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Community Association Documents Explained

Living in a community association brings many benefits, from shared amenities to a sense of belonging. However, it also entails certain responsibilities and obligations governed by a set of documents that residents must adhere to. In this blog post, we will explore the different community association documents that play a crucial role in shaping the rules and regulations of these shared living spaces.

Keep reading below for a overview of community association documents and what they mean.

1.     Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R): The cornerstone of community association governance is the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, commonly known as CC&Rs. This document outlines the overarching rules and regulations that all residents must follow. It covers a wide range of topics, including architectural guidelines, property usage, and restrictions on certain activities. CC&Rs are legally binding and typically last for the entire life of the community.

2.     Bylaws: Community associations also adopt bylaws that provide a framework for the internal operation and management of the association. Bylaws typically cover topics such as the structure of the board of directors, the election process, meeting protocols, and the responsibilities of various committees. Bylaws serve as the organizational backbone of the community association and are essential for maintaining order and transparency.

3.     Articles of Incorporation: Incorporated community associations are entities with legal standing. The Articles of Incorporation establish the association as a legal entity and provide details about its purpose, structure, and powers. This document is filed with the state and is a fundamental piece of the association's legal identity.

4.     Architectural Guidelines: To maintain a cohesive aesthetic and protect property values, many community associations implement architectural guidelines. These guidelines dictate the permissible architectural styles, landscaping standards, and exterior modifications that homeowners can make to their properties. Architectural control committees are often responsible for reviewing and approving proposed changes in accordance with these guidelines.

5.     Rules and Regulations: In addition to the CC&Rs, community associations often establish specific rules and regulations that address day-to-day living issues. These may cover topics such as noise restrictions, parking regulations, and pet policies. While the CC&Rs set the broad framework, rules and regulations provide the flexibility to address evolving community needs.

6.     Reserve Study: Financial planning is a critical aspect of community association management. A reserve study outlines the long-term capital needs of the community and ensures that adequate funds are set aside for major repairs and replacements. This document helps prevent financial strain on homeowners when unexpected expenses arise.

Understanding the various community association documents is crucial for residents and board members alike. These documents collectively create a framework for harmonious living, provide guidelines for property management, and contribute to the overall well-being of the community. By familiarizing themselves with these documents, residents can actively participate in the governance of their community and contribute to its success and longevity.

7.     Plat Map: A community association plat, often referred to simply as a "plat," is a detailed map or plan that illustrates the layout and division of land within a community association. This document plays a fundamental role in the development and management of the community, providing a visual representation of property boundaries, lots, streets, and common areas.

8.     Articles of Incorporation: The Articles of Incorporation for a community association are foundational legal documents that formally establish the association as a legal entity. These articles are filed with the relevant state authority and provide essential information about the structure, purpose, and operation of the community association.

If you have questions about your association's document hierarchy, myStreet can help!

In March we'll be discussing the idea of community; what community means to us as individuals, how neighborhoods can foster a great sense of community, and how a well-trained community manager can help associations reach their community goals.

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