A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on Covenants, Conditions + Restrictions, Im sure you remember everything I covered. Either way, Ill try not to take offense. However, it does relate to this weeks topic so I think a quick review would be fair as many people do not know the difference between the CC&R’s and the HOA. Interestingly enough the original rules are not made by the HOA, but enforced by them.
According to Attorney, Amy Loftsgordon, “the Declaration of CC&Rs is the legal document that lays out the guidelines for the planned community. The CC&Rs are recorded in the county records in the county where the property is located and are legally binding. This means that when you purchase a lot or a home in a planned community, for example, you automatically become a member of the HOA.
Basically, the CC&Rs are the rules of your neighborhood. They govern what you can, can't, or must do with respect to your home. For example, the CC&Rs might require you to keep your garage door closed or prohibit certain types of landscaping. It's also typical for the CC&Rs to regulate things like:
- basketball hoops
- TV antennas/satellite dishes, and
- garbage cans”
HOA’s have a tendency to get a bad rap because people don’t like to be told what they can do with something they own but as you just read, you knew this when you purchased the place. Not to mention, the blame should be placed on the CC&R’s, not the HOA (small chuckle). Sooo what is the HOA’s job then? A Home Owners Association, typically referred to as a HOA, exists to manage and enforce the CC&R’s (we learned about this in a previous REAL Vocabulary blog: Covenants, Conditions + Restrictions).
Amy’s article also covered the details of an HOA’s duties: “An HOA, which is typically set up as a nonprofit corporation, is an organization established to manage a private, planned community. Like other corporations, the HOA is governed by a board of directors who are elected by the members and a set of rules called bylaws.
The bylaws govern how the HOA operates and contain the information needed to run the HOA as a business. For example, the bylaws cover matters such as:
- how often the HOA holds meetings
- how the meetings are conducted
- the duties of the various offices of the board of directors
- how many people are on the board, and
- membership voting rights.”
If you already live in an HOA community or you're thinking about buying a home in an HOA community you should take a word(s) of advice: READ THE CC+R’s, GO TO THE HOA MEETINGS! By taking the time to familiarize yourself with both the CC&Rs and the bylaws you're then acutely aware of any neighborhood restrictions and you fully understand how the community operates.
*Tip: if you don’t want people to help manage your neighborhood, keep it clean and well kept and require neighbors to do the same, don’t buy a home that has an HOA :)
Questions? Comments? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org