requirements about maintaining private property
From: Muriel Kranowski (
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 14:37:01 -0700 (PDT)
Ten years after move-in, the issue has arisen as to whether we should have anything like a policy, or a norm, or an expectation that homeowners will maintain the outsides of their houses (mostly duplexes) and front yards to some minimal level.

The precipitating complaint concerns a household that has various plantings in the front yard but is doing NOTHING to maintain it. That yard is full of weeds which have spread to the two yards on either side. One neighboring homeowner is resigned to this and shies from interpersonal conflict; the other is furious and wants Something To Be Done about it.

You can assume that the upset neighbor has a valid concern (several of us think so) and that the standard conflict resolution approaches have been attempted and failed to move the weedy household to remedy the situation (this has happened).

We don't know how to approach this issue. We understand that as an HOA we could come up with some rules, but (1) most people who have discussed this don't like the idea of having rules about this kind of thing, and (2) it would be hard to agree on minimum standards. And what about people who express good intentions but are not able, physically and financially, to maintain their half of a duplex's siding, porch, and roof and their yards? A standard HOA could sue them for not living up to the HOA's requirements; it's hard to imagine that we would ever do that.

How do other communities deal with this, when homeowners own and are responsible for the outside parts of their property? We're not trying to monitor the insides of people's houses, just the outsides, which impinge closely on their neighbors and affect the look and the attractiveness of the community. We care about this both because aesthetics are important to many of us and to strengthen the appeal of houses that are for sale.

Help! Thanks in advance!
   Muriel in Virginia

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