When I was in High School, I took two years of Latin. I am not sure why. Even at that time, it was a language that was no longer used. Neither my family nor friends were ever impressed with 18 or even 80 conjugated forms of the verb 'porto'.
Since that time, I still have not met anyone who could speak Latin and it is certainly not something that people naturally pick up in everyday life. In the same way, very few people naturally acquire knowledge of such things as CC&Rs, ByLaws, or related items in their everyday life.
Until you move into a homeowner association, the idea that there are a large body of homeowners association documents out there might not even be something you know at all. With this in mind, we'll take a glimpse into the typical governing documents of California homeowner's associations. These usually include the Articles of Incorporation, the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), the ByLaws, and any Architectural Guidelines or Rules. Today we will consider the Articles of Incorporation and the CC&Rs.
Articles of Incorporation
The Articles of Incorporation ("Articles") are only a few pages long. They are filed at the state level with the Secretary of State. This is the document that identifies the association as a corporation (the association is "Incorporated"). Generally, after the Articles are filed with the state, they are rarely referred to or needed in the day-to-day operation and management of the association.
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs)
In contrast, the CC&Rs are recorded at the county level in which the association is located and they are very relevant to the daily life of the association.
When you buy into a community with CC&Rs, you agree to the terms of this document. With that agreement you receive certain rights and have certain obligations. You have a responsibility to follow the CC&Rs.
This document outlines restrictions on the use of your property, explains maintenance responsibilities of both owners and the association, and covers various other topics such as:
- Insurance requirements
- Dispute resolution
- Architectural issues
- Responsibilities for payment of assessments
It's helpful to have a company that is familiar with all of the homeowners association documents to assist your board in staying compliant.