What are HOA CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions)?
When homeowners reference HOA CC&Rs, they are referring to either of two things:
- The rules of a planned community
- The HOA document is called the Declaration of CC&Rs.
If you live in a community with a homeowners’ association, you must follow the rules in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.
HOA communities have their own rules, usually described in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions is a legal document that specifies all of the HOA community’s laws and regulations. Typically, the Declaration of CC&Rs is filed with the county recorder’s office. It forms part of the land’s and community’s official real estate records.
The goal of these rules is to protect property values in the community. However, this can be frustrating if you want to change your home.
Though most rules are easy to agree with, there are some that might interfere with your plans or seem unreasonable. But it’s worth pushing through those and obeying them because the consequences of breaking them really aren’t worth it. Not to mention, by adhering, you are helping to maintain the beauty and value of your home and community.
Maybe you want to park your car on the street and convert your garage into storage space. Your HOA may enforce CC&Rs that prohibit street parking or restrict what can be done with garage space. Perhaps you want to build a deck or add a pool. After reading the CC&Rs, you may discover that pools or decks are not permitted in your community.
HOAs can and should enforce CC&Rs in accordance with the laws of that state and community regulations. Not adhering to the covenants, conditions, and restrictions of your community can result in penalties and fines.
Common CC&Rs in Community Associations
Real estate CC&Rs generally include limitations and regulations such as:
Property Maintenance. Your community association’s CC&Rs may require you to mow your lawn on a regular basis. Alternatively, the CC&Rs may stipulate that you cannot allow the siding of your house to become dingy or for the paint to peel. Some HOA communities may provide landscaping and home maintenance services, such as power washing or exterior painting. Other HOAs will require residents to handle these tasks on their own.
Home decor. Depending on your community’s CC&Rs, the regulations for exterior home decor can be simple or complex. Typically, the goal is to maintain a clean and sometimes uniform look in the community. What colors or shades you may use to paint the house could also be governed by various CC&Rs.
Pet rules and restrictions.
HOA pet policies (CC&Rs) can include, but not be limited to, the following:
HOAs first need to know how many pets exist in their community before they can properly enforce CC&Rs. Before moving in, associations may require new homeowners to register their pets. Before getting a new pet, current residents should also fill out pet registration documents. Community associations may have restrictions on certain breeds of dogs as well.
The HOA can keep track of all the domestic animals in their neighborhood thanks to pet registration. They can simply pursue homeowners who disobey the pet policy. Additionally, it makes it simpler to monitor the annual rabies vaccinations of pets.
Pet waste cleanup.
One of the most prevalent issues in pet-friendly associations is animal waste. Animal waste may be hazardous and toxic if it is left unmanaged in public spaces.
Consider requiring all residents to tidy up after their pets and properly dispose of their waste when creating your HOA dog poop bylaws.
To promote adherence to the rules, the HOA may provide bags and garbage cans around the neighborhood. You can even choose to impose fines on property owners who fail to pick up after their dogs.
Some HOAs may even require you to submit a DNA sample of your pet for testing of pet waste that is found unattended in order to help enforce pet CC&Rs.
Dog barking rules.
What solutions does an HOA have for noisy dogs? Dogs occasionally bark and create noise, but not constantly or loud enough to irritate the neighbors. Therefore, one of your HOA dog regulations may be to ask residents to report any issues with continuous barking to the management. If a pet is unable to go to sleep at night, it may need to be brought inside.
The HOA should speak with the pet owner upon receiving concerns. They frequently have no idea there is an issue. They can brainstorm solutions to noise issues together.
Pet leashing rules.
Your HOA can require pets to be kept on a leash when walking in the neighborhood. Unleashed animals can be harmful not only to themselves since they run the risk of becoming lost or getting into traffic, but also to other members of the neighborhood.
There are several situations that can make an aggressive pet aggressive, even if they aren’t naturally aggressive. This may cause a catastrophic battle that hurts both people and animals.
The HOA might build a dog park as a middle ground where animals may run about unrestrained. If your neighborhood allows pets, having this feature might be quite tempting.
The community association’s CC&Rs may specify how to park in front of a residence. For instance, your HOA parking rules and regulations may prohibit street parking and control overnight visitor parking.
Trash can storage.
Trash cans, utility meters, and clotheslines may need to be covered or suitably hidden from view, according to the CC&Rs of your community.
Of course, the HOA may also have additional requirements. The CC&Rs may, among other things, limit the height of your fence, require a defensible space for fire safety measures, or forbid political posters.
What Are Resolutions?
“Resolutions” are additional rules and regulations that an HOA adopts.
The CC&Rs can be enforced through regular inspections or community drives. An HOA manager often conducts such inspections, checking to see how closely properties adhere to the association’s rules and notifying owners of any potential infractions.
Any homeowner who has infractions discovered on their property will be subsequently notified of community violations. On the following inspection, managers will check to see if the problems have been corrected.
Penalties for violating HOA CC&Rs
When escrow is closed on a property in a planned community, the buyer often signs a number of documents, one of which states that they have read the CC&Rs and agree to abide by them. The CC&Rs are often upheld by the HOA, which may fine you if you violate them.
Penalties for violating community association CC&Rs may include:
- Verbal warnings or written violation letters. Most organizations will begin with an announcement, either vocal or written. Such a notice’s objective is to inform the resident that they have broken a specific CC&R and to request that they remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
- Fines. Residents who don’t resolve the problem might be subject to one-time fines or costs for each day it goes unattended. Some HOAs may additionally charge for the labor and supplies the association used to resolve the issue on its own.
- Amenity suspension. Failing to adhere to community association CC&Rs can result in a loss of access to community amenities such as pools, gyms, and other common areas.
- Lawsuits. Last but not least, the association may go to court and ask the judge to order a resident to resolve the issue.
Example. Let’s say you have a huge dog despite a restriction stating that a community’s maximum pet weight is 30 pounds. You may face a fine in addition to being ordered to move or give up your dog. Don’t depend on the rules changing, as that is typically rare.
So, before purchasing a house in a planned community, read the CC&Rs.
Do HOA CC&Rs expire?
They usually do.
Naturally, the state legislature will have a significant impact on how long CC&Rs may last before being renewed or changed. However, when that time has passed, the association must vote on whether to continue or end the CC&Rs.
Covenants would naturally expire and cease to be binding if, for any reason, the association didn’t carry such a vote.
HOA Dues and Assessments
Homeowners often need to pay yearly or monthly dues as well as sporadic special assessments to the HOA
The CC&Rs outline the many sorts of payments that the community requires, the procedures for special assessments, and the consequences of not paying, including late fees and interest.
What happens if you do not pay HOA dues or fines?
Failure to pay HOA dues or fines can result in a lien or the foreclosure of your home. Typically, this is the last resort for community associations, but they can and do have the right to do so.
The HOA may decide to foreclose the lien if it believes you lack the resources in your bank account or from a job to satisfy a money judgment. The proceeds of the foreclosure sale would go toward satisfying the debt. Some states have requirements for how long or how much you must be delinquent on your assessments before the HOA can foreclose. For instance, a California HOA cannot begin the foreclosure process unless the past-due assessments are at least $1,800 in value or have been overdue for more than 12 months.
Ways to Prevent HOA Foreclosure
You might be able to request—or the HOA might require—a preforeclosure meeting to discuss the infraction if your HOA is considering foreclosing on your home. You might be able to negotiate a solution at the meeting, such as agreeing to start a payment plan right away to settle your fees or penalties in exchange for the HOA’s promise to delay foreclosing.
Additionally, you might be able to reclaim your house after the sale if you lose it to an HOA foreclosure. After an HOA foreclosure, certain jurisdictions’ laws permit the foreclosed homeowner to reclaim the property.
CC&Rs are legally binding documents that outline the permitted and prohibited uses of a property. These rules and regulations are in place to uphold community standards, maintain property values, and protect residents of the community. Failure to adhere to your community’s CC&Rs can result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, and liens on your property.