What is LEGALLY considered the rear yard of a property.?

Is it from the corner of house directly back or is it any part of the yard that is behind the house - if you know what I mean. I am being told that I am violating HOA rules with a play set. My point you are only allowed to fence the rear of your yard (mine isn't fenced) but if it was my playset would be inside that fence line so I consider that my rear yard. I need a bit of legal advice. I believe I am correct but the HOA doesn't. Mainly because my neighbors moved to a single family home community with TONS of kids and don't like the kids being loud.
Answer:   I think I see what you're asking.
Let's say your property looks like this:

___________________
XXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxHOUSExxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxHOUSExxxxxxxxx
yyyyyyyzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyy
yyyyyyyzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyy
yyyyyyyzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyy
------------------------------...

So the Xs Ys and Zs are your yard, the "HOUSE" is the house on the property.... You have a playset in the "y" portion of your backyard; your HOA is saying that it must be in the Z portion -- behind the house so it's hidden.

Your argument is that you could put a fence around the whole Y and Z area, so why can't you put a playset partially in the Y area?

I don't know if there's ever been a "legal" definition of "rear yard," since it's property lines that matter, not "yard" lines (what's the "side yard"? )

Generally, you would use plan "contractual interpretation" and common sense rules to guide you.

Let's start here;
(a) Does your HOA rules have a definition embodied in them? If not, then the term is ambiguous. You need to look at surrounding terms, other uses of the word; etc.
(2) Logically, is your "front yard" merely the area immediately in front of your house, or does it encompass all of the yard that touches or faces the street? Certainly the answer would be the later, right? (If you had a regulation that says "No burning trash in your front yard" and you burned trash in the capital Xs in my illustration, that would be a violation, right)?

So from here, we've got two possibilities -- the INTENT of defining "rear yard" is to obscure from view any unsighltly addons like playground equipment, pools, sheds, etc. Thus, rear yard should be read narrowly.
OR
If front yard is read broadly, then "rear yard" should be too. The purpose would be just to keep that unsighly stuff from being in your front yard or right next to the neighbors' house (i.e. on the side of your house).
Add in one more twist -- generally, restrictions on land are read to be as least limiting as possible (because public policy disfavors a landowner being restricted as to what he can do with land). That weighs in your favor.

In short, assuming that there's not a specific definition of "rear yard" in your covenents or HOA charter or whatever, I think you've got good arguments. That, of course, does not mean that they're right in your jurisdiction or that you'll win.

CONTACT A LAYWER in your jurisdiction to review this problem. A few hundred dollars early on might save a few thousand later (and a lot of headaches with your neighbors too!) (you may also want to discuss amicable settlement options; if the thing isn't set in concrete, then moving it may be easier... your lawyer will also help smooth over those negotiations in a meaningful way as a disinterested third party.)
What constitutes your property is determined by your legal property description. Perhaps there are codes or ordinances that prohibit you from putting anything too close to a property line, or too close to another building or fence line. Ostensibly, the rear yard is what we would all believe to be the rear yard. That being said, if you are over your property line, or in violation of some ordinance, regulation, rule or code, you can still be in violation of a rule within your development. You need to check your home association agreement your with your local government to check those things out before you claim to be correct. Good luck!
You have to check with the property records on file with the county and then get your land surveyed if there is a dispute.
look at your deed
The rear of your yard is from the back of your house to the property line on the back of your lot. As for your fence, your fence would either be built on the property line, or at least on the border of the property line, so anything on the inside of your fence should be on your property.

One option you have is to re-read the rules of your HOA, and see what thier guidelines say. If you can afford a attorney to look into the matter then go that route.

Another option is to go and obtain a copy of your land survey (ILR) and see where exactly the boundaries of your property are. Then show it to your HOA and go from there.

If the neighboors don't like kids being loud, then they should have done a lot more research prior to purchasing thier property, but that's just me.
When you bought your house you were given a copy of a certified servey showing the property lines, the building set back line, and easement lines.

This survey works with at least two other documents (1) your deed restrictions, and (2) your local building codes.

You will find that the building codes come first. They will specify how close you can build to the property and easement lines (don't confuse the two - they ARE separate animals).
The deed restrictions will reflect exactly what the building codes say.

It could be that the playset is setting in an easement.

I would say that if your HOA is complaining about a play set, they don't have very much else to do. I don't know where you live but in Houston, TX, the HOAs do have a certain amount of latitude about what they enforce. Unfortunately, most HOAs have some a*** who has nothing better to do.

If I were on the board of your HOA I think I could find more to complain about than a kid's playset. My suggestion is that to preserve the peace between you and the HOA move the play set a couple of feet - what harm can that do? And that would protect you against some stupid and rash action by your board that would only end up costing you money.


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