What Are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions?
Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) are the rules set out by a homeowners’ association (HOA) with regards to homes in a planned community. Not all communities fall under this definition; therefore, when looking to buy a new property it is important to know if it has an HOA.
The CC&Rs describe the rules and limitations of homeowners within their neighborhood. Many of these rules follow common-sense, and would be ones that many homeowners would follow in other neighborhoods (planned, or not). Along with these, are limitations that may seem restrictive to some people and their lifestyles, which is why homeowners should properly read the CC&Rs before moving in.
If a house is in a planned community, the potential homeowner must agree to all conditions. A violation of a single rule can result in forced compliance, a lawsuit, or fines.
Depending on the neighborhood, HOAs may set out different CC&Rs. Some CC&Rs require homeowners to not have fences higher than a certain limitation, or no fences at all. This may be burdensome on those who have pets, like dogs, that must be contained. Furthermore, a CC&R may not allow certain breeds of dogs, larger pets, or other livestock.
Moreover, a CC&R also limits how a homeowner designs their house. It can stipulate that all property must be one external color (or from a set number of choices), and no one can violate this. Also, some people tend to store their belongings in their garage, and then park their car in front of their house. However, a CC&R can restrict this by requiring all cars to remain in garages overnight. Therefore, carefully read and follow every rule set out in a CC&R.