Decoding HOA Governing Documents: The Declaration

homeowners association

A Declaration is an essential part of the governing documents of a homeowner’s association (HOA). It is a legal document that outlines the rules, regulations, and restrictions that govern the community. The Declaration establishes the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that homeowners must abide by, ensuring that the community operates smoothly and harmoniously.

The Declaration is created when the developer of the community creates the HOA, and it becomes a legally binding document that all residents must follow. The Declaration typically outlines the HOA’s purpose, its powers, and its limitations, and it may also contain provisions that govern the use of common areas, the maintenance of the community’s appearance, and other rules that help to maintain the property values of the community.

One of the most important functions of the Declaration is to establish the rights and obligations of the HOA and its members. This includes the HOA’s authority to enforce its rules and regulations, levy fines, and take legal action against homeowners who violate the CC&Rs. The Declaration also outlines the procedures that the HOA must follow to enforce its rules, such as giving notice to the homeowner and providing an opportunity for a hearing.

Another critical function of the Declaration is to establish the rights and responsibilities of individual homeowners. The document typically outlines the types of modifications that homeowners can make to their properties, such as the color of their homes, landscaping, and other exterior features. The Declaration may also specify the size and types of vehicles that homeowners can park on their property and the types of pets that are allowed in the community.

The Declaration also sets out the financial obligations of homeowners. This includes the payment of assessments or dues to the HOA, which are used to cover the costs of maintaining common areas, landscaping, and other shared amenities. The Declaration may also specify the penalties for non-payment of assessments or dues, which can include late fees, interest charges, and even foreclosure.

The Declaration is a critical document in the governing documents of an HOA. It establishes the rules and regulations that govern the community and helps to ensure that the property values of the community are maintained. It also sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the HOA and its members and outlines the financial obligations of homeowners. Homeowners should review the Declaration carefully to understand their rights and responsibilities and to ensure that they comply with the CC&Rs.