Homeowner Gets HOA Violation Notice For Clover "Weeds" on Lawn


Jul. 19 2023, Published 1:34 p.m. ET

If you think about it, a "weed" is really just a plant that grows someplace that you don't want it to be. One homeowner is finding that out the hard way as she faces a tiff with her homeowner's association. According to a Reddit thread, this woman's HOA wants to fine her for having a clover lawn, categorizing the clover as a weed.

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There are a lot of benefits to having a clover lawn, but some residential communities aren't keen on letting it grow wild. And there are some downsides to having a clover-filled lawn, too.

Keep reading for the full story.

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Here's what one HOA says about clover on the homeowner's lawn.

In a Reddit community dedicated to all kinds of grievances against HOAs, one North Carolina poster said that her family bought a home from her in-laws, that had previously only been used as a vacation property. The house was built in the 1990s. The prior owners apparently didn't face any problems with the HOA over the clover lawn, at least not that the original poster mentioned.

According to the homeowner's Reddit post, her HOA warned her that she would be receiving a violation for too many weeds in her yard. The homeowner insists that the clover is simply a different type of lawn from that of her neighbors, but that she has a regular landscape professional working on the yard which should keep things in compliance.

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Her main question is, "Can we actually be fined for the type of grass we have?" She's upset because she feels this lawn was put in decades ago and she never heard of a problem before.

Many of us would probably feel the same way about such a criticism from the HOA.

Is an HOA allowed to fine over clover in a lawn?

HOAs may make seemingly unreasonable demands, but the agreement homeowners sign is key. According to the North Carolina Department of Justice, no state or federal agency oversees homeowners associations. So, as frustrating as it is, the HOA likely has the right to require the homeowner to get rid of the clover.

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Comments on the Reddit thread varied. One was indignant, calling the notice "a new low." Others were more pragmatic, reminding the OP that she should check the terms of the HOA agreement. "When you bought it, what disclosures did the HOA give you in their document, if any?" asked one.

Someone else commented, "The biggest problem with clover is that it's invasive...It's hard to keep it from encroaching on your neighbors' yards who have been probably fighting it."

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These are some of the pros and cons of a clover lawn.

Although the Reddit poster didn't deliberately put clover in her lawn, a clover lawn has a lot of benefits, as Southern Living explains.

Some benefits of clover lawns are that it is:

  • eco-friendly (avoids herbicides)
  • grows in low fertility soil
  • durable, even in heat and frost
  • pet-friendly, because it doesn't discolor
  • low-maintenance.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides of clover is the stigma against it as a "weed." HOAs are known to tamp down on clover lawns since they can reasonably be called weeds, and they favor uniform-looking lawns in their communities. Clover is also vulnerable to trampling and may look odd if it's green when the lawn is brown.

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