After a seven-month conflict with her homeowner’s association (HOA), Carlsbad, California, resident Tracee Buck finally has the water-saving yard she wants. Buck decided to let her lawn die and replace it with more drought-tolerant landscaping because of the financial and environmental cost of watering it. She tells News10 her HOA fought her every step of the way, beginning with a $250 HOA fee that amounted to more than $10,000.
California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tells News10 that homeowners like Buck are protected under changes made to the Davis-Stirling act, the primary set of laws that govern common interest developments (CID’s) and HOA’s in California. On January 1, 2014 the Act was completely renumbered and reorganized, including the addition of AB-2104, which amends the civil code calling provisions that prohibit or restrict the use of low water-using plants void and unenforceable to also apply to: (1) provisions in architectural and landscaping guidelines and policies, and (2) provisions that prohibit or restrict the use of low water-using plants to replace existing turf.
“I would actually encourage homeowners to go ahead and do it [replace turf], the HOA has no legal standing to fine them or to hold them in contempt in any way,” Gonzalez tells News10.