What are HOA CC&Rs and how are they enforced

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:

Pet registration.

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.

Parking regulations. 

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.

CC&R Inspections

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.

To summarize: 

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.  

Homeowners Association HOA Pet Policies and Enforcement

HOA Pet Policies and Restrictions to know about

Today, many view pets as essential members of the family. It is only proper that homeowner associations permit dogs in their neighborhoods. If your organization allows pets, you probably already understand how important it is to have regulations for residents who have animal friends. Here are the HOA pet policies that your association should enforce for those who haven’t yet created a clear policy.

Homeowners Association HOA Pet Policies: Common Examples

The type and amount of pet laws that HOAs choose to enact in their communities are often up to them. There are, however, a few fundamental guidelines for pets that every organization should think about including in their HOA pet policy.

  1. Pet registration

    To begin with, homeowners associations may require that owners register any dogs they possess with the organization. There is a clear and obvious explanation for this: The Board of Directors cannot feasibly enforce dog limitations or any other pet prohibitions if they are unaware of the number of dogs living in the neighborhood.

    Basically, the HOA has the right to request that brand-new homeowners or condo residents disclose any dogs they possess prior to moving in. Current homeowners may also need to submit a new pet application in accordance with any applicable pet restrictions before getting a new dog or cat.

    The HOA may more readily monitor pets in the neighborhood and pursue noncompliant residents by requesting that all homeowners register their dogs.

  2. Waste Cleanup

    The neighborhood may also impose some regulations about garbage pickup and elimination in addition to HOA pet limitations. In other words, dog laws could mandate that pet owners keep their front yards and/or all public spaces free of solid waste and dog feces.

    This goes beyond mere HOA aesthetics. Remember that unattended animal waste can potentially get highly unpleasant and dangerous. In other words, public health and safety may be at stake.

    As a result, your HOA has every right to make it clear that all pet owners are required to clean up and properly dispose of their animal’s waste.

    Your HOA can urge residents to abide by these regulations in a few different ways. For example, It is beneficial to provide bags and trashcans throughout the neighborhood so that dog owners may easily manage the solid waste problem. In addition, it could be required to charge pet owners who break these crucial HOA regulations penalties or fees.

  3. HOA Dog Barking Rules

    Barking may also be covered under HOA pet rules. To be clear, it’s OK and healthy for dogs to occasionally bark and make noise. It would be absurd to anticipate a bark-free neighborhood. Having said that, dogs shouldn’t bark excessively or in a way that interferes with the lives of other HOA residents.

    Regarding particular pet limitations, you may always urge neighbors to notify the Board of any issues they notice with excessive barking. The Board may occasionally need to speak with a homeowner about a particular animal, asking that if the animal is unable to be quiet in the backyard at night, it be brought inside.

    Remember that occasionally pet owners aren’t aware that their dog’s noise is so upsetting to the neighborhood. As a result, it might be beneficial to simply sit down and have a casual, non-competitive conversation with them. A representative of the HOA may frequently collaborate with the homeowner to come up with a plan for reducing noise.

  4. Pet Leashing Policy

    Another thing your HOA may do is mandate that every pet be kept on a leash when being walked about the community.

    These HOA pet limitations may be beneficial for the pet since they will keep it from escaping or becoming lost. However, it can also assist in ensuring the security of other members of the community. Keep in mind that putting animals in unpleasant or unexpected settings can cause them to get triggered, even the friendliest, most non-aggressive ones. Having leashes required helps keep everyone in the neighborhood safe.

    One solution is that your HOA creates a dog park where animals may run about and burn off energy without having to be attached to their owners in addition to its leash laws. This is a fantastic approach to placate pet owners.

  5. Liability Policy for Pet Owners

    Last but not least, it’s typically advisable to add some wording concerning responsibility in your HOA pet regulations. In essence, you want to establish that people who possess pets are accountable for the behavior of such animals in the law. In this manner, the association is protected from any legal susceptibility in the event that a pet-related accident or injury occurs.

    The likelihood of time-consuming or expensive litigation will also be reduced by laws and regulations that define culpability clearly.

    Make sure everyone who owns a house or condo understands that they are legally accountable for both the behavior of any pets they own and any visitors who stay with them there. Indemnify the association and other residents from any pet-related harm, accidents, or severe disruptions.

Additional Homeowners Association (HOA) pet policies and restrictions

Do HOA rules apply to pets? Can a Homeowners association impose a pet restriction? These are typical inquiries from homeowners. However, the solutions to these queries are rather straightforward.

In general, homeowners associations do have the authority to set restrictions on the types and numbers of dogs that are allowed in a neighborhood. Various associations may have different extra HOA pet restrictions. However, the following are some of the most typical HOA dog restrictions:

  • Limit the number of pets per home.
  • Set a maximum pet weight for each dog in the HOA.
  • Permitting only a few dog breeds in the community.
  • Require the spaying or neutering of pets.

Many organizations categorically forbid “aggressive” dog breeds. But using such terminology can be challenging. There is some disagreement over several breeds, although a few are typically thought to be violent. What happens if some residents of your HOA feel the dog to be violent but others don’t?

Additionally, if the dog is a combination of two or more breeds, you can have technical difficulties. When in doubt, consult a pet control officer or consult your community’s dog breed regulations.

Can an HOA put restrictions on indoor pets?

Yes, in a nutshell, albeit it can be a little more difficult to implement certain guidelines. You may decide that it’s best to just control how animals behave outside or in public spaces (leash rules, rules about poop, etc).

These are just a few things to think about as your organization creates pet regulations that make your neighborhood a safer, friendlier, and more tranquil place to live.

Can an HOA force you to get rid of your pet?

Many organizations have a very strict no-pets rule that leaves absolutely no room for discretion. In such instances, the response to this query is based on the date the policy was put into effect. The HOA may legally require you to give up your pet if such a policy was in place before you opted to adopt one. On the other hand, there is a significant probability the HOA won’t be able to enforce the new no-pets policy against you if you already have a pet and the HOA introduces it.

The kind of association may also have an impact on an HOA’s decision to implement a no-pets policy. In comparison to single-family homes, condominium settings are often where such a policy is more prevalent. This is due to the fact that pet noise is a much bigger issue when apartments are close together.

Can the fair housing act (FHA) overrule the HOA pet policies (CC&Rs)?

In short, yes.

Service animals may be quite important to the daily wellness of the people in your community. Whatever regulations you implement, make sure they provide lots of latitude for people who use service animals in their lives, including those who require a comfort animal for emotional support.

It’s important to remember that having a pet isn’t only for pleasure; the Fair Housing Act protects individuals and family members in your neighborhood who require dogs or other animals to provide emotional support.

In other words, it is required by law for your HOA or condominium organization to provide accommodations for emotional support animals.

Make your HOA pet policy and CC&Rs clear upfront

As soon as a new homeowner moves into the neighborhood, make sure they are aware of the HOA’s pet policies. Your governing documents, which should be included in the welcome package for new homes, should clearly describe them. Additionally, it’s a good idea to periodically remind residents to abide by these regulations by displaying them on your HOA website or putting them in your newsletter.

If your board agrees to update the HOA dog rules, make sure you promptly and effectively notify all members of the modification or addition. Consider allowing time during the following meeting for questions on the adjustments as well.

Pet policies in your HOA ensure the safety and aesthetic appeal of your neighborhood.

70% of U.S. households (90.5 million homes) owned a pet as of 2022. This will reflect in your HOA community. Rather than banning pets altogether, it’s better to have clear, established, and easy-to-understand HOA dog rules for your homeowners.

As a board member, ensure that your homeowners are aware of the rationale behind these regulations. It’s not to make their lives more difficult; rather, it’s to keep your neighborhood attractive and safe. The association won’t have to deal with pet-related issues in their neighborhood as long as everyone works together.

It might be time to hire a professional to handle the homeowners association dog regulations if your board is struggling to manage them. Utilize our comprehensive online directory to find the top HOA management business in your neighborhood right now.