The Woodlands Deed Restrictions

The Woodlands Township, Covenant Administration Department, provides the office support for The Woodlands' Residential Design Review Committees. These are committees of community-elected representatives that serve as architectural control groups to protect the aesthetic character of the residential areas in The Woodlands.

Property owners planning to make any alterations to their properties are required to make applications to their village's committee. The applications are then acted upon by the committee to ensure compliance with the covenant restrictions and design standards.

Each village of The Woodlands elects a committee of representatives in February of each year. Committee members serve a one-year term, and have two regularly scheduled meetings monthly.

For further information, contact Community Associations of The Woodlands, Texas, Covenant Administration Department, at 281.210.3973. Community Associations of The Woodlands, Texas office is located at 2201 Lake Woodlands Drive.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Liability leans on health of storm-blown oak
By RONALD LIPMAN
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Q: Hurricane Rita caused my neighbor's giant oak tree to fall into my backyard. It knocked down a large section of my fence and smashed our swing set. Can I make my neighbor pay for the repairs to the fence and the replacement cost of the swing set?

A: If the oak tree had been healthy before the approach of Hurricane Rita, and instead it was the high winds associated with the storm that caused it to fall over and damage your property, then you cannot hold your neighbor liable. However, if your neighbor's tree was decayed, diseased, dead or in an otherwise dangerous condition before Rita, then you can hold him liable for the damages. In that case, the tree would have posed an unreasonable risk of harm, and he would have had a duty to trim the branches or remove the tree altogether before the storm to prevent it from falling over. Regardless, either your or your neighbor's homeowners insurance policy should cover the damages, less any deductible.

2. Fence Repairs
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, MON 10/10/2005, Business Section,
By RONALD LIPMAN

Q: A few days ago during Hurricane Rita, the fence that separates my backyard from my neighbor's yard was completely blown over and destroyed. It needs to be hauled away and replaced. I suspect it will cost several thousand dollars to put up a new fence in its place. I spoke to my neighbor and offered to pay half, but he says he doesn't have any money to pay for it. Whose responsibility is it to buy a new fence?

A: Texas has no laws that require adjoining landowners to share the costs associated with maintaining and replacing fences. However, your neighborhood may have deed restrictions or other rules and ordinances that apply to the repair and replacement of fences. You may want to do a little research before you proceed. If you find there are no restrictions or other rules in your neighborhood, and if you were to pay for the removal and replacement costs yourself, you may have a claim against your neighbor for reimbursement because both of you benefit from the fence. However, most people aren't interested in suing their neighbors, especially given the low odds of winning this kind of lawsuit. You should try talking to your neighbor again, and if the two of you still can't come to an agreement, then you may have no option but to pay for the repairs yourself.

Q: Hurricane Rita blew down my backyard fence. My neighbor has informed me he's going to hire a company to fix the fence and then send me a bill for half the cost. I don't care if there's a fence between the properties, and I don't want to pay for any portion of it. Am I obligated to pay?

A: Probably not. As mentioned in the previous answer, Texas doesn't have fence laws requiring you to pay for any portion of the repair cost. However, because you may benefit from his repairs to the fence, you may find yourself in court defending against a claim for reimbursement by your neighbor. It is not clear if he would prevail. Importantly, you may live in a community with a deed restriction or in a city with an ordinance that requires you to share in the cost of the repairs. So before you refuse to pay his bill, you may want to make sure you're not obligated to pay half.

Additional:
1. WCA/TWA has no rules that require adjoining landowners to share the costs associated with maintaining and replacing fences. They recommend adjoining landowners share the expense.

2. WCA/TWA does have deed restrictions that apply to the construction of fences. Repair and replacement is not an issue if replacing same as original (assuming original met requirements).

3. Fence Ownership: Generally (but not always) the 'clean' side of the fence faces outward from the owners property. The best way of course, is to refer to your property survey, which will indicate the location of the fence with respect to your property line.

3. Dogs
Montgomery County has passed an ordinance that requires animals to be vaccinated and leashed, etc. The ordinance is enforced through the Montgomery County Health Department Animal Control Division. Their phone number is 281.353.9791, ext. 7738.
If a dog or cat is running loose or becoming a nuisance in the neighborhood they will provide you with specific information regarding their services. The Woodlands deed restrictions address certain aspects of pet ownership, as well.
Common sense and courtesy dictate that the residents of The Woodlands make an effort to clean up the deposits that their pets leave behind, especially on the pathways. Try to bring a bag when walking your dog to clean up after your pet.

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