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Author Topic: Deed restrictions, but no HOA  (Read 12563 times)

Posts: 105

« on: June 24, 2008, 05:31:48 PM »

I’d like some feedback on my situation.

We are going to rent a house for a few years while we save money to buy.

We found the perfect place. The management company (the landlord) is ok with amateur radio antennas. However, it is in a new subdivision and the developer has used the generic standard deed restrictions, which do not allow outside antennas.

In my favor, there is not active HOA at the present time. In addition, I can see from investigating the neighborhood that it appears that any deed restrictions are not being enforced.

Regardless, I am planning to stay low profile. I plan to put up an R7 vertical and probably a couple of other antennas in the back yard out of sight from the street.

The realtor, who found the property for me, is familiar with the area and amateur radio. She says don’t worry about it and “put ‘em up!”

So, Should I put them up ask for forgiveness if anyone screams or do I approach the developer and get permission in writing??

I am concerned that if the developer says “no” that ends it there and seals it in stone. On the other hand I could put them up and it will never be an issue.

Posts: 21764

« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 06:24:06 PM »

Usually, the developer has no authority to grant buyers/owner/tenants permission to do anything that is deed restricted; in other words, he cannot overrule the restrictions already filed, even if he wanted to.

I'd request a copy of the CC&Rs (if you don't already have this) as well as a copy of the HOA By-Laws, even if there's no active HOA.  It's possible there's already a loophole, or maybe not -- but information is power.

If there ever was an HOA, try contacting them.  If they've disbanded, the only enforcement body usually is the homeowners themselves.

If you can keep your antennas low profile and don't bother anyone (RFI), good chance you'll never have a problem but there are no guarantees.

I'd always prefer to buy or lease where there are no recorded covenants to begin with.  Makes life easier not only from a ham radio perspective but in other ways as well.  Covenants rarely cover only antennas, they almost always sweep with a very broad broom and restrict lots of stuff I might want to do.


Posts: 1036

« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008, 08:05:17 AM »

Steve is correct...there are no guarantees when CC&R's are involved. With no active HOA, usually the subdivision management company (could be the developer)is the *enforcer* of the HOA (active or inactive) rules and regulations, which in turn are governed by the CC&R's. Usually the developer IS the HOA during project construction, and upon completion of the subdivision, he hands it over to an elected board. However, if the CC&R wording states that "antennas are not permitted UNLESS approved by the Design/Architectural Review Committee", rather that just a blanket "no exception" prohibition, you might be able to petition the SUBDIVISION management company/developer (acting as the HOA) for permission, IN WRITING.

You mentioned that the management company is the landlord. If this company just represents the realtor involved, they and the realtor have no authority to grant you permission...they're just looking to receive the commission. If no one takes responsibility for enforcement or permission, then a disgruntled homeowner can challenge your antennas, and take legal means to enforce the CC&R's, which totally govern the allowable use of the parcel.

In any event, do your homework, examine all angles, and get any permissions IN WRITING from the final authority. Otherwise, the "better to ask forgiveness rather that permission" rule might work,especially if the antennas are not too visible, and you don't cause any RFI. Been there, done that in both situations. Good luck!

Bob,  K7JQ


Posts: 31

« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008, 09:05:02 AM »

Even if there is no HOA, the deed restrictions place a limit on the use of the land.  Any of the other property owners in the subdivision can enforce any of the deed restrictions.  If a letter from an upset property owner is not successful in resolving the restriction violation,  the restrictions can be enforced by a lawsuit for a court order requiring the violating owner to comply.  Check the deed restrictions carefully; they often provide that the violator has to pay the enforcer's lawyer's fees if successful in enforcing the restriction.

I am a lawyer, and represented one owner of a three-property subdivision who built a shed in front of the rear line of his house, as required by the deed restriction.  Although I tried to prove the shed was really a garage, permitted, we lost, and he had to move the shed or go to jail for contempt.

Steve, k3rmx

Posts: 787

« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2008, 10:22:21 AM »

While the steps below don't always guarantee success, I've followed them whenever we've moved to an antenna-restricted neighborhood.

1. Meet and get to know your neighbors. Invite them over for a cookout or other social function. Become good buds with them.

2. THEN quietly install your antenna, early in the morning or around dusk. Do as much of the assembly work indoors as possible. I've always waited at least a month after moving in before installation.

3. Once the antenna is installed, test your setup very late at night or very early in the morning, making sure nothing in your own house is being interfered with. You may find you can only operate at lower power levels, or only on certain bands.

4. If/when a neighbor spots the antenna and asks about it, be forthright. Explain what it's for and the testing you've done. Be sure to talk about Amateur Radio's emergency communication aspect. Let them know you want to know of any interference problems they may encounter, and you'll help them solve it or stop operating if they have any. Don't bring up CC&Rs.

If you pass #3, the inverse square law is working in your favor with respect to interference. But there's always the possibility that a neighbor will insist on compliance with the CC&Rs, in which case you're only inviting legal expenses if you don't comply. Yeah you may win, but is it worth it? After all, you're just renting for a relatively short time.

Posts: 6252

« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2008, 04:55:46 PM »

"The realtor, who found the property for me, is familiar with the area and amateur radio. She says don’t worry about it and “put ‘em up!” "

The realtor is concerned she will 'lose the sale' if there is something mentioned that puts marks in the minus column--so I would indeed check.  Get the paperwork for the property, or if you can afford to, have a real estate attorney do it for you.  Although it will cost a bit, in the end it just may be justified.  

Yes, you can ask forgiveness later, but will a fine, the need to remove the antennas and having to sell and move again (if that is the house you're going to buy) be worth not spending the extra bucks now?  Your choice--you can pay now--or you can PAY later!  73!
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