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Subject: New HOA President with a Shed Dilema
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JoshuaB2
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:2


07/14/2021 10:17 AM  
I was recently elected as our HOA's President. We currently abide by what is confirmed to be a Deed Restricted CCR or Covenant. A large number of our residents are pushing hard for a shed, but with the Deed Restriction, we understand that 100% of homeowners need to approve the CCR change. We have a about 10 out of 77 homeowners who are angry about the potential for sheds as they paid to add on to garages to replace the need for a shed, some costing upwards of $30K.

Our CCR's state:

3. No structure whatsoever, nor any additions to any structure, shall be erected on any lot until the plans and specifications for the same have been submitted to the Owner and approved by the Owner. Only one building shall be erected on any lot (except Lots 1, 2, 43 and 44) and it shall not cost less than $90,000 based on relative currency values prevailing on July I, 1991. The building shall consist solely of a one-family residence with a garage attached to or connected with the principal building by a breezeway, except for Lots 1, 2, 43 and 44 on which one-half of a duplex shall be permitted costing not less than $70,000 per one-half of the duplex, based upon relative currency values prevailing on July 1, 1991. Construction of any house or other building shall be completed within six months after commencement of the construction and during said construction period, the provisions of paragraph nine below shall be reasonably complied with.

7. No mobile home, modular home, trailer, basement, tent, shack or any other structure of temporary character shall be placed on the lot or used as a residence.

To this point, this has been believed to prevent residents from installing a common free standing shed in their backyards. Additionally, attaching a shed to the house/garage is prohibited based on these same items.

The issue is, when looking at the Towneship Codes, we see:

BUILDING
A combination of materials to form a permanent structure having walls and a roof. Included shall be all mobile homes and trailers to be used for human habitation.

STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form anything constructed or erected on the ground or attached to the ground including, but not limited to, buildings, factories, sheds, cabins, mobile homes, carports, perches, driveways, swimming pools, and other similar items.

They split Building and Structure into 2 categories.

Now, we have approved Play Sets, in-ground pools and fences in the past without issue. My question is, why is a Shed different from a play set, pool or fence? I'd love to get your opinions on the verbiage and whether or not Sheds qualify as a building, shack or a structure.

Thanks!
JackJ9


Posts:0


07/14/2021 10:21 AM  
Posted By JoshuaB2 on 07/14/2021 10:17 AM
I was recently elected as our HOA's President. We currently abide by what is confirmed to be a Deed Restricted CCR or Covenant. A large number of our residents are pushing hard for a shed, but with the Deed Restriction, we understand that 100% of homeowners need to approve the CCR change. We have a about 10 out of 77 homeowners who are angry about the potential for sheds as they paid to add on to garages to replace the need for a shed, some costing upwards of $30K.

Our CCR's state:

3. No structure whatsoever, nor any additions to any structure, shall be erected on any lot until the plans and specifications for the same have been submitted to the Owner and approved by the Owner. Only one building shall be erected on any lot (except Lots 1, 2, 43 and 44) and it shall not cost less than $90,000 based on relative currency values prevailing on July I, 1991. The building shall consist solely of a one-family residence with a garage attached to or connected with the principal building by a breezeway, except for Lots 1, 2, 43 and 44 on which one-half of a duplex shall be permitted costing not less than $70,000 per one-half of the duplex, based upon relative currency values prevailing on July 1, 1991. Construction of any house or other building shall be completed within six months after commencement of the construction and during said construction period, the provisions of paragraph nine below shall be reasonably complied with.

7. No mobile home, modular home, trailer, basement, tent, shack or any other structure of temporary character shall be placed on the lot or used as a residence.

To this point, this has been believed to prevent residents from installing a common free standing shed in their backyards. Additionally, attaching a shed to the house/garage is prohibited based on these same items.

The issue is, when looking at the Towneship Codes, we see:

BUILDING
A combination of materials to form a permanent structure having walls and a roof. Included shall be all mobile homes and trailers to be used for human habitation.

STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form anything constructed or erected on the ground or attached to the ground including, but not limited to, buildings, factories, sheds, cabins, mobile homes, carports, perches, driveways, swimming pools, and other similar items.

They split Building and Structure into 2 categories.

Now, we have approved Play Sets, in-ground pools and fences in the past without issue. My question is, why is a Shed different from a play set, pool or fence? I'd love to get your opinions on the verbiage and whether or not Sheds qualify as a building, shack or a structure.

Thanks!




As a new HOA president, I would get consensus from your board to have an association attorney review your CC&Rs and city code, and make a recommendation. I personally find it difficult to split hairs reading city code & CCRs in this manner, and wouldn't want to get it wrong. It might cost a couple thousand in dollars to have the review done, but then the headache of whether you correctly interpreted everything is not on your shoulders.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:790


07/14/2021 10:22 AM  
"7. No mobile home, modular home, trailer, basement, tent, shack or any other structure of temporary character shall be placed on the lot or used as a residence."

I read this as no temporary structures allowed. If a shed is built on a foundation than it would not be temporary.
AugustinD


Posts:1847


07/14/2021 10:37 AM  
I think the CC&Rs are a bit ambiguous on the subject of sheds. Ambiguities are interpreted in favor of free enjoyment of land. I say develop shed criteria that seems consistent with CC&Rs, and approve or disapprove applications for sheds on the basis of these criteria.

When, per the covenants, a Board or ACC has discretion to approve or disprove, best practices (to survive court challenges) is to have a written set of guidelines for ___ (in this case, sheds).

The phrase "temporary character" is tough to nail down. A big enough shed would seem to me to not have a "temporary character." Those plastic sheds that can be moved by two guys and a van (or less), in an hour or so are temporary. But where to draw the line is far from clear.

To those who added on to their garages: Too bad. It's the price of HOA living, with amateurs on boards, being paid nothing for their time, and giving much time. If these folks are unhappy with the current board's decision on sheds, they can always run for the board at the next annual election.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2567


07/14/2021 11:27 AM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/14/2021 10:21 AM
... snip ...

As a new HOA president, I would get consensus from your board to have an association attorney review your CC&Rs and city code, and make a recommendation. I personally find it difficult to split hairs reading city code & CCRs in this manner, and wouldn't want to get it wrong. It might cost a couple thousand in dollars to have the review done, but then the headache of whether you correctly interpreted everything is not on your shoulders.



I second Jack's comment about a review of your CC&Rs since you referenced a date of July 1, 1991. State law governing community associations may have changed since your CC&Rs were written, and there may be provisions that are no longer valid. If you're considering amending your CC&Rs to allow sheds, you may as well address any other changes that should be made.

As far as the question of whether or not a shed is a building or not according to your CC&Rs, I would say it's not since your definition of Building says "suitable for human habitation". Construction codes have all sorts of requirements that must be met in order to make a building habitable and to be given a certificate of occupancy, and sheds don't meet these requirements (or at least not all of them). YOur area may also have zoning codes that forbid multiple habitable buildings on a single lot - but again zoning codes can change (and are changing as "tiny houses" become more popular).

I agree with Augustin that the folks who spent money to enlarge their garages are out of luck. In economics they refer to the "sunk cost fallacy" - the fact that you've spent money on something in the past should not drive current decisions since that money is gone. And a larger garage is probably more versatile.
JoshuaB2
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:2


07/16/2021 6:25 AM  
Thank you everyone!
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