Guide to Deed Restrictions in The Woodlands
The Woodlands Township is a master-planned community that provides for orderly development of residential, commercial and industrial land usage. Long-range planning is critical to preserving the quality of development and to maintaining compatibility with the environment. Development of The Woodlands is guided by binding covenants and standards that protect the aesthetic integrity of the community. Additions and modifications to residential properties must be in compliance with these covenants and standards to assure continuation of good design, preservation of property values and conservation of the natural environment.
The following is a brief summary of the protective covenants and residential standards is representative, but not all-inclusive, of those now in effect in The Woodlands. Separate standards govern non-residential projects. Since the standards are updated from time to time, it is important that residents check with The Woodlands Township for copies of the most current standards.
Applications for additions and modifications will be approved on the basis of the standards in effect on the date submitted for review by the Residential Design Review Committee. For further information about the application process, contact The Woodlands Township at 281-210-3800.
Summary of Standards
- Colors and Materials
- Decks / Patio Structures
- Exterior Lighting
- House Additions / Garages
- Play Structures
- Pools and Spas
- Satellite Dishes
- Political Election Signage
- Short-Term Rentals
Colors that harmonize with the natural landscape are strongly encouraged. Muted shades are considered to be most appropriate. Colors and materials must be compatible with each other so as to develop a cohesive appearance for the dwelling appropriate to its architectural character and to the neighborhood.
Roofing colors must harmonize with the natural landscape, community and Neighborhood Criteria.
Acceptable roofing materials include tile, slate, composition shingles, stone coated or standing seam metal and cement-fiberboard products. All metal roofing must be free of any types of glossy finish. The Woodlands Township maintains a current chart of acceptable composition shingle roofing materials for reference and comparison.
Decks, patios, arbors, trellises, sunshades, storage sheds, gazebos, patio covers and similar structures may be permitted, as long as they do not extend into any easements or building setback lines. The standards define permitted materials and height requirements. Please contact the Covenant Administration Department for more detailed information before commencing with construction of these types of projects.
Due to their industrial nature, some lamp types and fixture designs are not allowed on residential lots. Mercury-vapor lamps are acceptable only in shielded fixtures mounted high in trees to provide low level ambient property illumination (moonlight).
The level of illumination of any light should not be offensive or create a glare when viewed from outside the lot. Directional lights must be aimed into the lot on which they are installed. The light source must be shielded.
Lights mounted on buildings, poles or trees to provide general lot illumination must be mounted in fixtures that shield visibility of the lamp from the street or adjacent properties and direct the illumination upward or downward.
All lots are restricted to specific fence designs, including those with large ponds, swimming pools or spas, on golf courses or lakes, corner lots, lots adjoining major streets, townhomes, patio homes, etc.
Where permitted, a single rot board no taller than six inches may be included at the base of the fence, to allow an additional six inches in height. The smooth side must face outward on all sides of the lot and the construction side must not be visible to adjacent streets or any tract of land. Prohibited fencing materials include chain link, wire or wire mesh unless within the enclosure of a solid fence, sheet or expanded metal and stamped metal posts, plastic or fiberglass (corrugated, flat or woven), rope, bamboo, reed or wire-bound wood pickets and unfinished cinder block.
In addition to many other requirements set forth in the Covenants, Standards and Neighborhood Criteria, all improvements must be architecturally compatible. Architectural compatibility is a continuity or agreeable relationship of architectural style, mass, proportion, scale, materials, color and design detail with existing and planned improvements on adjacent properties and in the neighborhood. Special restrictions as to the percentage of a lot that may be covered by hard surface material as well as the restrictions related to the amount of square feet of living area in a given home are attached to each lot.
Detailed construction drawings, exterior elevation drawings and specifications for color and materials must accompany the completed application. The drawings must indicate how the proposed improvement will relate architecturally to the existing residence, and the plans must be sealed by an A.I.B.D./T.I.B.D. or N.C.B.D.C. designer, licensed architect or structural engineer. Inspections and a refundable compliance deposit are also required. Conversion of a garage or carport to some use other than for automobile storage is generally prohibited. Exceptions may be granted where an architecturally compatible approved replacement structure is provided.
Criteria for the color, materials and placement of play equipment and structures are designed to minimize visual impact of the equipment. Permanent basketball goals must be mounted to the residence or on a pole at least 20 feet from a street edge and five feet from the side lot line. Freestanding basketball goals, including portable goals, must be located at least 20 feet from the street pavement edge or no less than half way up the drive or adjacent to the dwelling or garage. All basketball goals may not be placed on any easements.
Forts, swing sets, etc., are restricted in height, tarp color and size and must be located in the rear or side yard and not in any easement. Wood construction is preferred.
The pool and/or spa, as well as its associated decking, berms and waterfalls must not encroach upon any easement. Concrete, paving, and interlocking pavers are also limited by standards regulating lot coverage. Additionally, the water surface and hard surface areas are restricted by the Criteria for all lots. Pools and spas must be enclosed by an approved fence with self-closing and self-latching gates. Pool barrier fencing must comply with the most currently adopted code. Applications, plans and inspections and a refundable compliance deposits are required. Drainwater plan required.
Small satellite dishes and high definition television antennae (antenna diameter 39 inches or less) must be located in the rear yard, or no less than half the distance back from the front facade on the side of the home or garage, home or garage roof, if satisfactory reception can be achieved. Satellite dishes may not be attached to a fence if the fence is located on the property line. Location in an easement is acceptable, subject to the rights of the easement owner. Satellite dishes and HD television antennae, which are 39 inches or less in diameter, may also be located in the side yard or the side surface of the home or garage or roof of the home or garage.
All election signage must conform to The Woodlands Residential Development Standards, Sections 2.10 and 2.12. Political election signage refers to placards, banners, flags or devices that promote a political candidate or a ballot item for a political election. A nongovernmental election sign is any sign that promotes a candidate or a ballot item for an election administered by or on behalf of The Woodlands Township.
Short-Term Rentals include any Single-Family Dwelling rented for monetary consideration for a period of time less than thirty (30) consecutive days for an amount in excess of $15.00 per stay, not including a residency unit or hotel, more commonly referred to as Air BnBs.
The 2017 Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of short-term rental use, stating that so long as renters are using the rentals for residential purposes, there were no deed violations. Short-term rentals were found by the Court to be a “residential” use. The court ruling did allow for regulations to be put in place for said use. Standards have been adopted which require an application and approval process related to short-term rentals. Lastly, due to an increase of short-term rentals, the Woodlands Township desires to assure that properties are listed as short-term rentals in order to monitor their operation while also upholding owners’ property rights.
- Fireworks / Firearms
- Garage / Yard Sales
- Tree Removal
- Lot Use Restrictions
- Trash / Debris
- Use of Easements
- Vehicle Parking / Storage
The sale and use of fireworks and the use or discharge of firearms of any kind whatsoever is strictly prohibited on any property within The Woodlands. Hunting of any kind and by any method is also prohibited.
Garage, yard and estate sales are expressly prohibited. The Woodlands Village Associations conduct a flea market twice a year in which residents may participate.
Residential lots in The Woodlands have been developed to preserve as much of the natural forest as possible. Native vegetation is the single most important landscape element in The Woodlands. It provides the unity and constant “sense of green” that is of immeasurable value to the visual pleasure and enjoyment of the outdoor experience. The preservation of native vegetation — tree canopy, under story and forest floor — is strongly encouraged. In an effort to preserve the forested environment and ecological balance of The Woodlands, no living tree greater than six inches in diameter (as measured at a point two feet above natural grade) may be removed without prior written approval.
Without prior approval by the Residential Design Review Committee, no structure may be used for any purpose other than that for which it was originally approved. No profession or home industry may be conducted from any residential property without committee approval.
Residents of The Woodlands are limited in the number of animals to be kept outside the home. No more than two, either cats and/or dogs, may be kept outside. Puppies and kittens are not counted in this total until they are weaned from their mother. Animals must not be allowed to run at large, but must be confined to the owner's lot or controlled by a restraint device.
All trash, refuse or recycling containers may be placed near the street edge no earlier than one day prior to waste collection. Emptied containers must be removed from the street, front yard or driveway by the end of the collection day. Containers must be stored on the owner’s property at all times. All trash and refuse containers must be stored out of public view at ground level from the street or alley or adjacent and surrounding properties at all times except during waste collection.
No lumber, metals, bulk materials, refuse or trash may be kept, stored or allowed to accumulate on any lot or adjacent areas such as greenbelts or open space areas, drainage easements, vacant lots, etc. Building materials may be stored temporarily on the premises during a construction project for a period not to exceed 120 days.
Easements provide a buffer zone between properties to minimize the impact of one lot upon another. They are set aside for providing utility service and drainage to each lot, and to provide natural vegetative screening and privacy separations between lots. Being certain that your project respects all easements is perhaps the most compelling reason to contact The Woodlands Township before you complete your project plans.
Trailers, trailer homes, recreational vehicles, mobile homes, boats, or other similar vehicles or equipment may not be parked 48 consecutive hours or more on any street or on any lot where visible at ground level from a street or adjacent property. Farm-type tractors, semi-truck tractors and trailers or other similar vehicles are not permitted to be stored on any street or on any lot where visible. Parking on lawns, ditches, open space areas or other dirt, gravel or grassy areas is not allowed.
Motor vehicles that are disabled or mechanically inoperable on a public street may not be parked on any street or at a location where visible at ground level from any street or adjacent property.