HOA (Homeowners’ Associations) and CC&Rs: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Home

Homeownership is a significant milestone for many individuals and families. However, it often comes with responsibilities beyond just paying a mortgage. One such aspect that potential homeowners should consider is the existence of an HOA and its CC&Rs.

HOA stands for Homeowners’ Association, while CC&Rs are its associated Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. These entities can provide benefits such as community amenities and maintenance. However, they also come with rules and fees that can impact residents’ lives.

Therefore, prospective homebuyers must understand what they’re getting into before purchasing a property governed by one.


What is a Homeowners’ Association?

A Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is an organization established within a residential community. Its goal is to manage and maintain common areas and amenities which may include:

  • Parks
  • Swimming pools
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
  • Gyms or fitness centers

It is typically governed by a board of directors elected by the homeowners within the community. The board is responsible for:

  • Enforcing the community’s rules and regulations
  • Collecting dues
  • Managing finances

What are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)?

Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are rules and regulations established by the HOA to maintain the community’s appearance, property values and quality of life for residents. Thus, the rules can cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Architectural guidelines
  • Landscaping requirements
  • Pet policies
  • Noise regulations
  • Parking restrictions

CC&Rs are legally binding and are recorded with the property’s deed. Therefore, homeowners are obligated to abide by them.

Pros of Living in a Community with an HOA

  • Amenities and Maintenance: HOAs often maintain common areas and amenities, such as parks, pools, and clubhouses. These can enhance the residents’ quality of life and property values.
  • Community Standards: CC&Rs help maintain a uniform appearance within the community. This reduces the likelihood of unkempt properties or unsightly additions.
  • Dispute Resolution: HOAs provide a framework for resolving disputes between neighbors, reducing conflicts and promoting harmony within the community.

Cons of Living in a Community with an HOA

  • Fees and Assessments: Homeowners are required to pay monthly or annual dues to the HOA to cover maintenance costs and other expenses. Additionally, special assessments may be levied for unexpected expenses or capital improvements.
  • Loss of Autonomy: CC&Rs dictate how homeowners can use and maintain their properties, limiting individual freedom and creativity. For example, rules and regulations may govern everything from exterior paint colors to parking restrictions. Others may not allow building outdoor storage sheds, while some enforce renting restrictions and occupancy limits. Some homeowners may find these rules too restrictive and feel constrained in their ability to personalize their property.
  • Enforcement Disputes: Disagreements may arise between homeowners and the HOA board regarding the interpretation or enforcement of CC&Rs, leading to costly legal battles.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Home in an HOA Community

  • Review the CC&Rs: Before purchasing a property in an HOA-governed community, carefully review the CC&Rs to understand the rules and restrictions you’ll be subject to.
  • Assess the Financial Health of the HOA: Examine the HOA’s financial statements and reserve fund to ensure they are adequately funded to cover maintenance and unexpected expenses.
  • Attend HOA Meetings: Attend HOA meetings to get a sense of the community’s dynamics and to voice any concerns or questions you may have.
  • Understand the Enforcement Process: Familiarize yourself with the HOA’s enforcement procedures and the consequences of violating CC&Rs.
  • Consider Alternative Options: If the restrictions imposed by an HOA are too stringent for your liking, explore alternative housing options that better suit your lifestyle and preferences.


Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) and Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) play a significant role in shaping the residential experience for those living within their communities. While they offer benefits such as amenities and community standards, they also come with costs and limitations that prospective buyers should carefully consider.

With due diligence, buyers can make an informed decision about whether buying a property within an HOA-governed community is the right choice for them.