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What Are The Differences Between HOAs and CC&Rs?

Understanding the differences between an HOA and CC&Rs is crucial if you’re going to live somewhere that incorporates these two things. “HOA” Stands for homeowners association, and it is the volunteer group of homeowners in your community that uphold the rules and regulations that keep everything running smoothly for you and other homeowners.

Your Homeowners Association Will Likely Have Three Types of Governing Documents: 

Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (also known as “CC&Rs“), Rules and regulations, and bylaws. Each of these governing documents plays a key role in how the board and property managers keep your community running, and up to legal standards. But the part that each of these documents play in that effort can be confusing. 

If you were homeowner, it’s important that you know exactly how each of these three governing documents affect you and your home, and the community that you live in, so that you are more capable of understanding and working with the people who manage the place that you live in.

Covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&Rs)

  CC&Rs are legal documents that are on record and filed with your state. They act as contracts, and they cover your rights as well as your obligations as a homeowner as agreed-upon with your homeowners association.  

Some legal issues that  CC&Rs Cover are:

  • Insurance obligations 
  • protection provisions 
  • mechanisms for rule enforcement
  • dispute resolution assessment 
  • Specific maintenance obligations, both for HOA and homeowners 
  • property use restrictions

This record is a legal record that is filed with the state, so any amendments require a vote by the membership. 


Bylaws address how to enforce the above rules established by CC&Rs. . They are the “how to” manual for the rules.  By laws are also legal documents, and can be very difficult to change as they also require a vote by the membership in order to do so.  Some things that you will find under your bylaws are:

  • Number of members that serve at one time on the board 
  • Length of board member service
  • Terms, duties and responsibilities of board members 
  • Frequency of HOA board elections
  • Process for nominating and electing new board members 
  • Meeting frequency for HOA board
  • Quorum requirements

Rules and Regulations

Anything that wasn’t covered in bylaws or CC&Rs are covered in your communities rules and regulations policies. These rules are a bit easier to change, as they don’t go any higher than the HOA board. Over time, often these rules might be revised to reflect any changes in the community or any laws put out by the city or state. For example, there may be a rule that barbecues are allowed on the patio, but after the passing of certain fire safety laws within the city, the rules of the HOA would have to reflect that by banning the use of personal barbecues at all.  Even though these rules are a bit easier to change however, they still require a vote by the board and its members. 

How Are CC&Rs, Rules & Regulations, and Bylaws Determined? 

CC&Rs, rules and regulations, and bylaws are usually initially determined by developers when they first develop or incorporate the community. Real estate developers will often try to assess the type of community or zoned property before they create it, however the full picture isn’t usually painted until residents move in. 

Even though it may be difficult to do so, every rule, regulation, covenant, condition and bylaw are subject to change; It’s only a matter of what is required in order to do so. For example, CC&R changes require refiling with the state, so it’s often done sparingly and only if absolutely necessary. It’s also often done with the help of legal counsel. As for rules and regulations, they are in effect at the community level and can be changed often as all they require is a vote by homeowners in the community.

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