What Are CC&Rs in Real Estate

CC&Rs or covenants, conditions & restrictions, is a term most people probably are not familiar with.  If you are planning on purchasing a home or condominium that resides within a planned community, you need to be aware of the declaration of covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&R).

What Are CC&Rs?

Covenants, conditions & restrictions are legal terms that refer to the rules of a community that you must live by in order to reside in that community.  CC&Rs are typically utilized by co-ops and condominiums to aid in regulating the use, appearance, and maintenance of a property.  Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) commonly use CC&Rs as a way to regulate what homeowners can and can’t do on their property.

It’s important to know what CC&Rs are and how they can impact your day-to-day life before you move into a place that has them. Not knowing the requirement and limitations could negatively impact your lifestyle and also your wallet.

 Examples of CC&R Provisions

CC&Rs are put in place by most condominium building associations.  Here are some common provisions you will see:
  1. Exterior aesthetics – They may only allow certain paint colors and trim.  They require this to help maintain a cohesive aesthetic within the community.
  2. Interior aesthetics – If you plan on doing a big design change like changing up your flooring or paint color, you just may need to get permission.
  3. Landscaping – This looks like keeping a well-manicured landscaping.  They may also restrict the planting of certain trees and bushes.
  4. Fencing – If you plan on installing a fence, that may or may not be allowed.  Furthermore, it may need to be a certain type of fence with a certain height.
  5. Parking – The community may require residents and guests to only use designated parking spots. In addition, they may limit the number of cars allowed as well.
  6. Pets –The community may only allow certain dog breeds along with restrictions on size and weight. Furthermore, certain types of animals may be restricted.
  7. Business – If you run a business from your home that could disrupt the neighborhood, that may be restricted.
  8. Parties – There may be restrictions on where and when you can have a party or get together.
A buyer will typically be able to view these documents prior to submitting an offer on a property.  Sometimes, however, they get a complete list of the CC&Rs after signing the purchase and sale agreement.


Who enforces CC&Rs?

How CC&Rs will be enforced and who will do the enforcing, will be laid out in the Declaration of CC&Rs. Typically, it will be the neighborhood association or the homeowners association that will reinforce them.


What Penalties Can You Expect?

CC&Rs are legal, binding documents.  When it comes time to close on a home, you will be asked to sign a document stating that you have read the CC&Rs and are in agreement with them.  Once you sign the document, you are legally bound to it.  If you violate the agreement, you can face penalties such as these:

  1. A verbal or written notice – The association will send out a verbal or written notice requesting for the offense to be corrected.
  2. Issuing of a fine – This can look like a one-time fee, a daily charge for each day the offense goes unresolved or a fee for what it would cost for materials and labor to fix the problem  themselves.
  3. Suspending privileges to amenities – If you live in a community with amenities like a pool or gym, your privileges may be suspended for a period of time or until the issue is resolved.
  4. Filing of a lawsuit –  If you refuse to comply with the rules, the association may file a lawsuit that will require you to resolve the issue. Keep in mind, any legal fees incurred by the HOA might fall on your shoulders.
  5. A lien on your property – If you have unpaid dues or fines, the association has the right to put a lien on your property . Eventually, this could give the association the opportunity to foreclose on the home.

Always review the CC&Rs

If you have plans to purchase a home or condominium within a community, chances are you will be have to abide by the declaration of covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&R).  These provisions affect what you can and can’t do with your property.  For this reason, it is crucial that you fully read the documents before signing on the dotted line.


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