Buying a home in a community association (also known as a homeowners association or HOA) allows you to take advantage of community amenities such as a pool or security. However, with that comes a set of legal agreements between the HOA and the homeowner that define the relationship between the two.
Before taking the next step in home ownership, it’s important to understand the governing documents for the HOA and read them thoroughly to determine if you want to join.
Articles of Incorporation
Upon purchasing a property in a planned development, the buyer automatically becomes a member of the homeowners association. This association officially forms by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The articles include basic information regarding the association, such as name, location, and purpose.
The association will also adopt a set of bylaws. Bylaws outline how the association is supposed to be run, rules and regulations for meetings, and voting procedures. In addition, the bylaws describe the rights and responsibilities of the association. It is very important to read over the bylaws carefully to learn what the association is responsible for maintaining versus the homeowner. In some cases, the bylaws may provide the procedures for creating the budget.
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)
This is one of the most important governing documents for a homeowners association. It provides a thorough explanation of the association. Even if information in another governing document contradicts what’s in the CC&Rs, the CC&Rs will take precedence.
The CC&Rs outline the land and space owned by the association and also define the restrictions on an owner’s property and common spaces. Every association member is subject to the rules, restrictions, terms, and conditions specified in the CC&Rs.
You may find restrictions you may not have thought of, such as no visible antennas or satellite dishes or requiring white curtains on windows facing the street. Depending on how old your association is, there may be amendments.
Rules and Regulations
The CC&Rs do a good job of describing basic rules and regulations, but often, associations will have a separate document specifically for rules and regulations.
These rules and regulations get into the nitty-gritty, and can be the source of many disputes. If you’re a potential homeowner, it’s your responsibility to read the document thoroughly and see if these are rules you can live by. There could be restrictions on anything from what size dog you can have to the ability to run a business out of the home.
In the search for a home in San Diego, it’s important to understand the management regulations of the HOA. Read the governing documents thoroughly before making this investment.