When one buys a property in a community with a homeowners association (HOA), it is quite common to be asked to sign a homeowners association agreement. An HOA agreement, or a CC&R (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) agreement, is a legal contract that stipulates the responsibilities of the community and the property owners within. These agreements are not to be taken lightly, as they can have a significant impact on one`s home and lifestyle.
However, not all HOA agreements are created equal. Sample HOA agreements can help one gain a clearer understanding of what to expect from HOA living and what the agreement entails. These samples can be found online or from the HOA themselves.
Here are some of the key provisions to look for in a sample HOA agreement:
1. Maintenance Responsibilities: The agreement should specify the maintenance responsibilities of the HOA and the property owner. Who is responsible for maintaining the lawn, the common areas, and the exterior of the property? Is there a fee for maintenance services, and if so, how much is it?
2. Architectural Guidelines: The agreement should outline the architectural standards that must be followed when modifying the property. The guidelines should cover everything from house paint color to the installation of a fence.
3. Use Restrictions: The agreement should specify what activities are allowed and prohibited within the community. For instance, there may be restrictions on the type of business that can be conducted from home, or there may be restrictions on the number of cars that can be parked in a driveway.
4. Collection of Fees: The agreement should specify how the HOA will collect fees and fines from property owners who fall behind on payments. Understanding the fee structure and late-payment penalty is important to avoid any surprises.
5. Dispute Resolution: The agreement should include provisions for resolving disputes between the HOA and property owners. There should be a clear process for disputing a violation, contesting a fine or resolving any other issue that may arise.
In conclusion, sample HOA agreements can provide valuable insights into what to expect in an HOA community. Understanding the provisions of the HOA agreement beforehand ensures that one is aware of the rules and regulations that need to be followed. It is essential to review the agreement carefully before signing on the dotted line to avoid any surprises later on.