6 Things to Consider for HOA-approved Sheds and Storage Structures

If you live in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA), you are likely bound by the written guidelines they establish, often referred to as the neighborhood’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. These guidelines cover such things as the number of guests you can invite to the community pool, where cars can park, and the size of any storage shed you can have on your property—if you’re even allowed to have a shed at all.

If you live in an HOA community, here are some helpful questions you should ask the association before you buy:

1. Can I build or install a detached structure on my property and, if so, are there any size limits?

Most HOAs restrict the dimensions of your shed, and they may even have further restrictions based on the size of your lot and/or residence, set-back requirements, and property lines.

2. What colors can I paint my shed?

Many HOAs restrict the colors that can be used on your home and the same restrictions will apply to your backyard storage shed. Often, an HOA requires that your shed be the same color as your house, which may also include the color and style of your shingles and metal roofs.

3. What construction materials are allowed?

In general, an HOA-approved shed is expected to blend in to the surroundings. Many HOAs insist that you use the same siding, paint colors, and roof materials for your storage shed as you used on your house. If you have trouble making an exact match, the HOA may find a close match acceptable. In cases where your HOA has strict guidelines on construction materials, you may need to have your shed custom-built to satisfy the regulations. Before you place your order, be sure to ask the builder whether they can get the required materials and how much it will cost. Many retailers or manufacturers will work with your HOA to meet the specifications because, in the end, they want to sell more HOA-approved sheds in your community.

4. Do I need to check with a separate architectural committee as well?

Some HOAs are large enough that they split into multiple committees to handle the duties of the community. These committees can cover specific issues such as covenant enforcement, maintenance, events, and architectural control. Before approaching the HOA, you should find out which committee you need to petition and who you need to talk to. If you start off working with the right person, it can save a lot of time down the road.

5. How close can the shed be to my property line?

In addition to checking with your HOA, you should also check with your city’s or county’s zoning regulations. Most cities have restrictions on how close a structure can be to your property lines, so take the time to research the restrictions and plan ahead. Also, your HOA may have regulations about how close your shed can be to the main house, your driveway, or other permitted structures on your property.

6. What about other city, county, or state laws?

Rural areas are generally much less restrictive on storage shed requirements than municipalities, which may have strict requirements for shed construction/installation. For example, if you live on the coast, you may need to follow additional requirements about tying your shed down in the event of high winds. You may also need to submit engineering plans and obtain the proper permits, so be sure to ask your builder whether they provide engineered drawings of the shed, and who obtains the permits—them or you. Regardless, you should be aware of the regulations in your area and how they are enforced. More information can be found in the “Do I Need a Permit for a Shed?” article.

It can be a straightforward and easy process getting approval for your shed from the HOA. Ask the right questions up front and work with your retailer to figure out any restrictions in advance and incorporate them into your purchase decisions

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