HOA COVENANTS: What They Are & Why You Need It

hoa covenants
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Members of a homeowners association are obligated to abide by certain rules and regulations that are referred to as HOA covenants. Therefore, it is essential that you get familiar with the covenants that you are required to observe before you purchase a house in a neighborhood that is governed by an HOA. As a result of this, there won’t be any more disagreements between you and the HOA in the future. Read on to understand more about HOA covenants vs. bylaws with examples, effective ways to find covenants, and possible restrictions.

Let’s set the ball rolling…

What Are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) In an HOA

HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions are essentially a set of guidelines that outline the permitted and prohibited uses of a property. They are, in the majority of instances, completely logical and simple to carry out. You might be forced, for instance, to remove your trash cans from the street at a specific time, keep your grass manicured, or paint your property a particular color.

On the other hand, as anyone who has dealt with a nightmare homeowners association (HOA) can attest to, not all HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions are sensible. There may be a great number of restrictions, and there may also be severe punishments for breaking them. Before making a decision to move into a community, it is absolutely necessary to do a careful examination of its HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions in their entirety. It is not worth living there and coping with the repercussions if you are unable to adhere to the criteria or if you do not want to adhere to the guidelines.

How HOA Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions Work

It is crucial to emphasize that these recommendations are not government-enforceable legislation. Rather, they are private contracts into freely by HOA members.

Members of HOAs are typically required to pay fees or dues. This money is for general property and grounds maintenance, including landscaping, pool maintenance, and plumbing. The monthly cost of HOA dues can range from $100 to $700, or approximately $200 on average. In general, the greater the HOA dues, the more amenities the HOA provides. The size and quantity of units in a community could also affect costs.

The CC&R specify the number of fees and how they are distributed, as well as the frequency and amount of charge increases.

Occasionally, you may be required to pay assessments. These are one-time fees for exceptional projects or emergency services that the HOA is responsible for, but which are not covered by monthly dues. This may involve removing a downed tree or repairing a burst pipe. Again, the manner in which assessments are conducted should be addressed in the CC&R.

Examples Of HOA Restrictive Covenants

Still uncertain about the examples of HOA restrictions of covenants you may encounter when purchasing a home with restrictive covenants? Let’s examine some of the examples most prevalent restrictions you may find in your HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions.

#1. Limitations On Home Color

Almost all the examples of HOA covenants limitations on home color have a restriction on paint color, and HOAs are particularly particular about it. The majority of paint restrictions stipulate a list of permissible home colors and prohibit all others. If you are looking at a home with a paint color restriction, assume that your design options will be neutral hues.

#2. Rent And Lease Restrictions

If you wish to rent out your house, you must first consult your HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Numerous examples of HOA covenants significantly restrict the ability to rent or lease out a residence. You may only be able to rent out your house for a few months or you may be unable to do so at all.

#3. Restrictions On Business Usage

Your Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions may ban you from operating a company from your residence. While most HOAs will not object if you convert your spare bedroom into a home office, anything that increases traffic for your neighbors could raise red flags.

#4. Limitations On Permissible Pets

Some HOAs impose restrictions on the types of pets allowed on a property. Your Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions may also limit the size of your pets. For instance, your HOA may restrict you to owning only small or medium-sized dogs. Your HOA may also impose restrictions on the dog breeds you may own. Many covenants exclude breeds of dogs that some consider more aggressive, such as pit bulls and German Shepherds.

The CC&R could also impose stringent restrictions on commercial breeding. Under most examples of HOA covenants, you may have a pet, but you cannot breed or sell animals from your residential property. Most covenants prohibit the raising of livestock and the ownership of farm animals as pets.

#5. Requirements For Exterior Maintenance

Your Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions will likely outline the type of property upkeep you are required to conduct. You may mow your grass periodically, take down your Christmas lights by a set date, or place your trash outdoors just on trash day. If you reside in a community that provides exterior maintenance, the HOA will ensure that the exterior of your home is up to code.

#6. Restrictions On Exterior Constructions

CC&Rs may impose limitations on the alterations and additions you make to your property. You may not be able to construct a shed, fence, or detached garage without the HOA’s prior approval. Some of the examples of covenants prohibit all additional construction.

HOA Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions vs HOA Bylaws

Homeowners’ associations adhere to a collection of documents known as governing documents. Two of these documents are the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions and the bylaws. However, what distinguishes HOA bylaws vs covenants?

Simply put, the bylaws of an association outline how the HOA should run. Typical information included in the HOA bylaws includes the responsibilities of each board member, the frequency and structure of meetings, and the voting rights of community members.

HOA covenants, on the other hand, specify what the association and its members must and must not do. Typically, these covenants address issues such as dues obligations, insurance requirements, maintenance responsibilities, dispute resolution, covenant enforcement, and property use limitations.

HOA Bylaws vs Covenants: Making Amendments

Upon organization, an HOA association normally adopts its bylaws vs covenants. Typically, the developer of the planned community is responsible for this duty. However, there are limits to what a developer may anticipate. As the community grows and changes over time, the need for new bylaws and covenants will become obvious.

The HOA bylaws and covenants of an organization can both be interchanging or vs, though the procedure is typically lengthy. If an HOA needs to modify its CC&Rs (including the addition of a new covenant), it must gain a majority vote from the community’s members.

How can I modify HOA bylaws? Similar to altering covenants, vs amending HOA bylaws is a time-consuming process that often requires homeowner approval. Both processes typically take between two and four weeks to complete and can incur attorney fees for the group.

How to Find HOA Covenants

When it comes to how to find HOA covenants the exercise can be difficult and time-consuming at times. The good news is that, due to Google, we may not have to drive to the county recorder’s office to obtain the information we require.

#1. Find the Name of the Subdivision of HOA Covenants

To learn the legal name of a village or subdivision, it may be helpful to check the website of the local county assessor. All assessor websites in the United States store and make available property information.

#2. Find HOA Covenants Corporation Information

Now that we know the official name of the neighborhood or subdivision, we can get the association’s contact information by visiting the website of the state’s corporation commission.

#3. Find Your Association’s Recorded Documents

We must visit the county recorder’s office to find all the HOA covenants association’s recorded records.

#4. Verify You Have the Correct Association

Most villages have similar names, so do not jump to conclusions. To ascertain whether a property is by an association, one must check the following documents:

  • Plan or map of a subdivision. This document depicts which lots/properties comprise a specific subdivision.
  • Generally, the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of an association list the lot numbers that are within the development and part of the association, and
  • Typically, a property deed states that the property is subject to covenants and may include the covenants’ recording number and county.

#5. Find Multiple Associations Linked to a Property

In Florida, it is typical to discover two or three associations associated with a single property. To ensure that no other associations exist, one must read the association’s CC&Rs.

In addition to how to find HOA covenants, the CC&Rs will offer the legal definition of the association-affected property. Typically, this information is as an exhibit to the CC&Rs.

#6. Contact Your Homeowners’ Association

Requesting information regarding an association’s account, such as monthly HOA fees, special assessments, board meeting minutes, and all governing papers, may be as simple as making a phone call to the association’s management business.

However, certain associations may be in check, necessitating the drafting of a brief letter requesting vital information. Remember that the board of directors of an association has a fiduciary obligation of care, reasonable inquiry, and good faith.

Amending HOA Covenants in Florida

The process of amending the governing papers can be time-consuming, and it is essential to make any appropriate changes in a precise way and sequence.

#1. Check Current Applicable Laws

First, you will need to ensure that the proposed changes are permitted by the governing documents.

For example, the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R) stipulates the association’s day-to-day guidelines. Fencing, pet restrictions, and short-term rental regulations would all fall under the CC&Rs’ purview.

The rules, on the other hand, govern the operation of the organization, including voting procedures and meeting requirements. Identifying precisely what you wish to modify or amend will direct you to the appropriate papers to address. Consultation with your association’s counsel is during this process.

#2. Create a Committee

The board of directors of the association oversees the community’s bylaws. Establishing an ad hoc committee to manage the process is the most effective method for amending the bylaws since it avoids using important board meeting times and the attention of all members. Set a timeframe. May Mokdad, regional director at FirstService Residential, recommends that the committee meet on a regular basis and provide suggested adjustments within a month to speed the process and prevent it from dragging on for many months.

At this time, it is strongly recommended that any proposed changes be reviewed by the association’s legal counsel. The attorney will have a solid understanding of the applicable laws that may have an impact on the proposed adjustments. Involving the attorney throughout the process will assist prevent future legal issues and ensure that time and effort are not redoing the changes following a member vote. Only licensed attorneys may draft amendments to Florida’s governing documents.

#4. Get Feedback From Community Members

Providing adequate time for community members to consider any proposed changes is not just a good policy, it is mandated. Check the governing papers for any particular notification requirements, such as the number of days members must evaluate changes or format regulations. Typically, the association should mail or email the proposed modifications to every member and then organize a meeting to solicit feedback. There may be issues or queries from members that the board and committee have not yet addressed. Involve the attorney in deciding the required notice and suitable method.

#5. Vote

Once any feedback has been incorporated into the proposed revisions and the attorney has given approval, the proposed amendments are available for a vote. The governing documents and state regulations will certainly demand at least the two-thirds minimum required by the Florida Homeowners Association Act. This ensures that any proposed adjustments are about a solid majority of the community. Each property gets one vote. Certain modifications, such as those affecting the voting rights of certain parcels, must be adopted by all parcels impacted.

#6. Adopt and Register the Changes

If the vote was successful, congrats, you’re nearly there. The only remaining task is the implementation of the new adjustments. Your governing documents will describe how to accept the modifications officially. For instance, they may need a meeting for adoption or written authorization. In any case, the owners must be notified of the adjustments. Clear communication with all board members is a best practice for any board and will help facilitate the implementation of any changes.

How to Change HOA Bylaws in Florida

The bylaw amendment process is in the governing papers. Typically, a particular percentage of members, such as 80 percent, must vote in favor of a proposal for it to pass. If the documents are silent, Florida HOA regulations needs consent from two-thirds of the community, based on one voting interest per property, to enact amendments. After identifying the modifications, you must determine how to convey them to the members. Some boards submit an “amended and restated” set of bylaws in which the entire document is rewritten, while others prepare a version of the original bylaws that clearly indicates all the modifications. Alternatively, you may simply specify the modifications you intend to make.

Conclusion

If you buy a house in a community with a homeowners association, you may need to negotiate a list of restricted covenants examples (HOA). Restrictive covenants govern, among other things, what you can do on your land, how you can maintain your grass, and even what color you can paint your house. Covenants may also define how you must care for, and preserve the exterior of your home.

Some homeowners appreciate restricted covenants because they aid in preserving the homogeneity and property values of a subdivision. Others hate HOAs’ control over their properties. Be sure to inquire about covenants before signing a mortgage. If you breach the covenants you agreed to when you moved in, the HOA has the right to punish you or file a lawsuit to have the concerns resolved.

HOA Covenants FAQs

Is an HOA the same as a covenant?

In addition, an HOA may do maintenance and safety tasks. A restrictive covenant is an agreement with an HOA that restricts how a property can be used.

Are Homeowners associations legally binding?

Despite the fact that the rules and regulations of an HOA are legally obligatory for association members, they are typically not enforced by law enforcement. Instead, infractions of association regulations are treated as a civil matter between the HOA and the offending member.

What happens when debt covenants are violated?

A penalty or fee assessed by the creditor to the debtor; An increase in the bond or loan’s interest rate; A boost to the collateral; or Cancellation of the loan contract.

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