Zoning and code violations can cost Texas residents money

| Jan 27, 2021 | Property Law

Once you purchase your own home, you probably think that you can do just about anything you want with your own property. However, people living in the Plano, Texas, area frequently learn the hard way that there are rules controlling what they do with their property.

If your house is in a homeowner’s association (HOA), you could be subject to rules and restrictions set by the community. Even if you aren’t in an HOA neighborhood, there are zoning ordinances and housing codes that directly impact your rights as a property owner. If you violate zoning laws or property codes, you can wind up facing fines or other legal penalties.

How do homeowners run afoul of zoning laws?

Zoning laws aim to limit the use of a property so that the character of a neighborhood is consistent from property to property. Residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural zoning help protect property values and local communities.

Many zoning violations involve big businesses, but individual homeowners can run afoul of zoning laws as well. If you run your own small business, operating out of your house may seem like the simplest and cheapest solution.

However, depending on the work you do, you may have broken zoning rules by doing so. It’s also worth noting that certain kinds of rental arrangements or subdividing properties into multi-unit rentals could also violate zoning ordinances.

Homeowners can also violate local codes

Local ordinances help protect the public from damages caused by negligent and irresponsible property owners. It may only take a few weeks for you to run afoul of one of these rules. One of the most common code violations in the Plano area is allowing grass or weeds to grow too tall. Local rules limit the length of grass and weeds to no more than 12 inches because of both fire risk and the potential to attract house pests like rodents.

Other common code violations include leaving trash out in the yard or putting it out more than five days before pick up. Homeowners who let trees and bushes grow out over roads and sidewalks may also violate rules, as do those who park vehicles on their lawn. Even those who are the victims of crime because someone graffitied their house or driveway will have to take immediate action or face citation because of the visual blight caused by that graffiti.

Anyone cited for zoning or code infractions has the option of defending themselves. Depending on the situation and the consequences you face, pushing back might be the best option.