What is an HOA?
HOA stands for homeowner association – a nonprofit organization that is funded by all the association’s members and overseen by an elected board of directors.
Many homes in Texas are located in subdivisions that are governed or managed by a homeowners association, or property owners association, as they are referred to in the state statutes. Property owners associations are granted certain powers under Texas state law. Here is the Texas Property Code that enumerates that powers granted to HOAs.
The primary purpose of the HOA is to enforce the policies, procedures, regulations and restrictions agreed to by the members, thereby maintaining property values. Each homeowner supports the HOA financially by paying monthly dues and occasional assessments.
If you purchase a home in an HOA community, you don’t have a choice about whether to become a member. It is required and automatic. Its very important that prospective buyers read the HOA documents before agreeing to purchase. If the documents are unavailable for review prior to purchasing a home, then ask to sign an Addendum for Property Located in a Mandatory HOA.
What does CC&R Stand for?
CC&R stands for covenants, conditions and restrictions – the governing documents for the operation of the HOA. These are the rules that homeowners, tenants and guests are obligated to follow.
If you want to paint your home purple or put up a storage shed check the CC&Rs first. CC&Rs are the rules for the community and failure to follow them could result in a hefty fine for the homeowner. Believe it or not, unpaid fines can lead to foreclosure proceedings and the loss of the home to the HOA.
Here are just a few items commonly regulated by CC&Rs, according to the authors of “Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home”:
Exterior paint color.
Outdoor play equipment such as swing sets and basketball hoops.
Garages and outbuildings.
Garbage and recycling containers.
Pets (size, breed restrictions, etc.).
Every community that has an HOA is different and therefore has a different set of “community standards”. Read the CC&Rs to make sure that you fully understand what is required.