Appearance rules protect values

There are many benefits to living in gated estates: Owners can enjoy living freely among their neighbours, additional security comes standard and lower monthly outlays are usually the norm.
However, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, there are also certain restrictions that come with living in an estate. “For instance, personal preference and choice with regard to the exterior appearance of a home may be limited by architectural and design guidelines that have been put in place to ensure uniformity.
“And while such rules differ from estate to estate, residents need to understand that their purpose is the same – to protect the value of all the homes in the development by creating a harmonious, homogenous environment.”
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he also says that the Home Owners’ Association (HOA) tasked with ensuring the smooth running of the estate for the benefit of all owners must thus be prepared to stand its ground when enforcing the appearance rules, even if it is regarded by some residents as simply “spoiling the fun”.
“In fact, HOA’s should set down clear appearance guidelines from the outset as this will help eliminate any confusion or dispute later on. Included in the guidelines should be exclusions against “add-ons” such as carports, tool sheds, jungle gyms and gazebos which can be seen from the street.
“Additionally, the HOA may want to incorporate uniform standards into the guidelines for such items as exterior light fittings, security gates and bars and even house numbers and letter boxes.”
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