For homeowners that live in a community with any type of shared yard space, you will have to abide by some shared backyard rules. You may be dreaming of warm weather and hosting get-togethers, grilling out, or tending your garden. These are all possible in one form or another, but embrace any limitations or rules because they help those living in close proximity to one another keep things nice and orderly for the sake of the community.

Do condos have backyards?

If you live in a townhome, you may have your own backyard, or share yard space. Some condos, especially those detached, have backyards. In fact, it might not be shared, but will be in very close proximity to neighbors, so the same rules apply. But if you are shopping for a condo, know that they often do not have a yard. See our other article where we answer the question, “What is the difference between a condo and townhouse?”.

Common HOA shared backyard rules

Here are nine common HOA backyard rules and how to abide by them.

1. Personal belongings

Refrain from leaving personal items in the yard overnight, such as grills, chairs, tables, and toys. If you have a condo or townhouse deck, you likely may keep items on your deck, but will need to store larger items under your deck. Occasionally your HOA may do walk throughs and check if you are abiding by the rules.

2. Ball playing near or against homes

Some HOAs may have a rule against playing with any kinds of balls around the building because of potential damage. Hard material balls such as baseballs, basketballs, etc. can break windows, damage siding, or destroy lighting. Children would have to refrain from playing near their homes and, instead, play at the local playground or communal basketball court if available.

3. Signage

A common rule associations have in place bans any type of signage, such as for sale signs or other private signs. While most people don’t hang signs, or may only put up one, there are always those few neighbors that hang up an excessive amount of signs. To prevent owners from crowding a shared yard with unnecessary signage, some associations will ban signs across the board.

4. Noise and safety

To avoid any structural or bodily damage, your HOA may ban fireworks no matter what your state law determines is legal. Fireworks have a huge potential to cause destruction, regardless how fun and enjoyable they may be for your friends and family. Additionally, your HOA backyard rules likely prohibit annoying odors, sounds, and lights. This may include compost, other loud noises, and bright or colored lighting.

5. Holiday decorations

HOA backyard rules typically regulate how long you can keep up holiday decorations. For example, if you decide to decorate for Halloween your HOA may only allow decorations beginning on October 1st and request they be taken down 2 weeks following the holiday. Restrictions on roof hangings, yard decorations, and noise/smoke machines may be banned depending on your HOA.

6. Outside laundry

For all those who enjoy an eco-friendly way of drying clothes on the clothesline, you may want to think again and consult your HOA about their specific rules. Although, for the most part, HOAs disallow any hanging clothes, sheets, or blankets outside. Some people could find hanging undergarments unsightly.

7. Outside pets

While some people have outdoor pets, your HOA pet rules may not allow your cat to freely roam the neighborhood. For your safety and your pet’s safety, keep your furry pals inside. HOA pet rules will also prohibit breeding any animals outside in shared backyards. Pet rules can be frustrating to some pet owners, so if you want to understand where your association board is coming from, check out this article on HOA pet rules.

8. Installations

Installations such as basketball hoops and condo and townhouse fences may be banned in your HOA. Large items like basketball hoops, pools, and trampolines should not be installed in a shared space. If you let one person have a pool, then soon everyone else will want one. As for condominium fences, your HOA may install and maintain their own fences, but you may not install your own. Townhouse fence rules are unlikely to be different. Your best bet is to bring your desire for a fence to the board, and see if a group decision is possible.

9. Landscaping

Townhome and condominium HOAs typically provide landscaping for your community’s shared space. When you want to landscape your own area, you’ll have to abide by the HOA landscaping rules. For example, they may require written consent from the board in order to make alterations. So before you decide to plant a rose bush, check your HOA landscaping rules to see what changes they allow.


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