5 Things to Consider for HOA Approved Sheds and Storage Structures
When you bought your home 10 years ago, you thought the garage and basement plenty large enough for storage. But add a couple kids with bicycles and sporting equipment, lawn tools, and that second freezer, and you find yourself busting at the seams. What you need is an outdoor storage shed.
1. What size building can I erect in my backyard?
In many communities, the Homeowners Association has written guidelines generally referred to at the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. These guidelines cover everything from whether you may rent your property, to the number of guests allowed at the pool, to the size of your outdoor storage shed—if you’re allowed one at all.
So, before committing to anything, ask for the HOA shed height requirements, dimension requirements, and whether or not you must submit written plans for approval. Chances are, if the lots in your subdivision are quite small, you will not be allowed to build a 24×30 garage to use as a workshop.
Many HOAs don’t want to mess up the landscape, so cutting trees to fit a shed could be a no-no. If you cannot wriggle your building in between, or have to cut tree branches to accommodate its height, better check ahead of time what they will allow.
2. How close can my building be to the property line?
To answer this question, check your HOA Regulations and the zoning regulations with both your city and county. When there are differences, all tolerances must be adhered to.
Also, your HOA Regulations may have stipulations as to how close a building can be in relationship to the house or driveway.
3. Do I have to use any particular materials for my building project?
Generally, HOA approved sheds and storage structures blend into their surroundings. This is accomplished by using siding, paint colors, and roof materials to match the home. If your Homeowners Association has guidelines for materials, you may need to have your shed custom built. Ask the builder if he can get the required materials and what the added cost, if any, would be before placing an order.
4. Does the Homeowners Association have a separate Architectural Committee I need to answer to?
Depending on the size of your Homeowners Association, it may have several committees—covenant enforcement, maintenance, events, and architectural control, to name a few. Before approaching your HOA, find out the right committee for your petition and the correct person to address. Working with the right person from the get-go will prevent possible delays in the long run.
5. Are there additional laws set by the city, county, or state I need to follow?
Yes. Any building project you undertake should be passed by your local government. Permits may be required, as well. If you are building your outdoor shed yourself, start with your local zoning department. If you are purchasing a shed from a builder, ask if they obtain the necessary permits on your behalf. Generally, in Virginia, permits are not required for buildings under 256 square feet. (Read “Do I Need a Permit for a Shed?” for more information.) Either way, it pays to be aware of all regulations yourself, to assure they are followed.
Whether you want an outdoor storage shed, bicycle storage shed, or just a place to hide from the world, HOA friendly sheds do not have to be a nightmare. Just ask the right questions of the right people and your building project should be smooth sailing.