If you buy or rent a home or condo, you may know that there could be certain regulations in place through a homeowners association or a condo owners association. The intent of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) are to protect the look and integrity of the neighborhood or community, but homeowners would be wise to protect themselves by learning how they work.
When you move into a California neighborhood with a homeowners association, you likely have to sign a covenant. This is a document that essentially tells homeowners what they can and cannot do, as well as governs the use of any common areas. Before you sign, it is prudent to learn what your neighborhood covenant will mean for everything from outdoor pets to the colors you can paint your house.
Is my neighborhood's CC&R legally binding?
HOA agreements and CC&Rs are technically legally binding. If you sign and then later refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, you could face legal complications. This is why it is often necessary to seek legal guidance when dealing with an HOA dispute or potential infringement of your property rights.
How can you protect yourself?
Your agreement with your HOA or your neighborhood agreement could place certain restrictions on your ability to enjoy your home as you see fit. It could come as an unpleasant surprise to you to learn that you cannot paint your home a certain color, fence in your backyard or allow visitors to your home to park on your street. However, it is possible to protect yourself and avoid future legal conflicts by doing the following:
- Carefully read the terms of any agreement you need to sign or did sign when you moved into the neighborhood.
- Thoroughly document any potential infringement upon your personal rights.
- Seek guidance if you believe that your HOA is overstepping its bounds or acting outside the terms of the covenant.
Disputes with your HOA can be complex and lengthy. While you always have the right to fight for a reasonable and beneficial outcome to your situation, it may be beneficial to work to avoid a conflict in the first place by being fully cognizant of your rights and options as a homeowner.
Resolving disputes favorably
As a homeowner, you are entitled to vigorously defend your property rights. However, that does not mean that it is not prudent to familiarize yourself with the terms and restrictions of your neighborhood covenant.
Whether you want to resolve an ongoing dispute or better understand your rights, you would be wise to seek an evaluation of your case and an explanation of your options.