Our 55+ communities are great places for seniors and the nearly retired. We work hard to design the best floorplans to meet your needs.
Just because we have stellar designs, it doesn’t mean that you can’t customize your home to your personal tastes.
While the possibilities are endless within your home, the exterior is usually a different story. That’s because the HOA helps maintain much of the exterior elements and designs. So, we run into a little problem sometimes when we receive requests for pergolas and awnings.
This has been the subject of much debate, and since we have to bring up this conversation each time we start a new community, lets dive into our policy concerning this exterior element.
Allowing Awnings in Leisure Villas’ Communities
At Leisure Villas, we try very hard to provide the best product possible to our homebuyers. This includes aesthetics, performance, and convenience. When we first started building age restricted communities, we didn’t have the back patios that are so popular among our buyers today.
We did however have more front patios, and occasionally, people would request to put patio covers over those areas. By the time we were installing back patios, we ran into an issue regarding the covers that go over them.
In one of our communities, and on a particularly severe winter, the ice dammed up and tore some of them away from the exterior elements of the home. This caused a large repair nightmare. The installer didn’t want to cover the damages, and neither did the HOA or homeowners.
When this happened, we had to take a careful look at our policy surrounding these patio covers.
Traditionally, the HOA had the homeowner sign a waiver, stating that the cover was their responsibility, and as long as the thing matched some design criteria, we had no problem allowing it.
As with all things, if we suspect a problem, we do our best to ensure that we don’t keep making similar mistakes.
The main issue regarding patio covers, is that by nature, they often turn a steep pitched roof into a much flatter roof.
Most of the time, this causes no issues. Sometimes, we get a heavy winter and this change in pitch creates a very obvious place for ice to build up.
As you may have learned back in elementary science fairs, or by watching McGuyver, ice expands when it freezes. As it expands, it can put a lot of pressure between the awning and your house. One thing leads to another, and soon you have damage not only to an awning that has pulled away from your house, but to the exterior of the house itself.
At this point, the homeowner is on the hook for the damages, however, the HOA might also be involved, because the repairs will need to match the previous design standards. One way or another, the repairs will happen, and all will be well again, but we would be blind if we said this had never happened, and we didn’t acknowledge the possibility of it happening again.
There are awning companies out there now that will commit to warrantying from such damages. Maybe they propose better designs, flashings, or other methods of construction that will prevent this from happening on their install.
For the first few years, while we are selling a community, we are in charge of the HOA. Since we feel a responsibility to the future HOA and its residents, we have decided to only allow pergolas and patio covers to be installed if the new addition meets the following design criteria:
- The first, and obvious criteria, is color and size.
- The second, and most relevant to this discussion, is that the cover be free standing. In other words, it cannot be attached to the home itself.
Installers don’t usually like to make them free standing. It increases the number of posts in your patio, along with the price of their covers, because they now have to core out pieces of your patio and pour a deeper foundation for the posts.
This rule is only in effect as long as the HOA deems it prudent. Since not everyone agrees with our overabundance of caution, many times, after we leave a community and the homeowners have taken over the HOA, they will reverse this rule. That is totally fine. They are welcome to change that rule. At that time, the awning companies seem to be very busy installing in those neighborhoods.
To be clear, this rule is based on opinions by Leisure Villas only.
Patio cover installers have made the argument to us that their current designs are fully weatherproof. This may be the case. We don’t deny their claims. However, as long as we have any say in the matter, we feel it is best practice to make them free standing.