It’s the responsibility of the HOA board to protect, maintain and enhance the Association. This comes in all shapes and sizes – from compliance with the Davis-Stirling Act to the type of grass members can have in their yard. In the current drought that California is experiencing, the latter may come into play more often as the homeowners association finds new ways to conserve water.
Artificial turf is an easy way to conserve water. On July 21, 2014, the California legislature amended Civil Code section 4735 to prohibit homeowners associations from penalizing members who conserve water by watering their lawns less often.
There are items to consider if your Association is looking into artificial turf use – either for areas the Association is responsible for or for members to use in their yards – and how to implement the process. For example, an Association has allowed a homeowner to use artificial turf in their backyard, but prohibits use in the front yard until more research on artificial turf can be completed.
Over the years, artificial turf has gone from looking like green Velcro to a more realistic look. Consider the following steps before moving forward:
- Read your CC&Rs
- Review your Landscape/Architectural Application
- Consider Indemnity Agreements
- Check with Local Government
- Check for Local Rebates
- Consider Cost
Start by considering requirements of the application process, will you allow DIY projects or require the use of licensed contractors, will there be different requirements for areas that are visible to the public versus those hidden from view, and lastly will homeowner yards have different requirements than sport/athlete fields.
Preparation for Installation
Once the artificial turf spectrum has been researched and your preliminary considerations have been made review/update your Architectural/Design Review Guidelines on how your homeowners association wants the artificial turf area to be prepared for installation.
Your Architectural/Design Review Guidelines should also speak to installation specifications, such as blade material, blade height, backing material, infill material, ground preparation, drainage, surfaces and contractor. Your Association may want to specify that a licensed contractor must be used.
As you can see, there are many aspects about artificial turf to think about as a homeowners association. It is imperative that Associations think the artificial turf issue through carefully before moving forward, and always keep the best interests of the members in mind.