An HOA uses several types of governing documents to ensure that the association is run well, the community remains appealing, and the peace and harmony in the community are kept.

It’s important for all homeowners and board members as well as potential buyers to know and understand these documents. Here’s what you need to know about each of them:


The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) contain the most comprehensive and important information about the community and its operation. CC&Rs take precedence over other governing documents in terms of legal importance.

The Declaration of CC&Rs states the general structure of the development, including the boundaries of each lot or unit, and what parts of the development are common areas owned by the association.

CC&Rs also outline the rights and obligations of each owner and those of the HOA, including maintenance responsibilities. They describe the community’s operating costs and how fees will be collected from homeowners.They also lay out HOA’s powers of enforcement and procedures to resolve complaints and disputes.

Older developments may have a number of amendments revising the original terms. Most CC&Rs also contain procedures for amendments.

Every homeowner, including the Board, must abide by all the rules, restrictions, terms, and conditions found in the community’s CC&Rs. 

Community Plans

Community Plans may be included in CC&Rs. Sometimes used interchangeably with “subdivision map,” Community Plans are drawings or illustrations of how a development is divided into units or lots. They also mark the official boundaries of a planned development.


Simply put, HOA bylaws describe how the association is run.

They contain procedures and mechanics of announcing and holding HOA meetings, HOA voting, board elections, as well as methods of record-keeping and reporting. Some may also include procedures for creating the annual budget and determining assessment amounts.

In some communities, their Bylaws also outline the HOA’s rights and responsibilities such as covenant enforcement and assessment collection.

Rules and Regulations

Whereas general rules and restrictions are described in the CC&Rs, the specific and more detailed rules are found in the lengthy documents, Rules and Regulations.

The Rules and Regulations may contain information on the property’s appearance, pets, waste disposal, parking, recreational facilities, as well as holiday decor. Many associations have Rules and Regulations prohibiting outside storage and trash in yards, limiting the types and sizes of pets homeowners can have, and even regulating the height of fences the homeowners can have.

The Rules and Regulations are commonly violated and disputed by residents. These are the 10 Most Common HOA Rules Violations.

Articles of Incorporation/Association

Often called “the articles”, they are usually brief documents that contain basic information about the Association, its name, location, and its purpose. The Articles assert that the HOA is a nonprofit mutual-benefit corporation. They also identify its initial agent or the authorized individual who receives legal notices on the HOA’s behalf.


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