The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are the “big Kahuna” of the governing documents. They contain the most comprehensive and probably the most important information about the development and its operation. If there is anything in another governing document that conflicts with a provision of the CC&Rs, the CC&Rs win (and the conflicting provisions are considered invalid).
The Declaration of CC&Rs is typically a lengthy document, setting up the general structure of the development and describing what land is subject to the governing documents, as well as what parts of the development are common areas owned by the Association.
The CC&Rs also contain restrictions on the use of each owner’s property as well as of the common areas. They specify the Association’s authority and obligations and define the rights and responsibilities of Association members (owners). Every owner must abide by all the rules, restrictions, terms, and conditions found in the CC&Rs.
By reviewing the CC&Rs, an owner or potential purchaser can learn about the general restrictions on the use of the property in the development, and about the rights and responsibilities of owners.
Most CC&Rs also contain procedures for amendments. If the development is older, the CC&Rs may already have a number of amendments revising the original terms.
Most state laws require recording the CC&Rs in the real property records in the county where the development is located. A copy must ordinarily be provided to a buyer prior to making a purchase. If you are an owner or potential buyer and don’t already have a copy of the CC&Rs, get one, and familiarize yourself with its terms.