A homeowners' association is made up of the people who own homes in the same development. When you buy a new home, you may be entering into a homeowners' association as well. These associations hold much power over what you can and cannot do with your home.
What are CC&Rs?
CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) are restrictions that give homeowners' associations the power to make decisions. Many of these CC&Rs are included in deeds to new houses. Depending on the nature of your homeowners' association, these restrictions may be enforced loosely or stringently. Homeowners' associations usually have an eye out for increasing the value of the houses, and act correspondingly.
Should I Buy a House with CC&Rs?
When buying a house, it is important to make yourself aware of everything you are getting into. Read over your deed and make sure that any CC&Rs are suitable and acceptable to your needs. If you fail to read your deed, you may be signing onto more than you bargained for. Also, after moving in, avoiding CC&Rs may be difficult. You may have to apply for a variance, get the association's (your neighbors') permission, and potentially appear before a formal hearing.
What Types of Things Can Be Regulated by the Homeowners' Association?
Almost anything affecting your home life can be regulated by your homeowners' association, including:
- Fences, noise, trees
- Garages, garbage cans
- Home businesses
What Kinds of Fees Can the Homeowners' Association Charge Me?
As a member of a homeowners' association, you may have to pay fees for property maintenance. Before buying a house, make sure you know how much you will have to pay in fees and where your money is going. Some associations may simply raise fees without input from homeowners.
Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with Homeowners' Associations?
A real estate lawyer can help you decide whether or not to buy a house. A lawyer would be able to point out the CC&Rs located in a deed. It is up to you to decide, after viewing the deed, whether or not you can live with any restrictions.