Home Community FAQs Restrictive Covenants
Restrictive Covenants Print
Saturday, 06 June 2009 01:48

Below is vital information on the restrictive covenants which apply to the homes in the NASWC community.

I was told there are no Restrictions/Deed Restrictions anywhere in the NASWC community so we can do what we want on our own property.

This is our fondest Urban Legend. It is false.

Uninformed realtors, developers, and some residents selling their homes have been guilty of telling buyers that there are no restrictions here. That is not true! The NASWC area consists of several neighborhoods, each of which have Restrictive Covenants. Look up your deed restrictions here.

If you don’t know what section of the community you live in, go to www.wcad.org, click on “Search Appraisal Rolls” and search by your address or your name. The property description that appears has the location in the legal description of the property. Such as “Anderson Mill Village” or “Forest North Estates, Phase II.” That name is what you need to locate the Restrictive Covenants on our site.

Our neighbor is violating one of the restrictive covenants. What can we do?

Call any one of the officers of the Association and they will help you determine if the problem first needs to be turned over to the Sheriff or an Environmental Officer.

Is there illegal activity on this property? This justifies an IMMEDIATE call to the Williamson County Sheriff at 943-1300 or 911.

If there is a nuisance or environmental problem such as tall weeds, nests of snakes and rats, septic system run-off, junker cars, trash on the property, etc., this needs to first be dealt with by the Williamson County Environmental Constables. Contact numbers are:

Officer Hart 943-1439 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Officer Gutierrez This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Constable)
Officer Russell This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Chief Deputy) 930-4390
Animal Control 943-1434

Click here to download the complaint form (PDF).

Print it out, fill it in, and mail it to NASWC or hand-deliver it to an officer. The complaint will be reviewed to see if violation has occurred or is ongoing.

I don’t want to deal with the complaint form. You should just talk to my neighbor for me.

Most of the time, neighbors are able to resolve the problem by just talking to each other. Ask around. Your other neighbors might welcome the opportunity to approach the problem in a group with you. The most important thing to remember is, as a property owner whose property value may be negatively affected by the bad judgment of a neighbor, you are the primary person who may need to file a law suit in Justice of the Peace Court or Small Claims Court against the person violating the Restrictive Covenants. Unless the offense affects a wider number of homeowners or unless NASWC has been asked to get involved due to extenuating circumstances, NASWC might not be recognized in court as having any standing in a case that is largely between a two property owners.

Depending on violation and what is required to end the problem, the offender might be ordered to pay fines for every day of non-compliance starting with the first date of the complaint. The date on a signed NASWC Complaint Form can be used as the starting date of the violation. This is why dating and signing a complaint form is required if you come to us for assistance.

If you feel you can not talk to your neighbor about the problem, please contact one of the officers. http://www.naswc.org/home_contact.htm

Can I use the NASWC complaint form, not go through NASWC, and do my own filing?

Yes, feel free to use our form to help you organize your own file on the problem! Our form was boiled down to one sheet and was based solely on the form used in the Williamson County JP Court.

I want to have a few chickens in the back yard. Are there any rules concerning this?

Yes, there are rules against it. Dogs and cats can be kept as pets, but other animals are NOT allowed. This includes all farm animals, large and small, including chickens and other foul. This Restrictive Covenant comes from basic state and county health codes and law.

My neighbor has a lot of dogs and is boarding them/breeding them/kenneling them. Is this okay?

Kenneling, breeding, and boarding dogs or cats is NOT okay within the community on Single Family Residential lots. Please check your restrictive covenants for specifics. If you have a neighbor contemplating this activity, or involved in this activity, they may not know about the Restrictions. Tell them to visit our website!

Three related questions/statements:

1) I baby sit a lot of dogs for people, but everyone around me knows about it and because they haven’t said anything to me, it doesn’t bother them. So I don’t have to worry about the Restrictive Covenants.

2) I watch a lot of dogs for people but it is a hobby because I don’t make enough money to call it a business.

3) I can have/baby sit all the dogs I want because there are no RCs out here.

All of the above: not true. Keeping dogs or cats in numbers on a lot directly affects property owners around it. The neighbors bought their property expecting those nearby to NOT look and smell like a kennel business because that is forbidden on single family residential lots in our entire community.

The point is, regardless of what a property owner calls it, if a neighbor’s activities with animals have all the hallmarks of a kenneling/boarding/breeding operation, then it can be argued that is what they are running and as such it is a violation of the Restrictive Covenants.

My dogs obey me. I don’t have to put them on a leash when we go out walking/bicycling/jogging.

This is another Favorite Urban Legend. There is a leash and licensing law which governs our area and it must be followed by all pet owners. Please read this.

To read the Williamson County Leash and Licensing Laws, view this WilCo page.

Rats! My neighbor has rats in their shed/back yard/wood pile which come into my yard. What can I do?

Rats, snakes and other vermin should not be allowed to take up residence on a single family lot. Property owners should not accumulate trash & rubbish on their lot or allow grass/weeds to grow tall because such conditions attract vermin. During some seasons, vermin seem to be plentiful everywhere. Talk to your neighbor if you see rats or snakes in their yard. They might not know the problem exists!

You can call any officer of the Association to report the problem. However, this situation has to be handled by the Williamson County Environmental Constables. Because they require your permission to access your property in order to view the problem on the neighboring lot, you will have to give your permission to them. We can not do it for you. Please contact the Environmental Constables at:

Officer Hart 943-1439 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Officer Gutierrez This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Constable)
Officer Russell This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Chief Deputy) 930-4390
Animal Control 943-1434

I would like to build a shed. What are the rules pertaining to this?

A storage shed is considered an improvement to the lot and must be built of recognized building materials. Construction which uses trash will be judged as trash, debris, and refuse. The owner will be required to haul it away.

Buildings can not be taller than two stories. If your property is in a City of Austin annexed portion, there are City height limitations you must follow. Check with the city about their building and electrical codes before starting.

Sheds, homes, or portions of buildings such as patios and roof overhangs can not be within the side or rear setbacks on a lot. The minimum distance from the side lot lines is usually 5 feet. Check your plat for the exact amount on your lot.

No building can be built forward of the front building set-back line. No permanent structure can be placed within a public utility easement.

Sheds and detached garages on single family residential lots in our community can not be used as dwellings. A single family lot is property which is allowed to have ONE dwelling built upon it.

Your shed must be on your property. Empty lots in our area can not be used by adjoining homeowners for storage or the placement of a shed or other structure. If the owner of an empty lot has given you permission to use the property, then the look of the shed should still follow the Restrictive Covenants of your neighborhood. Be wise. If you have permission to use someone else’s property, get that agreement in writing with signatures, witness, and date.

I’ve noticed that other people have sheds with bathrooms and bedrooms in them or they have converted a garage that is separate from the house. So I should be allowed to do the same.

Construction of a second dwelling on your property masquerading as a storage shed, or the conversion of a detached garage to a dwelling is forbidden on Single Family Residential lots.

Just because one property owner has violated a Restriction does not give anyone else the green light to do it. The restriction still stands, and any property owner who has violated this restriction is still open to a lawsuit. Even if others have not been sued, if you decide to build a second dwelling on your lot, your neighbors have the right to take you to court.

What everyone needs to keep in mind is that this has the potential to negatively impact surrounding property values, and therefore, ultimately, it will negatively impact the property value of the person who builds the second dwelling.

My neighbor has rebuilt his fence and moved it onto my property, causing me a loss of several inches along my property line. What can I do?

The first step is to discuss this with your neighbor and try to locate the actual property line. Most of the time, this is just a simple misunderstanding and can be easily fixed. If there is disagreement between you, then a professional survey can be done to solve the dispute over the location of fence/line. If resolution is not found, one or both of the parties may want to proceed to court.

Understand, the court can choose to levy fines. Those fines can begin at the point in time where the violation is first recorded. Proper record keeping is essential for this reason.

For more complete information, we encourage you to seek legal advice on any issue like this and read the information put out by Williamson County’s JP Court system at www.wilco.org

I need to replace my fence. Do I need a permit from NASWC?

There is no requirement to contact NASWC to do this. Check your Restrictions for height limitations and types of fences allowed. If you are in the City, check with them for fence restrictions.

Then, discuss the project with your surrounding neighbors. You may be able to break the cost with them. Also, it is just good neighbor policy to let them know that you are going to do the work and will be putting the fence right back where it had been before.

Where is the County’s Right of Way on my property in the front portion of my lot? How do I locate it?

Your property responsibilities include the ditch in front of your house or any property that runs to the edge of the street, meaning we all have to keep our lawns tidy and our ditches clean. The county’s ROW (Right of Way) is the property the county has the right to access should they want to make road improvements such as installing curbs, widening the street, or pouring sidewalks. The ROW line is NOT the same as the front building set-back line. The building set-back line is further from the street than the ROW.

There is a simple way to determine APPROXIMATELY where the county right of way is. Look at the apron in your driveway. It is the widened area at the end of your drive as it meets the street. Walk back up the drive apron past the culvert under your driveway. There is likely going to be a seam, or joint, at the end of the driveway just before it meets that apron. If there is a seam, that seam is close to, or APPROXIMATELY on, the county’s ROW line. It is not exact. One reason is because some homeowners have replaced their driveway culverts and aprons without professional help and/or without obtaining a county permit.

If you are contemplating any improvement or planting that requires you to stay behind the ROW limit on your property, and you are unsure of where the line is even after viewing your plat, you should consider having a professional survey done before starting the project.

We’ve had mail stolen from our mailbox! What can we do?

Mail Theft and Vandalism are defined as crimes against the United States Postal Service®. These include:

  • Theft of mail.
  • Vandalism or destruction of a Collection Box®, individual mailbox, or other mail receptacle.
  • Vandalism or destruction of a Post Office™ location or other United States Postal Service property.

If you believe mail theft or vandalism has occurred, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to have them document the issue.

If you are witnessing or have just witnessed mail theft, call the sheriff immediately at 911 or 943-1300.

Also, you should contact the Postal Inspection Service office that serves our 78729 zip code.

The address and phone are:

POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
PO BOX 162929
FORT WORTH TX 76161-2929

Phone : 817-317-3400
Fax : 817-317-3430

You can obtain the contact information for any Postal Inspection Service office by going to www.usps.com/ncsc/locators/find-is.html

or visit their home page at www.usps.com/websites/depart/inspect/