By Dayv Morgan
A very important part of moving into a neighborhood governed by a homeowners’ association is the “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.”
It explains rights and obligations of the homeowners and the HOA. The association usually has policies on color palettes, landscaping, use of RV gates, street parking and additions like ramadas. The CC&R’s are legally binding rules that are filed with the state.
Homebuyers usually receive their CC&R’s from the escrow company, both electronically and as hard copy or on a disk. They have five days to review the CC&R’s. Even if final inspections have been made, the homebuyer can still back out at this time if they find something in the CC&R’s that is objectionable.
CC&R’s in Maricopa vary from HOA to HOA. Their enforcement also varies according to state law. For instance, an HOA that has had its CC&R’s regarding parking on public streets in place by 2014 can enforce those restrictions. Newer CC&R’s, however, are superseded by local law.
Read the CC&R’s carefully. There is usually an “architectural standards” section, which pretty much applies to anything on your property that can be seen from the road. Understand what is your responsibility and what the HOA is supposed to maintain. If the CC&R’s are not clear, contact the community manager.
Homeowners who rent their homes will receive notices of violations of which their tenants are accused. Lease agreements can include a stipulation holding the tenant responsible for CC&R violations. If you are a renter, ask your landlord or property manager for a copy of the CC&R’s. It is often the homeowner rather than the HOA who will notify you of violation complaints.
HOA members should understand the details of the CC&R’s and be on top of any updates. I had a client who repainted his house the exact same color it already was only to be told he should have asked the HOA first because they had changed the accepted color palette.
CC&R’s may also detail the minimum and maximum number of plants and shrubs. One client bought his house only to find out he had to install more bushes in the front yard.
Is your gazebo visible over your back wall? Has the car parked in the street not moved since 2010? Has your neighbor’s trash can been sitting on the sidewalk more than 48 hours? How long can you keep your holiday decorations up?
Understanding and abiding by the CC&R rules covering these details will make HOA life a little easier. The early discovery of rules that would directly conflict with your lifestyle and budget will save you from making an investment you could come to regret.
Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.
This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.