Appearance, Maintenance, and Fence Restrictions
Appearance and Maintenance
Probably the single most controlling covenant found in those adopted by homeowners' associations is that which addresses the appearance and maintenance of private properties. It is important to note that, even in the absence of CC&Rs, many of these same issues are regulated by local zoning or blight ordinances. However, because covenants are voluntary in nature (a purchaser agrees to abide by the covenants as a condition of purchasing the property), they can impose more strict obligations upon homeowners than those required under zoning ordinances.
Fence heights are generally controlled by local ordinance but may also be a subject covered in neighborhood covenants. Commonly, they restrict fence heights to six feet in back yards, and three to four feet in front yards.
Natural fences are more burdensome. Bushes or trees used as natural borders or fences (or deemed to constitute same) become overgrown and tend to encroach on neighbors' properties. In addition to the encroachment (which may constitute a trespass), overgrown natural fences also tend to obstruct views, thereby possibly violating another covenant.