What you need to know about HOA CC&Rs
As part of a homeowners' association (HOA), you've probably heard the term "CC&Rs" often. It sounds like a cluster of letters with no concrete meaning, but the truth is that CC&Rs are your association’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, and they can have a tangible impact on how you live. In the following article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about HOA CC&Rs, including the basics, benefits, and how they impact your community.
HOA CC&Rs: The basicsHOA CC&Rs, or Homeowners Association Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, are a set of rules and guidelines that govern the use and appearance of properties within a homeowners association community. These rules are legally binding and are part of the governing documents of the HOA.
“It’s essential that homeowners fully understand the rights and responsibilities provided under their HOA CC&Rs," said Steven Hirsch, senior vice president of property management at FirstService Residential. "The CC&Rs are the association's 'Bill of Rights' and serve as a roadmap to help guide homeowners on the 'dos and don'ts' within their community. Compliance or non-compliance with an association's CC&Rs can determine the harmony or discord of association living."
CC&Rs typically cover:
- Architectural Standards: CC&Rs often outline specific guidelines for the architectural design and appearance of homes within the community. This can include restrictions on the type of materials, colors, and styles that can be used for exterior modifications or renovations.
- Landscaping: CC&Rs may govern how homeowners can landscape their properties, including rules about front and back yards, the types of plants or trees allowed, and maintenance standards.
- Use of Property: They specify how properties can be used. For example, they may restrict or regulate home-based businesses, short-term rentals (like Airbnb), or other commercial activities conducted from residential properties.
- Pets: CC&Rs may address rules related to pets, including the number of pets allowed, breed restrictions, and leash requirements.
- Maintenance: They often include standards for property maintenance, such as requirements for keeping properties clean, in good repair, and free of debris.
- Parking: CC&Rs can establish rules about parking, including where and how vehicles can be parked, and may address issues like RV or boat storage.
- Noise and nuisance: They may have provisions regarding noise levels and nuisance factors, ensuring that residents maintain a peaceful and quiet environment.
- Amenities and common areas: CC&Rs can detail rules for the use and upkeep of common areas and amenities like pools, parks, and clubhouses.
- Assessments and dues: They may outline the process for collecting homeowner association dues and special assessments, which are used to maintain common areas and provide services to the community.
- Enforcement: CC&Rs specify how the HOA will enforce the rules, including the process for issuing warnings, fines, or legal action against homeowners who violate the CC&Rs.
- Dispute Resolution: They often include procedures for resolving disputes between homeowners and the HOA.
- Amendment Process: The CC&Rs may outline the process for amending the document. This typically requires a vote by the homeowners within the community.
Why does the HOA CCR matter?CC&Rs are developed to protect property values and keep your neighborhood safe and well-maintained. They're created to ensure a certain standard of life so all owners and residents are given the same rights and privileges and held equally accountable. While some people might think of them as a burden, CC&Rs are intended to create an environment where the quality of life is upheld every day, and everyone has the freedom to live happily.
The benefits of HOA CC&RsBy living in a community with CC&Rs, you can rely on your neighborhood to maintain a pleasant and visually appealing decorum. Because of your HOA CC&Rs, you never have to worry about your neighbor painting their house wild colors or keeping an unsightly boat parked in their driveway year-round. Some buildings have even adopted restrictions that protect homeowners’ views from being obstructed. Of course, living in a homeowners' association has many other benefits – association fees collected from owners go toward paying for community amenities like parks, community centers, pools, and more. The money is placed in reserve accounts that accommodate the cost of major upgrades or repairs to the community that may arise from time to time.
How are HOA CC&Rs created?CC&Rs are usually crafted by developers and later amended by the community association board. Your HOA board can update CC&Rs according to shifting community trends and needs. These new rules take shape as bylaws. However, because homeowners duly elect the board, their actions should reflect the wants and needs of association members.
When your community partners with a professional property management company, that firm becomes the party that enforces the rules. That means they collect dues and issue warnings or fines when laws are broken. Effective management teams can also help educate homeowners by delivering clear and consistent communication that explains the value of the association's bylaws, minimizing misunderstandings, and maintaining compliance.
How do HOA CC&Rs impact you?Ultimately, CC&Rs are in place to improve your life, so you should familiarize yourself with them. Being properly informed about your home and the surrounding community can help you abide by the laws and be a good neighbor. Being well-versed in your CC&Rs will also help you avoid any conduct that may be perceived as inappropriate.
It’s also essential to know your rights as part of your community. Under state laws, you should have received a copy of your CC&Rs when you purchased your property. If you don't have a copy, you should contact your board for one as soon as possible. If your association works with a property management company, they can help.
How to find your CC&RsTypically, you can find your community’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions for a homeowners association (HOA) community, you can follow these steps:
- Ask the seller or real estate agent: If you're in the process of buying a home in an HOA community, ask the seller or your real estate agent for a copy of the CC&Rs. Sellers are usually required to provide these documents to potential buyers during the sales process.
- Contact the HOA management team: Reach out to the management company or the board of the homeowners association. They should be able to provide you with a copy of the CC&Rs. You can usually find their contact information on the HOA's website or by asking your real estate agent.
- Check the HOA website: Many communities have websites where they post important documents, including the CC&Rs. Search for the HOA's website and look for a "Documents" or "Resources" section.
- Public Records: In some states, CC&Rs are recorded in public records. You can visit your local county recorder's office or check their website to see if they have the CC&Rs on file. This is especially helpful if you've already purchased a property and want to review the CC&Rs.
- HOA management company: If your HOA is managed by a professional management company, you can contact them directly to request a copy of the CC&Rs.
- HOA Meetings: Attend an HOA meeting, if possible, and ask about the availability of CC&Rs. Board members or other homeowners may be able to guide you on how to obtain a copy.
- Neighbors and current residents: If you have neighbors in the community, ask if they have a copy of the CC&Rs. They may be willing to share their copy with you or at least guide you on where to find them.
- Online Databases: Some online databases or services specialize in providing copies of HOA documents, including CC&Rs, for a fee. You can search for these databases online.
To learn how a professional management company like FirstService Residential can support your community, contact a member of our team.