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Legislative Year: 2023 Change

Bill Detail: SB23-178

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Title Water-wise Landscaping In Homeowners' Association Communities
Status Governor Signed (05/17/2023)
Bill Subjects
  • Housing
  • Water
House Sponsors K. McCormick (D)
M. Lindsay (D)
Senate Sponsors S. Jaquez Lewis (D)
P. Will (R)
House Committee Transportation, Housing and Local Government
Senate Committee Local Government and Housing
Date Introduced 03/03/2023

Under current law, a unit owners' association (association) of a
common interest community may not prohibit the use of xeriscape,
nonvegetative turf grass, or drought-tolerant vegetative landscapes to
provide ground covering to property for which a unit owner is
responsible. There is, however, an exception authorizing an association
to adopt and enforce design or aesthetic guidelines or rules that apply to
nonvegetative turf grass and drought-tolerant vegetative landscapes or to
regulate the type, number, and placement of drought-tolerant plantings
and hardscapes that may be installed on a unit owner's property, on a
limited common element, or on other property for which the unit owner
is responsible.
The bill states that an association's guidelines or rules must:
  • Not prohibit the use of nonvegetative turf grass in the
backyard of a unit owner's property;
  • Not unreasonably require the use of hardscape on more
than 20% of the landscaping area of a unit owner's
  • Allow a unit owner an option that consists of at least 80%
drought-tolerant plantings; and
  • Not prohibit vegetable gardens in the front, back, or side
yard of a unit owner's property.
The bill also requires an association to permit the installation of at
least 3 garden designs that are preapproved by the association for
installation in front yards within the common interest community. To be
preapproved, a garden design must adhere to the principles of water-wise
landscaping and emphasize drought-tolerant and native plants.
The bill allows a unit owner who is affected by an association's
violation of the new requirements to bring a civil action to restrain further
violation and to recover damages in an amount equal to actual damages
plus $500, plus any other damages, costs, and reasonable attorney fees.

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