. This time around, it will simply be three months longer.

Question: Do you have an opinion about front yard vegetable gardens? Our governing documents only restrict "noxious use of property" and "unsightly growths".

Answer: The board has the authority to enact reasonable standards to preserve property values. Generally speaking, HOAs should have standards when it comes to landscaping which restricts vegetable gardens to backyards or out of view from the street to promote curb appeal.

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