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What Are Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) in HOAs?

In California, as in other states, if you live in a house or other development that’s part of a homeowners’ association, you will be usually be subject to the rules in the subdivision’s  Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.

Generally, if you buy a home, such as a single-family residence, in a planned, covenanted community, it is highly likely, at close of escrow, you will  be required to sign CCRs and  be part of a homeowners’ association (HOA). The rules of the HOA community are described in what’s called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). The CC&Rs describe the requirements and limitations of what you can do with your property. The goal of the CC&Rs is to protect, preserve, and enhance property values in the community.

Retail and Office parks will also usually have CCRs.

Most  rules make sense and are easy to accept; For example,  you will be glad that your HOA has an architectural committee that will not allow your neighbor to paint his house pink.  It’s easy to understand a covenant that requires you to keep your yard up or prevent you from parking vehicles on the street. What binds you also applies to your neighbors.

Nevertheless,  other rules might be at cross purposes with your plans or strike you as being unreasonable. For example,  you may want to park your car in the street or  turn your house into a home office. The HOA might require you to park your car in the garage or restrict what you can do with the home. Or, maybe you’re planning to paint your house. But after reading the CC&Rs, you find out that the community doesn’t allow certain improvements without HOA approval. For example, if you are planning a project —for example, painting your house a new color—you will  need to check with the CC&Rs to ensure that the paint color you have chosen isn’t prohibited.

If you violate the CC&Rs, you could face penalties, like fines and various other consequences.