The Top Six Deed Restriction Violations in Westchase

How can you avoid being in the batch of violation letter sent out monthly by the Westchase Community Association?

We asked Association Manager Debbie Sainz what the top five deed restrictions in Westchase are. Going above and beyond, Sainz provided us with the six most common triggers for association violation letters. Keep your out for these things in your yard, and you can escape the WCA love letters.

Dead Sod and Weeds in Landscaping

Newcomers to Westchase can be perplexed by the care for Westchase lawns. According to Westchase Residential Guidelines, the front yards of Westchase homes must be landscaped with St. Augustine sod. While it grows well and will produce lush lawns when properly cared for, the sod requires careful attention. Due to Florida’s sandy soils and wet summers, St. Augustine sod requires regular treatments with fertilizer and insecticides—in addition to the proper amounts of water during the dry season. While some homeowners try the do-it-yourself route to save money, any neglect of regular fertilization and insect control can quickly create a struggling lawn choked with weeds. After repeated citations and demands for sod replanting (which can be expensive), many break down and simply hire a lawn fertilization company. DIYers, however, can benefit from the University of Florida’s great information on proper caring for St. Augustine sod here:

Keep another thing in mind as winter approaches. One of the quickest ways to kill your lawn is to let leaves collect on top of it for days. St. Augustine quickly succumbs from the trapped moisture and lack of sunlight. Most lawn companies, however, don’t rake leaves. To keep your lawn alive in December and January when Tampa trees shed their leaves, bust out that rake.

Westchase Guidelines also make clear that no bare, landscape beds are permitted. To keep down weeds in the landscaping beds, all homes are required to have two inches of mulch. (The Guidelines specify which kinds are permitted, so check first.) But if you do need a safe, effective weed killer that you can keep in a handy spray bottle to hit those weeds, just mix one gallon of white vinegar with a cup of salt and one tablespoon of dish soap. Spray the weeds early on a sunny day and they will quickly brown out.

Discolored Sidewalks and Driveways

Florida high humidity and copious summer rains between mid-May and mid-October quickly cause sidewalks, driveways and even pool pavers to become black and discolored. Depending on the amount of sun hitting your concrete, some homeowners can get away with an annual cleaning. Others, however, need to powerwash their sidewalks and driveways twice annually. Try to time your cleaning for late October or early November and it will usually get you through June.

Trash Cans in View

Westchase’s covenants require that all trash cans be stored out of view from the street and your neighbors’ homes. If you store them in your side yard rather than your garage, they must be appropriately screened from view. (The Westchase Guidelines spell out screening options.) Westchase’s covenants also stipulate that trash may not be put out to the curb before 6 p.m. on the day before collection and empty cans must be stored again out of view on the day trash is collected.

Parking Issues

According to Westchase’s covenants, homeowners may only park vehicles in their garages and in their driveways. (West Park Village, which includes Village Green, has an exception that does permit street parking there.) In practice, the association really enforces only violations of street parking that occur over night.

The breaking of an additional driveway parking rule, however, can trigger a different violation. You must park your vehicles in such a way that they do not block the continuation of the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to divert around parked vehicles. If you park in your driveway but the car overhangs the portion of the driveway serving as the sidewalk, you can still be cited.

Maintaining Mailboxes

Westchase’s neighborhoods have mailboxes specific to them. Over the years, most have been converted to black metal mailboxes. Folks who neglect them or allow numbers or postal flags to fall off often find a violation letter inside them. Homeowners must keep mailboxes clean and well painted and maintain their postal flag (the specific color matters) and style of numbers. Most replacements, while pricey, can be found at Creative Mailbox Designs in Oldsmar, but you can buy them elsewhere if they match.

One tip? If you have a black mailbox, you can prolong the life of the paint by waxing it twice a year with black car wax, available at auto parts stores. It will quickly shine up the surface and protect it from reclaimed water, which can be hard on mailbox surfaces.

Pet Waste

One of the biggest pet peeves Westchasers have about their neighbors? It’s the resident who doesn’t pick up after their pet. Be sure to take bags with you and clean up from your dog on walks (and be sure to tell your kids to do the same if they’re walking them). The one violation that will get a resident quickly reported to the WCA office is failure to pick up after their dog. With the plethora of security and doorbell cameras on Westchase homes, the culprits get busted all the time. Be a good neighbor and pick up after your furry friends. If you do, your clean and very well-maintained mailbox will stay empty.

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