What's the Difference Between Homeowners' Association (HOA) Bylaws and CC&Rs?

Learn the difference between the HOA Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and the HOA bylaws.

If you buy a home (such as a single-family home, condo, or townhome) in a planned, covenanted community, you will most likely be required to be part of a homeowners’ association (HOA). The HOA will have its own governing documents in the form of a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws.

Read on find out the difference between CC&Rs and bylaws.

Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

The Declaration of CC&Rs is the legal document that lays out the guidelines for the planned community. The CC&Rs are recorded in the county records in the county where the property is located and are legally binding. This means that when you purchase a lot or a home in a planned community, for example, you automatically become a member of the HOA.

Basically, the CC&Rs are the rules of your neighborhood. They govern what you can, cannot, or must do with respect to your home. For example, the CC&Rs may require you to keep your garage door closed or prohibit certain types of landscaping. It is also typical for the CC&Rs to regulate things such as:

  • basketball hoops
  • clotheslines
  • fences
  • TV antennas/satellite dishes, and
  • garbage cans. 

(Learn more in Homeowners' Associations (HOAs) and CC&Rs: Know What You’re Getting Into.)

If you don’t abide by the CC&Rs, the HOA may impose penalties for any violations. (Learn more about Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions in HOAs.)

Bylaws

An HOA, which is typically set up as a nonprofit corporation, is an organization established to manage a private, planned community. Like other corporations, the HOA is governed by a board of directors (who are elected by the members) and a set of rules called bylaws.

The bylaws govern how the HOA operates and contain the information needed to run the HOA as a business. For example, the bylaws cover matters such as:

  • how often the HOA holds meetings
  • how the meetings are conducted
  • the duties of the various offices of the board of directors
  • how many people are on the board, and
  • membership voting rights.

If you are thinking of purchasing a home in an HOA community (or already live in one), you should take the time to familiarize yourself with both the CC&Rs and the bylaws, so that you are aware of any neighborhood restrictions and you fully understand how the community operates.

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