Susan Barilich, P.C.
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The CC&R that makes your community work

If you love your home and community, you are probably active in keeping it safe and attractive, and this may include your involvement in the Homeowners Association. Your role on the board of your HOA may have its perks, but you undoubtedly deal with many headaches and responsibilities. Depending on your position on the board, you may also carry heavy legal burdens.

Perhaps you were fortunate enough to buy into the development at its early stages and, therefore, take part in the establishment of the covenants, conditions and restrictions. This set of rules is often the stumbling block of many homeowners within a planned community, and, if your job is to enforce or defend those policies, you certainly want to know them well and the limitations you have for imposing them.

Do this, not that

Your HOA's CC&R may be unique, depending on the atmosphere your residents desire to establish. The purpose of such a document is to maintain the peace of the neighborhood and protect the property values of the homeowners. Some who seek to purchase in your neighborhood may find the rules oppressive, but to you and your neighbors, they may seem a fair exchange for the idyllic environment they provide. Some common regulations in CC&Rs may include:

  • The size and color of your house
  • The use of your property, for example, to run a home-based business
  • The number and kinds of pets you may own
  • The height and construction of any fencing around your property
  • The maintenance of your home and yard

As a member of the board of the HOA, you probably deal with the ugly business of warning and fining your neighbors who violate those restrictions. While it may not be the most pleasant part of your service, it is within the legal boundaries of HOA law to enforce the CC&R of your community.

The limits of your authority

Obviously, the CC&R in your community cannot break the law. Your rules can't restrict ownership to people of certain races, religions, sexual orientation or other protected classes. Unfortunately, some CC&Rs written in the early years of planned communities contained such restrictions, and some HOA boards assume adding a disclaimer to the document relieves them of any legal liability. This may not be true, and if your CC&R is a throwback from before the Civil Rights Movement, you may wish to urge your board to take measures to rewrite the CC&R for your community.

This may be only one legal issues that could jeopardize the serenity and unity of your neighborhood, and an HOA board would do well to seek professional counsel relating to any conflicts concerning the existing CC&R. An attorney with decades of experience in California HOA law will prove a beneficial advocate.

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Susan Barilich, P.C. | 535 N. Brand Blvd., Ste. 504 | Glendale, CA 91203 | Phone: 818-500-0377 | Map & Directions