Covenants, conditions and restrictions

You need to understand what covenants, conditions and restrictions are. Here’s what to know.

What are covenants, conditions and restrictions?

Covenants, conditions and restrictions (commonly referred to as CCRs) are the written rules and restrictions pertaining to the use of property.

Deeper definition

Covenants, conditions and restrictions are normally determined by a developer, homeowners association or condominium board. Once established, they are filed with a county recorder’s office and are legally enforceable.

Most times, a CCR is signed at the time of purchase, and your signature acts as a promise that you will abide by the rules governing the property. Covenants are initially put in place to protect the well-being of a neighborhood and, by extension, the value of the surrounding properties in that neighborhood. Experience has shown that properly drafted and adequately enforced, CCRs help retain property value.

CCRs are primarily used in planned developments, including subdivisions and condominiums. Unless the CCRs were put in place solely by the developer, most covenants are agreed on by a board.

There are two advantages to living under CCRs that have been designed by a board. First, you can go directly to that board for clarification should any questions arise. And, you have the option of running for a position on that board if you dislike the current CCRs.

If you don’t like the CCRs in your area, you can move, but you may come across these issues selling a condo or HOA home.

Examples of CCRs

Because CCRs contain restrictions on the use of your personal property as well as any common areas in your neighborhood association, it is particularly important to read the fine print prior to signing. Here are some examples of common rules outlined in covenants, conditions and restrictions:

  • Lawns — Length, weed removal, edging, watering and when to replace dead or dying grass.
  • Parking — Where you can park, how many cars can use reserved parking spaces, and how long a non-running vehicle can be parked on the property.
  • Pets — Types of animals permitted, breeds permitted and number of animals you can own.
  • Guests — Where your guests can park and how long they are permitted to stay in your home (particularly if you live in a retirement community).
  • Maintenance — Type of mailbox you are permitted to use and the colors you are allowed to paint the exterior of your home.

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