Guideline No. 31 – Maintenance

 Bulk Items–Bulk items are not to be stored or accumulated on any lot, deck or under overhangs. Store bulk items out of sight or discard them. Do not cover items with a tarpaulin.

Cul-de-Sacs–Adjacent homeowners are responsible, under Howard County Code, for the mowing and maintenance of the grass area between the sidewalk and the street, and maintenance of the cul­ de-sac islands.

Drainage–Modification to the grading or drainage installed by the original builder must be approved by the Architectural Committee. There may not be rechanneling of the drainage flows after location and installation of drainage swales, storm sewers, or storm drains. No obstructions or debris may be placed in catch basins or drainage areas. No above ground drainage apparatus or pipe shall be maintained on any Lot. (Article VIII, Section 8.07).

Driveways–Driveways that are deteriorating need to be repaired or replaced. Repairs must be made with the same material as the existing driveway. An approved application will be required for material or color change.

Fences–Fences should be in good repair, standing straight with no broken or missing boards, and no peeling paint. An approved application is required for new fences, removing fences in some cases, or a change in style.

Garbage Cans & Recycle Bins–Must conform to guidelines prescribed by Howard County, the collection company and the Village of River Hill Covenants and must be concealed from public and adjoining property view. (Article VIII, Section 8.06).

Grading–Any change in the grade of any lot of more than six inches from that existing at the time of purchase by each owner is considered a “structural change” and requires an exterior alteration application.

Grass–Grass should be mowed and trimmed on a regular basis during the growing season. Tall weeds and overgrown vines should be trimmed or removed. Landscaped areas should also be kept free of weeds and overgrown plant material.

Gutters & Downspouts–Gutters and downspouts should be in place and secure, with no peeling paint. Gutters should be clean of tree debris and dirt. All drain extensions must be buried below ground. An approved application may be needed for new gutters.

Holiday Decorations–Holiday decorations should only be displayed and must be removed within 28 days of the holiday.

House Numbers–House numbers must be on every Lot or house and must be easily visible from the street. Do not paint house numbers on the curb (Howard County does not allow house numbers to be painted on the curbs). An approved application may be required for new or replacement house numbers.

Lamp Posts & Exterior Light Fixtures–Lamp Posts should stand straight and should be free of rust. Light fixtures should not be crooked or have missing or broken light bulb coverings. Globes to cover the light bulbs should always be in place. An approved application may be required when replacing or adding new light fixtures.

Leaf & Tree Debris–Yard, roof, and gutters should be cleared of leaves and debris on a regular basis during the respective seasons. Raking leaves and debris into the street, surrounding properties, open space or ravines is prohibited. An approved application is required for compost bins. Do not cover leaf piles of debris with a tarpaulin.

Mold, Mildew & Algae–Mold, mildew and algae should be removed from all structures.

Paint–There should be no peeling paint or rotted wood on structures. An approved application is required when any structure or trim is to be painted or stained a color different from its existing color. The new paint or stain is considered to be different if the color itself changes (for example, yellow instead of green) or if, while the color remains the same, it is lighter or darker than the original. No RAC approval is necessary for repainting or re-staining when the color remains the same, provided the existing color has been approved by the Architectural Committee.

Patios & Walkways–Patios and/or walkways that are crumbled, raised or sunken, should be repaired or replaced. An approved application may be required.

Rain Barrels–Rain barrels must be maintained at all times and should be kept free of standing water on or around anything not used as part of the rain barrel system. Ensure that rain barrel drainage/overflow/runoff is properly diverted and does not flow onto neighboring properties. During the winter season, rain barrels should be stored to prolong barrel life and avoid maintenance issues.

Roof–The roof should be in good repair and of all one color. There should not be any accumulation of debris on the roof. An approved application may be required when replacing the roof.

Screens–Screens should be in good repair and fit properly.

Shrubs–Shrubbery should not be overgrown for the size of the structure. Dead shrubs should be removed and properly disposed. An application may be required for planting shrubs.

Sidewalks–Sidewalks should be clean and free of discoloration from dirt, mold, algae, and/or mildew and kept in good repair with no crumbling or heaving. All owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the sidewalks within or adjacent to their lot. The maintenance, including snow removal, of adjoining sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner under Howard County law. This means that if your lot abuts any section of a sidewalk, you are responsible for that portion of the sidewalk. Maintenance of the grass area between the sidewalk and curb are also the responsibility of the adjacent property owner and should include appropriate mowing, trimming, weeding in the same manner and frequency as regular lawn care. Howard County will repair your sidewalk on request by calling 410-313-7450, at the property owner’s expense unless the sidewalk is damaged solely by the roots of trees in the county right of way or by county water or sewer construction project.

Siding–Siding should be securely intact and free of rotting wood, dirt and mold. An approved application is required for all siding.

Snow Removal–Sidewalks must be shoveled within 48 hours after the snow has fallen and is the responsibility of the adjacent property owners and regulated by Howard County Code.

Street Trees–Problems with street trees should be brought to the attention of Howard County Bureau of Highways by calling 410-313-7450. Howard County Bureau of Highways is responsible for the trimming, maintenance, and pruning of street trees.

Tarpaulins–Brightly colored tarpaulins are not allowed in the open on any lot.

 Trash, Trash Containers & Recyclables–The following is a direct quote from Article VIII, Section 8.06 of the Covenants: “If trash or other refuse is to be disposed of by being picked up and carried away on a regular basis, containers may be placed in the open, on any day that a pickup is made, at such a place on the lot so as to provide access to persons making such a pickup. At all other times such containers shall be stored in such a manner so they cannot be seen from adjacent and surrounding property.” Trash containers should have secure lids on them. Except for scheduled trash day, containers should not be stored in view. No refuse, trash or bulk items/materials may be accumulated or stored on any lot. Trash should not be put out earlier than the afternoon prior to pick up day and should be stored out of sight by sunset of the trash collection day. 

Trees–Dead trees or branches should be removed from the property. An approved application is required for tree removal. An approved application may be required for planting of trees. See GUIDELINE No.57—TREE PLANTING OR REMOVAL.

Vehicles–Inoperable vehicles, commercial vehicles or trucks, vehicles without current registration, or any similar items are not allowed in the open on any lot. No boat trailer, house trailer, trailer, or truck or any similar item should be stored or parked in the open on any Lot, without expressed written approval of the Architectural Committee. Owners/ Operators of campers, recreational vehicles and motor homes may wish to consult the telephone directory for alternative storage locations. Renovation of vehicles or major repairs may not be undertaken except in enclosed garages. Only minor emergency repairs such as changing a tire, batteries, etc. are permitted.

Woodpiles–Woodpiles should be neatly stacked inconspicuously, never covered with a brightly colored tarpaulin, located in the rear of the house, and located within the lines defined by the sides of the house extended to the rear. Stacking of wood on sidewalks, driveways, in front of the house or rights-of-way, etc. is not permitted, nor is the storage of excessive amounts of wood. The Columbia Association and Howard County do not permit use of their open space for this or any other personal use and violators will be cited. The RHAC may require screening of woodpiles. See GUIDELINE No.47—SCREENING.

Windows–Window frames and trim should be kept in good repair. Panes that are broken or fogged due to broken seals should be replaced. Grids/mullions should be intact and uniform. An application may be required for window additions or changes.