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CC&Rs are covenants, conditions and restrictions applied to homeowners who live in areas that have a homeowners’ association. CC&Rs must be disclosed prior to final sale of a home, and can sometimes make the difference between whether or not a home is purchased. CC&Rs set forth particular rules that must be followed by the purchaser. Failure to comply with CC&Rs can result in warnings, fines and legal action against the homeowner. An agreement to purchase is assessed as an agreement to follow all CC&Rs.
If, for example, the home has a pool, certain rules may apply. Pool use may be limited to the occupants of the home, or it may be allowable to bring guests to use the pool if prior notice is given. There may exist pool hours, or restrictions on the age of guests using the pool. Perhaps, children under 13 unaccompanied by adults are not allowed in the pool, or bringing food to the pool may be unacceptable.
CC&Rs may also set forth restrictions on home appearance. In some communities, emphasis is placed on architectural design. Some communities pride themselves on structural appearance that does not detract from the environment in which the homes are placed. Homes that are supposed to appear natural cannot be painted in colors that are inconsistent with the homeowners’ association’s aesthetics.
Materials used for building or remodeling may likewise be dictated by CC&Rs. Homeowners’ associations may restrict building on to a house, or limit house additions to specific sizes. This is an additional irritation for some homeowners, because any rebuilding project must also conform to city ordinances. New homeowners who are considering expanding their families and hoping to build additions on a relatively small house may find themselves bound not to do so by CC&Rs.
CC&Rs in retirement communities often have specific rules for allowing those under the age of 18 to visit. If a grandparent wants to have a grandchild visit for a few days, he or she may have to give prior notice to the homeowners’ association specifying the dates of the visit. In many cases, the length of time a child under 18 can visit is defined by CC&Rs.
Some variants on CC&Rs may include restrictions on reselling homes that are offered to low-income buyers. Those qualifying for the purchase of low-income homes may be bound to resell the house at a significantly below-market rate. This can reduce profits if the home is sold when real estate becomes more valuable. It can also make moving to a bigger and better house less feasible.
Renters who live in homes, apartments, and condos that have CC&Rs should be apprised of limitations before entering into a contract with a homeowner. CC&Rs may limit pets to specific breeds and types, or disallow them completely. They may also stress certain maintenance of the property; for instance, all windows may have to be covered with specific types of well-cleaned blinds or shades. Cars owned by the renter must be properly registered and can be towed if registration is not current.
Some agreement between the renter and homeowner may be reached on which aspects of maintenance are the responsibility of the homeowner, and which are the responsibility of the renter. Better landlords will probably take on most of the property maintenance costs, as well as any fees to the homeowners’ association, as the owners are ultimately responsible for any violations of the CC&Rs.
Many homeowners like CC&Rs because they provide a level of predictability and an expectation of behavior that can be enforced if necessary. Some details of CC&Rs may not be rigidly enforced, and this can engender problems, as there are usually a few people who want to see all CC&Rs upheld and may create tension by constantly reporting other homeowners for what most view as minor infractions.
Homeowners who are spontaneous or eclectic may not respond well to details in CC&Rs because they limit what one can do with one’s own property. If one wants to paint a house hot pink, build on to the house, or raise exotic ferrets, a home that comes attached with CC&Rs is probably not a good choice, unless one can find a homeowners’ association that will allow one to do these very things.