Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (commonly known as CC&Rs) are found in homeowners’ association documents. Most condominiums, townhomes and closed gated communities have these agreements to maintain the quality of the area. They set out specific limitations and restrictions regarding your property.
Some of the most common examples of these terms include:
- Required lawn maintenance
- Restrictions on building additions or outbuildings
- Color restrictions
- Limitations on where you can park or how big your garage can be
- Fencing restrictions
- Limitations on how many pets or the type of pets you can have
While some terms may make a lot of sense, such as ensuring that your lawn is mowed, other conditions can be a real nuisance. Violations usually lead to penalties such as fines or restricting the use of common areas, such as pools or the community gym. The homeowners’ association could also file a lawsuit against you in some situations. Many of the same disputes occur over and over again. A few of the most common are set out below.
1. Structures that obstruct views
Some of the most common disputes involve ambiguous or unclear restrictions. Views are one of those areas. Sometimes view restrictions are overlooked. However, they are also open to interpretation in many instances. For example, does a building restrict the view if you can still see around it from the top window in the home? Does it limit the view if you can see through it? These issues are sometimes hotly contested because the structure has already been erected and is entirely finished by the time a neighbor complains about it.
2. Noise complaints
Noise is sometimes a big issue in neighborhoods. Again, CC&Rs relating to sound are not always clear. In addition, what one person considers noise may be music to another person’s ears. Although noise complaints are usually easy to fix, one homeowner may be stubborn and refuse to comply while the other may be unreasonable in what he or she considered a nuisance.
3. Home-based businesses
Some HOAs restrict how you can use your house. The most common example is that you cannot run a home-based business out of the structure unless certain conditions are met. Because home businesses can often be harmless, a complete restriction may be challenged. However, if the limitation specifically does not permit you to have customers in your home, then that might make more sense for the neighborhood.
Preventing Common CC&R Disputes
Most CC&R disputes can be avoided by carefully reading your HOA’s rules. However, many people purchase houses without reviewing these rules first. They may not realize that they cannot do whatever it is they are trying to do. Be sure to ask your realtor if there are rules you should review before you put in an offer on a home. If a dispute arises, Adler Law, P.C. can help. Call today for more information.