What is CC&R in real estate? It is a document that you sign when you buy a property in a planned community with a homeowner’s association (HOA). It is legally binding, and your HOA files with the state.
- CC&R means covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
- There is an important difference between an HOA and CC&Rs
An HOA is the governing body which manages a property or community. It enforces CC&Rs, which are the rules for a real estate development.
What does CC&R mean?
CC&R means covenants, conditions, and restrictions, and it defines the rights and obligations of your HOA. Further, it is a restriction on a property that is recorded with the deed.
What is the Purpose of CC&Rs?
The purpose of CC&Rs is to establish rules so that the HOA can govern a community effectively. Some common regulations that CC&Rs address are:
- Property use restrictions
- Maintenance obligations
- Rule enforcement and dispute resolution
- Assessment obligations
- Insurance obligations
Communities establish these rules, and the HOA enforces them primarily to maintain property value and aesthetics. If the units are clean and nice then residents have a nicer place to live. Also, other people will want to move in, and values go up.1
Are CC&Rs a Contract?
CC&Rs are contracts. They legally bind you to the rules of the community and are filed with the state. This means that even if there is not an association, other residents may sue you if you do not follow them.
Law Insider has a blog with many CC&R examples. These documents can get long, and they are often tedious to read. There are some important elements that you should include if you need to write one:
- Use restrictions
- Maintenance requirements
- Constructions and design restrictions
- Maintenance fees
- Expiration of covenants
These primary elements should help you make an outline. However, we suggest that you hire an attorney to draft the legal instrument.2
Where are Covenants Recorded?
Covenants are recorded in your local records department with the property deed. Every jurisdiction organizes records differently, and each has its own filing system. However, most municipal governments attach them to the property deed.
Difference Between HOA and CC&R?
An HOA governs a community according to the rules, which are the CC&Rs. While the two go together, they are very different.
- CC&Rs are legal documents that define the rules governing a community.
- HOAs are organizations that enforce CC&Rs.
If you buy real estate in a planned community or condominium, the association usually makes you sign one at the time of the sale. They record it with the deed. Also, they should give you a copy for your own records.
Who can Enforce Covenants?
The HOA is usually the governing body that enforces covenants. They are private organizations, so they cannot arrest or force compliance except through the courts. If there is no HOA, then residents may attempt to enforce the regulations by suing. Finally, police do not enforce CC&Rs because they are private agreements, not laws.
How are Neighborhood Covenants Enforced?
HOAs and even individual residents do have some mechanisms to enforce CC&Rs within a community. The most common remedies include:
- Give a warning
- Assess a fine or penalty for the offense
- Take civil action against the offender
The association cannot bring criminal charges against anyone for violating neighborhood rules, but the residents are bound by the legal document they signed. Often the covenants spell out what the penalties will be for various types of infractions.
CC&Rs Without an HOA
CC&Rs are legally binding documents, and you do not need an HOA to enforce them. Sometimes, just a reminder or warning is enough to settle an issue. However, individuals can seek legal action against the offender in civil courts if the problem is serious.
Final Thoughts What is CC&R in Real Estate
CC&Rs are deed restrictions placed on real estate within a planned community. They are legally binding and attached to the deed. Usually, HOAs enforce the covenants for the community. However, if there is no managing organization individuals may enforce them through civil litigation.