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Understanding your HomeOwner Covenants

If you are buying a property in some areas in America, you could find that it is compulsory that you join the Homeowners Association of the neighborhood. Regulations are usually set out in what is known legally as CC&R’s. CC&R’s are an abbreviation for HomeOwner Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and you will be unsurprised to hear that the document serves as a contractual agreement that you are bound by.

In some organizations, these obligations include paying a fee of membership that goes towards the upkeep of the environment you live in, and ensuring that you follow the rules and regulations which are set by the HOA that represents you.

Some of these homeowner’s association CC&R’s can be rather wordy, with some of these documents running into hundreds of pages in the worst-case scenarios. It’s sad but true that many new homeowners in an area proceed to agree to be bound by these documents without knowing the full implications of being so. Always read and understand the CC&R’s, and understand them. Common restrictions that are set out by these covenants likely include the privilege of changing how your home looks. This is due to the fact that this could make your property look inconsistent when compared to other homes which are similar to yours.

As time goes on, you can be likely to find that circumstances in the area that your HOA covers changes. When dramatic changes occur, this needs to be reflected in the covenants. If a change could affect you directly, it is highly likely that the change should be put to a vote with all homeowners who are a member of organization having the right to give their opinion. Usually, a majority is required for a motion to be passed – even though this statistic does vary from HOA to HOA, for a properly run and managed HOA, the average majority always has to be more than 50%, or a quorum as defined in your bylaws. A quorum defines exactly how many people are required to change or adapt a new regulation.

The CC&R agreements that you sign are legally binding. Some contracts have more power than others; it depends on the State in which the Homeowners Association covenant is based. There are some aspects of HOAs that can be reminiscent of local governments – and, resultantly, some organizations have the entitlement to fine their members if they violate a particular rule or regulation from the contractual agreement signed.

There have been instances where lawsuits have been filed against people who haven’t followed through and paid the fine that they owe to the HOA. With lawyers who are dedicated to obtaining the fines that are due to a HOA, it could be said that this isn’t a very good move to make unless you have good reason.

A word for the wise: be sure to read the CC&R’s that comes with any Homeowners Associations you have to join before you sign the dotted line. It is important that you do not object to any of the rules and regulations that are in the covenant because you can be affected by them later. Additionally, ensuring that you ensure that you are not violating any of the regulations in a Homeowners Association covenant before you make any renovations or changes to your property can help you to keep on the good side of your HOA.