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Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions Disputes

A CC&R, or Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, is a legally binding document that outlines the rules and regulations for property owners within a Condo or Homeowners Association (HOA). CC&Rs are designed to maintain the integrity of a neighborhood, protect property values, and ensure the enjoyment of the community for all residents.

The CC&R is an essential document for every Condo or Homeowners Association. Because of its vital role in the successful operation of such associations, a CC&R should always be carefully and skillfully drafted to meet the needs of all relevant parties.

However, members of these associations may disagree with or violate terms in even the most carefully drafted CC&R, which can lead to disputes between members and the association. Whether you need to create a quality CC&R or if you need to settle a dispute regarding a CC&R, the experienced Seattle real estate lawyers at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess can help you.

CONTACT ONE OF OUR OFFICES TODAY TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION: 206-621-1110 (SEATTLE), 253-572-1000 (TACOMA), 360-742-3500 (OLYMPIA), 971-416-0881 (PORTLAND).

Drafting a CC&R

CC&Rs are legally binding private contracts and the provisions may vary widely from one association to the next. Generally, CC&Rs are meant to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, keep property values high, and allow for the enjoyment of the community. Some common provisions included in a CC&R may include:

  • Requirements for home or condo maintenance
  • Limitations on use of the property
  • Parking rules
  • Pet regulations
  • Specific guidelines for exterior displays, including landscaping, house color, or seasonal decorations

CC&R Dispute resolution

Associations have a lot of discretion when drafting CC&Rs and homeowners voluntarily agree to the provisions when they decide to purchase the property. However, terms of a CC&R may be amended and may cause conflict.

While CC&Rs are intended to benefit the community, disputes can arise when property owners disagree with or violate the terms. In some cases, homeowners may feel that certain CC&R provisions unreasonably or unlawfully infringe upon their rights.

For example, CC&Rs cannot violate discrimination laws as set out in the Fair Housing Act or place an undue burden on a certain resident. When such situations occur, legal action may be necessary to successfully resolve the dispute.

A knowledgeable lawyer can help you:

  • Draft a well-structured CC&R that meets the needs of all parties involved.
  • Navigate CC&R amendments and potential conflicts.
  • Resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation, or litigation.
  • Ensure compliance with discrimination laws and other legal requirements.

Pros and Cons of Having a CC&R

Having a well-drafted and properly enforced CC&R can provide numerous benefits for a planned community. By establishing clear guidelines and standards, CC&Rs help create a cohesive, visually appealing neighborhood that protects property values and fosters a strong sense of community. The amenities and services often provided in these communities can enhance residents’ quality of life, while the structured framework for dispute resolution helps maintain harmony among neighbors.

Pros of having a CC&R

  • Maintains property values: CC&Rs help ensure that the community maintains a consistent appearance and standard, which can help protect and enhance property value over time.
  • Provides a cohesive community atmosphere: By setting guidelines for property maintenance, architectural design, and use of common areas, CC&Rs foster a sense of community and harmonious living.
  • Offers amenities and services: Many planned communities with CC&Rs offer shared amenities like pools, fitness centers, parks, and clubhouses, which can enhance residents’ quality of life.
  • Establishes a framework for dispute resolution: CC&Rs often outline procedures for resolving disputes between a homeowner and other residents or the association, helping to maintain peace within the community.

Cons of having a CC&R

  • Limits individual freedom: CC&Rs may place certain restrictions on exterior home design, landscaping, parking, pet ownership, and other aspects of daily life, which some homeowners may find limiting.
  • Added costs: Homeowners in a community with CC&Rs are typically required to pay monthly dues or regular assessments to cover the costs of maintaining common areas, amenities, and enforcing the rules. These costs can add to the overall expense of homeownership.
  • Potential for mismanagement: If the homeowners association (HOA) or its board of directors fails to effectively manage the community or enforce the CC&Rs fairly, it can lead to disputes and dissatisfaction among residents.
  • Complexity and inflexibility: CC&Rs can be complex legal documents, and the process for amending them can be difficult and time-consuming. This can make it challenging to adapt to changing circumstances or preferences. Restrictive covenants can stifle growth.
  • Enforcement challenges: Enforcing CC&Rs can sometimes lead to legal disputes or strained relationships between neighbors. This is especially true if the rules are perceived as being applied inconsistently or unfairly.

Despite these potential drawbacks, ultimately, the pros of having a CC&R often outweigh the cons. This makes them an attractive option for many homebuyers seeking a well-maintained and organized living environment. A potential home buyer should talk to their real estate agent about a community’s CC&Rs and any HOA dues or related costs.

Contact an attorney experienced in handling CC&R matters for assistance today

Whether you are a representative of a Condo or Homeowners Association or are a property owner, if you need any type of assistance with a matter involving a CC&R, you always want to make sure that you have the help of an attorney who understands the nature of this important document and resulting disputes. At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess in Seattle and Tacoma, our lawyers have extensive experience in all types of real estate matters, including CC&Rs.

An experienced Seattle real estate lawyer can help you draft the governing documents to protect the property value in your community. Contact us online anytime to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys.

CALL OUR OFFICE IN SEATTLE 253-572-1000, TACOMA 206-621-1110, OLYMPIA 360-742-3500, OR PORTLAND 971-416-0881 TO DISCUSS HOW WE CAN HELP YOU.