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. Muted shades of white are acceptable in many neighborhoods. Gloss paint is prohibited. Painting of brick, other masonry material or other types of finishes is approvable and requires application for review and approval prior to commencement.
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 setback lines established by Criteria and/or by a Plat. The Standards define permitted materials and height requirements.
No lighting fixture may create glare or a level of illumination that is offensive or inappropriate when viewed from adjacent properties. 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. Visibility of lights and fixtures does not necessarily constitute an impact.
Permanent programmable channel type lighting or similar systems, are allowed, provided they are installed under the eaves and comply with the newly adopted additional regulations.
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.
If the Criteria specifies a 6 foot height restriction, the allowance for taller fences, in accordance with the Standards, will prevail. If the Criteria specifies an allowance for fence heights greater than 6 foot, the Criteria prevails. This does not include the Liberty Branch neighborhood. Liberty Branch must adhere to the Liberty Branch Design Guidelines.
In addition to many other requirements set forth in the Covenants, Standards and 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 as defined in the Covenants, Standards and Criteria.
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.
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. 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. A comprehensive drainage plan is also required at time of submittal.
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.
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.
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 BnB’s.
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. 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.
- Fireworks / Firearms
- Garage, Yard and Estate Sales
- Tree Removal
- Lot Use Restrictions
- Trash / Debris
- Setbacks, 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. Some provisions have been made in the recent Standards amendments to allow for Virtual Sales and other Online platforms will be allowed, provided they adhere to the requirements. 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. In an effort to preserve the forested environment and ecological balance of The Woodlands, the Standards regulate allowances for tree removals and require replanting.
Rehearing requests or an appeal for tree replants, as required by the Plan Review Committee or their Designee, will not be considered unless the owner provides a written document from a certified arborist or other qualified individual with a degree in forestry, identifying that the lot cannot support the replant requirements and the remaining trees on the lot are in good condition and a desirable species.
Without prior approval by the Residential Design Review Committee or its designee, no structure may be used for any purpose other than that for which it was originally approved.
The Development Standards Committee reviews considerations for variances.
Residents of The Woodlands are limited in the number of animals to be kept outside the home. No more than three, 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.
For properties with porte-cochere, carports, or similar covered areas in front of the garage, the trash and recycle cart enclosure may be located within the covered area and extend beyond the front façade of the garage, if it is in compliance with this Standard.
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. Dumping of any materials is expressly prohibited onto any adjacent areas described above. Should this occur, property owners will be liable for all costs associated with removal.
Setbacks, Use of Easements and Rights-of-Way
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, setbacks and Criteria is probably the most compelling reason to contact The Woodlands Township before you commence with any project or 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 expressly prohibited.
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.