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Is a new homeowner about to run afoul of the CC&Rs?

Let us say that your new planned community is almost 90 percent sold out with two sections of homes now under construction. This means many new residents, and the HOA board has been busy welcoming incoming members.

The focus of the Homeowner's Association is on ensuring that newcomers understand the CC&Rs. Nevertheless, without obtaining prior approval, one resident has begun building on a room to his house and he is in violation of the rules.

How the HOA works

A Homeowner's Association is subject to various federal laws, but it must also comply with the regulations set forth in Arizona statutes. Additionally, the community's governing documents form the framework of the HOA, and among these is the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, better known as CC&Rs. When people purchase property in the planned community, they agree to the terms of this document that then becomes an enforceable contract between the homeowners and the HOA.

Bending the rules

There are certain projects new homeowners can undertake if they wish to make improvements to their property, but the HOA has the right to approve any construction or alteration requests according to the CC&Rs. The homeowner who has begun to build a room addition is a retired carpenter who either did not read the CC&Rs carefully or misinterpreted what he did read. On the other hand, he might have thought the HOA would not grant permission to add the room and he felt the HOA board could not object once he finished the project.

Enforcing the rules

An attorney accustomed to assisting homeowner's associations with disputes involving residents will tell you that the HOA must now provide the retired carpenter with a notice that he is in violation of the community's governing documents. If necessary, the HOA can reference the rules and regulations that form part of those governing documents in addition to the CC&Rs in any proceeding that is necessary to resolve this dispute. They might settle the issue out of court, but in matters involving the interpretation of CC&Rs, litigation is always a possibility.

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