HOA Regulations You Need to Know
Each homeowners association has certain rules and regulations in place that help govern the community and it’s facilities. Not every HOA will have the same regulations across the board, but there are a few that tend to be universally recognized.
As an HOA board member, it’s important to understand the basic fundamentals behind these rules and regulations.
What Are the CC&Rs?
The CC&R stands for for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. This is essentially what gives the homeowners association the power to dictate and enforce any rules upon the property owners within the association must follow. These rules and regulations are not contingent on the property owners themselves but are prevalent regardless of ownership. That means the rules for one property owner will be the same for another.
So What Rules Are Governed By the CC&Rs?
The CC&Rs outline certain HOA regulations such as noise level, pets, common areas, landscaping, and other aspects of the community. For example, many associations ban the use of glass, food, and beverage in or around the community pool.
Moreover, the CC&Rs give the HOA board the power to change and enforce payments by property owners within the community, as well as what will happen in instances of late or non-payments.
Part of the duties of HOA board members is to ensure that all community property owners are aware of the rules and regulations in place. Typically, that means signed documentation by all parties, especially in order to avoid legal complications. A good HOA board will make the rules easily accessible to the community, as well as any amendments.
However, the enforcement of these rules and regulations can often be difficult. In cases such as these, an expert association management company, such as Elite Management Services, can be hired by the association board members. The management company will be familiar with all of the CC&Rs and be able to effectively enforce them. The outside management professionals do not replace the active HOA board or its members, but rather help organize and enforce any of the restrictions in place.
Yet, the CC&Rs are not the only governing body within the association. The ARC dictates the other half of community restrictions.
What is the ARC?
The ARC stands for Architectural Review Changes and it’s a committee that sets forth guidelines for how the community looks, versus the CC&Rs that establishes how it is operated. The ARC committee is responsible for enforcing any restrictions on property exteriors that are outlined within the CC&Rs. Typical restrictions enforced on homeowners are things such as exterior paint color, the existence of a fence or fence height, garage architecture, or any other overt appearance of a property. If one was to build a property within an association, the ARC would then dictate how the house was built. Any exterior renovations, alterations, or additions would also have to be approved by the ARC committee.
The ARC’s main purpose is to ensure the presence of the association and how it is presented. In other words, the committee won’t approve any property changes that will reflect negatively on the association as a whole.
Between the CC&Rs and the ARC, there are multiple restrictions in place that need to be consistent with each governing body. HOA board members can elect to hire a management company to help ensure that these restrictions do not conflict with one another and that all relevant matters are handled efficiently.
Alternatively, because HOA board members are volunteers and typically have little to no experience dealing with the complexity of an association, the assistance of an association management company is often sought out. Elite Management Services offers a unique Board Member Education Program that can help board members understand the ins and outs of their HOA.
Changing the Rules
Similar to other governing bodies, the rules and regulations set forth by an HOA do not have to be permanent. In fact, it is part of each HOA board to review the restrictions and make any amendments they feel necessary in order to improve the community. Many rules can be challenged by individual community members via different outlets. In most cases, a formal letter will need to be written by the individual(s) looking to change the rule and then the board members will have to decide whether or not to make an amendment. Unfortunately, some complaints will be a matter of budget rather than a specific regulation and therefore won’t always be correctable. In other cases, the regulation may be completely justified and there is no need to alter it for the sake of one individual. Although, it’s important for HOA board members to listen to the community members and identify restrictions that are no longer necessary, or create more problems than they solve.
The HOA board members will also be responsible for meeting periodically, depending on association size, to discuss the budget and regulations amongst one another. Holding community meetings is also expected of board members, especially to hear out community complaints or announce an effective change.
Elite Management Services offers numerous different services, whether it’s handling a budget, managing the property, or assisting with the CC&Rs. If you feel as though outside help is needed to get your association back on track, request a proposal from EMS today.