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HOA Homefront: What surprises lurk in your CC&R s?

Amongst the association governing documents consisting of articles of incorporation, tape-recorded map or plan, laws, running guidelines and covenants, conditions, and constraints (” CC&R s”), the CC&R documents are arguably the most essential.

Here are 11 aspects of CC&R s that might surprise you, before you read them.

CC&R s are:

Public files. When submitted with the County Registrar/Recorder (aka, “taped”), CC&R s end up being a public document and anyone can see a copy.

Binding all owners. CC&R s bind all owners, no matter whether they read it, comprehended it, or got a full copy of it. As a recorded file, CC&R s are a “covenant running with the land,” indicating a legal commitment attaching to the land and for that reason its owners.

Usually not reviewed up until far too late. Many buyers relate to CC&R s as boilerplate to be evaluated ultimately. Despite the fact that they do not sign it, purchasers must read it as thoroughly as the purchase contract.

Your covenants, not just those of the association. CC&R s place rights and obligations on the association along with upon each member. If a neighbor breaches the covenants, you have the same right to deal with the problem.

Often dispersed in draft or unrecorded format. “Authorities” CC&R s will have a recording number from the County Recorder on each page. Associations often incorrectly distribute unrecorded copies initially received from the designer. Obtaining a copy of the main document is easy.

Typically imposed by courts, even if they seem unreasonable. The California Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that CC&R s are presumed enforceable, with some narrow exceptions (such as if they contradict a law).

Often not written with your HOA in mind. Initial developer-supplied CC&R s frequently are boilerplate with parts not appropriate to the community. This is because the designer’s primary interest is to obtain fast approval from the Department of Property to begin selling the houses. Many designer lawyers submit pre-approved type CC&R s to the DRE, speeding processing of the application, however likewise resulting in a file, which is often sporadic and uncomfortable to the special elements of the specific community.

Typically modified by vote of all members but amendable by the board in 3 scenarios: To remove prohibited discriminatory language (Civil Code 4225( b)) or designer access rights for construction or marketing (Section 4230( b)), or to upgrade CC&R s old statute number recommendations to the new Civil Code numbers in impact considering that 2014 (Section 4235). Such amendments need to be authorized in an open conference and submitted with the Recorder.

In some cases called by other names, such as “upkeep contract” or “statement of trust,” for instance. What is necessary is not the title but the reality it is taped on all the homes in the association.

Often expiring. In previous times, developer attorneys would draft CC&R s with expiration dates. Modern CC&R s either have no expiration date or automatically renew. Do not let the CC&R s end if it states a termination date– restore and then change that termination out of the document.

The glue holding your neighborhood together. As limitations upon owner autonomy, CC&R s can appear invasive at times. These limits assist to secure neighbors from unneighborly habits and versus homes interfering with the neighborhood. When neighbors paint their garage with purple zebra stripes, CC&R s constraints unexpectedly end up being more appreciated.

To prevent CC&R surprises, read it.

Kelly G. Richardson CCAL is a Fellow of the College of Neighborhood Association Attorney and Partner of Richardson Ober DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm understood for neighborhood association recommendations. Send out questions to

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