In sometimes-complicated relationships between residents and their condo or homeowner associations, neighborly love can go only so far. When it comes to association decorum, the more you know about the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions), the better. It’s the homeowner’s job to reinforce these governing rules and regulations, which can easily pit residents against association members. Here are a few hot-button issues that, according to Realty Times and Condobenefits.com, are important to keep in mind:
Pets. Many condominiums restrict the permitted size and number of pets, if they allow them at all. Check in with the head of the association before bringing any four-legged friends home, and take note of any restrictions — such as the proper way to clean up after your pets and whether they’re allowed to stay outside for any period of time.
Parking. Take note that beyond your four walls, the land is not all yours — including your driveway. What are the parking restrictions for residents? For guests? Have the conversation before guests arrive to ensure that vehicles are out of fellow residents’ way. Keep in mind that many condos limit the number of cars to reflect the number of residents in the home.
Maintenance. There are two areas to consider: What does the association take care of, and what are your responsibilities? Typically, condo owners can rely on workers hired through the condo association to help maintain the exterior of their home, including painting, roof repairs, lawn maintenance and trash collection. But depending on association rules, sweeping your porch by Tuesday afternoon each week or setting the trash on the curb (not the end of your driveway) before Monday morning might be mandatory. Find out the specifics to avoid future headaches.
Fees. All associations have monthly or annual fees that residents must pay, but dig a little deeper and find out what happens if you accidentally break a rule. The last surprise you want is a letter stuck to your door telling you to pay up or risk eviction. Additionally, keep in mind if your building is due for a code upgrade — every five, 10 or 20 years, condo associations can charge residents large fees written into the minutiae of the CC&Rs.