Architectural Review-How do I get approval for my fence?

We’re coming to the time of year when tax refunds are being used for home upgrades.  We touched on the architectural review process earlier but let’s review since there’s usually a large influx of improvements at this time of year.

Every homeowners or community association typically has a volunteer architectural review board in place to handle requests for improvements to your home or lot. Sometimes, for smaller communities, this is handled by the Board of Directors.  For larger communities, it is a committee hopefully with at least one person with a background in construction and/or design.  For developer controlled communities, it can be the developer or someone he/she appoints.

Before you begin the process of making any exterior improvements to the exterior of your home, find your boundary survey.  Your boundary survey was, most likely, given to you at closing and is among your closing documents.  All property add-ons, fences, pools, screen enclosures and building additions must be shown on the boundary survey when submitted for architectural review.  Below is a sample of a boundary survey.

boundary survey

As we usually say here, check your Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for specifics on what you can and can’t do with regards to property improvements.  Today we’re going to address fences-their styles and how to request approval.  We’ll also give you some insight into things your architectural review board has to consider when granting approval.

There are several different styles of fences available today.  What you choose is up to you and what is allowable in your documents.  Some communities state wood or vinyl, others say vinyl only and still other will say aluminum.  Generally speaking, nearly all communities restrict chain link fencing (check you documents).  Here are the most prevalent of fence styles.

Wood stockade fence

Wood stockade fence

Wood shadowbox fence
Wood shadowbox fence

Board on board
Board on board

While vinyl fencing

While vinyl fencing

Aluminum fence

Aluminum fence

 

 

These are just examples of fence styles.  You and your fence contractor can come up with ways to dress up or improve the appearance of your wood fence.  With vinyl and aluminum fencing, you have your choice of a myriad of styles, sizes and accessories.  

Your next step is to fill out your architectural review information, for communities managed by Property Management Systems, Inc., you can get your architectural review forms and questions HERE. Submit that information with a copy of your boundary survey with the fence location clearly marked on it.  CAUTION: For property that is on a retention pond, there are separate requirements for the style and height of fence along the lake bank.  Some communities have specific requirements so consult your documents and if you have further questions, contact your Board of Directors or association manager.  CAUTION 2: Around a retention pond, there are easements for access to the retention pond. If you are on an easement it will be your responsibility to allow access to the pond for maintenance through the easement.  You may choose not to install a fence through the easement however you and your neighbor are still responsible for the maintenance of the area not fenced. 

Other considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a fence and having it installed:

  • Do not bring the fence all the way to the front corner of your home.  Most architectural review committees will not allow it.
  • Wood fences usually have a 8-10 year life span in Florida before needing replacement. Vinyl and aluminum usually have lifetime warranties.  Things to consider when making your fence purchase.
  • Some communities forbid stockade fencing but allow shadowbox and board board styles-always check your documents.
  • If you are on the retention pond, look at other fences, do the fences continue to the lake edge or does it stop at the top of the bank. Bear in mind, water levels rise and fall depending on rain conditions.

These are just a few tips when submitting a fence for review to the architectural review board.  For the specifics for your community, contact your association manager or your Board of Directors.

For information on professional association management for your community, contact Property Management Systems, Inc.

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