A central attraction of a planned residential community for many homeowners is that it is, well, planned.
If you are a property owner in a planned residential community that operates under the authority of a Homeowners Association, you've likely got your bylaws and so-called CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions; please see our May 10 blog post) ready at hand in a home-based file or storage cabinet.
Anyone who has ever lived in a planned community in Southern California for long has probably been frustrated by their HOA governance about one issue or another. It may be getting turned down for a simple landscaping idea. It may be a parking complaint. Often it is about neighbors. Who draws the line between HOA governing rules and individual homeowners' rights in California?
So, a neighbor in your planned residential community -- right next door to the dream property you and your spouse purchased and just knew would be tranquil and beautiful forever -- has put a decades-old Chevy up on blocks in his driveway and seems oblivious to the decibels its motor is cranking out while he works on it -- nightly.
Moving to a townhouse development or condominium building managed by a homeowners association (HOA) can be a real shock to some people. Despite the bylaws that must be read and signed off on by every new member before moving in, some of the restrictive covenants come as a surprise. To others, there are no covenants that can be restrictive enough. Figuring out ways to get along with your neighbors is often the first step in avoiding costly litigation.
We mentioned homeowners associations in our immediately preceding blog post, noting in our April 27 entry that HOAs oversee many planned residential communities "and administer relevant rules and regulations."