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Community Association Rules – By-Laws vs. Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs)


When you purchase a residence in a planned community, whether it’s a town home, a condominium or a single family home, you will probably be required as a part of your purchase to belong to and abide by certain rules set by a homeowners’ association (HOA). The documents you sign will likely include by-laws, as well as what are known as covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs).


Your homeowners’ association will most likely be established as a nonprofit entity. Under state business laws, you’ll have a governing board of directors, as well as a set of rules that govern the operation of the nonprofit corporation. Those rules are called by-laws. They don’t impose any restrictions on homeowners, but address how the homeowners’ association conducts its business. For example, the by-laws will typically identify:

  • The frequency of homeowner association meetings
  • The voting rights of HOA members
  • The various offices and the duties of those offices
  • The number of people that must be on the board of directors

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions

These are the rules that govern the actions of homeowners in a planned community. These are legally binding contracts and are typically recorded in the county offices, so that you can find out what the restrictions are before you purchase a home. The restrictions can address almost any use of your home or property. Some common restrictive covenants in planned communities include:

  • Choice of color for exterior paint or siding
  • Types of fences that are permissible (if at all)
  • Whether or not residents may have visible antennas or satellite dishes
  • Whether or not vehicles may be parked on the street or in a driveway
  • How homeowners must collect and dispose of garbage

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