Liquid News

Your HOA and Your Landscape: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

If you live in a community governed by a homeowners’ association and are thinking about replacing your water-thirsty lawn with drought-friendly landscape, it’s important to know the rules that your HOA has in place. Take advantage of the IRWD turf removal rebate of $2 per square foot, but apply soon, as funds are limited. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about HOAs and landscaping: Q-Can my HOA fine me for not watering my landscape or letting my grass go brown? A-HOAs are prohibited by state law from fining residents who allow their vegetation or lawns to turn brown during a declared drought emergency pursuant to section 4735 of the Civil Code. Q-My HOA says they will fine me for using artificial turf and/or drought-friendly plants. Can they do that? A-No. Under Section 4735 of the California Civil Code, provisions of an HOA’s government documents (CC&Rs, etc) which prohibit the use of artificial turf or low water-using plants as a group are void and unenforceable. An HOA may still apply landscaping rules, such as design and quality restrictions about the type of artificial turf or low water-using plants a homeowner can use as long as the restrictions do not effectively make it impossible for a homeowner to install artificial turf or low water-using plants. Q-Can my HOA charge me a fee to review design plans for a drought-friendly garden? A-Yes. Many HOAs require a fee to review new landscape designs and plans. To determine if your HOA has the authority to charge you a fee to review design plans, please reference your HOA’s governing documents (CC&Rs, etc). Q-Is IRWD working with HOAs to help them understand the need to conserve water during a drought? A-Yes, IRWD actively works with and educates HOAs on the importance of reducing water use, especially when state-mandated water use reductions are in place. If you are on your HOA’s board, contact IRWD at rightscape@irwd.com to have staff provide a presentation at your next board meeting. Q-Where can I get design ideas for a drought-friendly garden? A-visit rightscapenow.com for drought-friendly landscape ideas and to sign up for free landscape design workshops.

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