Understanding California Homeowners Association Rules

If you’ve been looking into buying a home or condominium apartment in a California neighborhood that has a HOA? In this blog, we’re going to explore California HOA rules.

What Is A Homeowners Association or HOA?

A homeowner’s association (HOA) is a corporation that enforces the rules in condominiums, gated communities, and planned neighborhoods. It consists of community members that sit on a board of directors, keeping the community of homes or buildings in pristine condition.

HOA dues are collected from every member of the community, with the total used to pay for the maintenance and repairs of common areas. There are all within community standards that are written down.

An HOA is often employed by planned communities to maintain common areas, amenities, social areas and structures. The whole point of an HOA is meant to enforce architectural standards and cleanliness. Established regulations and rules need compliance; when violations occur, hefty fines are issued as penalties.

Property owners are basically kept from doing whatever they please outside their homes and inside as well.

HOAs: How Did They Come About In the First Place?

Homeowners associations were developed in the early 20th century. They were built from common areas shared by all homeowners. The popularity of these communities didn’t rise until after World War II when large cities became too crowded with people. Homeowners then sought to live in better options outside the city centers.

Planned communities only really gained public popularity when suburbs sprang up in the 1960s. The moment planned communities started, however, there were neighbors that didn’t meet the expectations when it came to common areas.

Private homeowners associations were then established for the neighborhoods to stay orderly.

Understanding California HOA Rules

The rules of homeowners associations generally cover operations, governing documents, and laws in California.

HOA Operations

Community members are the ones who elect an HOA board of directors. The board then oversees the rules and regulations of the HOA. For the most part, boards consist of elected community members, some of whom hire off-site property management companies for the HOA to be governed.

HOA boards conduct meetings and vote on proposed rule amendments. The board then hires outside services or staff to maintain and repair common areas. Standard accounting practices are followed in order for books to be maintained, alongside records of all expenditures and income.

HOA Governing Documents

Much like a corporate board of directors, there are governing documents for an HOA. Community rules are outlined, usually referred to as the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). These are filed by the developer with the county recorder’s office.

Additionally, other rules can be enacted by the board on community functions, referred to as Bylaws. Owners need to follow what’s written under CC&Rs and Bylaws. Rules contained within include the likes of:

  • Architectural controls
  • Color of the houses
  • Proper pool etiquette
  • Trash and recycling rules


California HOAs (homeowners associations) can be quite confusing. Understanding their rules is a vital part of taking on a residential unit within HOA neighborhoods. For the most part, operations and governing documents must be understood in-depth.

Seeking HOA budgeting services? Reach out to California Builder Services today! We specialize in HOA budgeting, DRE public reports processing, and reserve studies. 

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