PARKING, PETS, AND POOLS – the three “P’s” of HOA living

As the old saying goes, if you live in an HOA, be prepared for the trio of “parking, pets and pool” problems. Undoubtedly, there is some truth to that!

Every good HOA is established with Rules and Regulations, which act as a safety net for anything not covered by the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) or Bylaws. While CC&Rs and Bylaws hold legal precedence, rules and regulations serve to fill in any gaps that may arise. HOA rules vary depending on the area in which you live. In this article, we will discuss the most common ones. The rules are enforced to ensure the comfort and safety of the community and its members, and to maintain a pleasing appearance of the neighborhood. It is important to keep in mind that HOAs are not allowed to enforce any rules they want, as there are some HOA rules that are simply unenforceable.

CC&Rs describe the rights and responsibilities of HOA members and are a legally binding document that is recorded and filed with the state. They cover a range of topics, such as restrictions on the use of property, maintenance obligations, and dispute resolution mechanisms. CC&R documents undergo review by the State and are recorded with the County, adhering to specific requirements for amendments. These amendments require a vote from both the members and their mortgage lenders.


Parking is one of the leading – if not THE leading topic of frustration throughout many higher density common interest developments in California today. Higher density means limited common area parking, and may also mean no residential parking outside the enclosed garage.

Unlike most public street developments, the private streets are typically narrower in a higher density environment, which limits the ability to park on the street. As a result, on-street parking may be limited to certain areas, or designated parking spaces, or simply prohibited altogether. It is fairly common in an HOA community that owners are required to park inside the garage, or in an alternative designated parking space – NOT in your driveway overnight, and NOT on the street.

In these cases, signs should be posted to explicitly state where guest parking is allowed. Violators will typically be provided a warning or two, then ticketed and fined by the HOA, or in a worst-case scenario, the vehicle may be towed away.

As we prepare HOA start-up budgets, we often ask questions like, “do we need to add Parking Patrol?” and if so, how often, etc. Adding items like Parking Patrol and Security Patrol can impact the budget enough to stop sales in the early days of HOA management.


We are seeing more and more new communities integrating dog parks into the package of common area amenities. While there is certainly a possibility that problems exist within the dog parks, there are also issues outside those areas, where pets are concerned. HOAs often hear complaints about dogs barking incessantly while their owners are away, or urinating (or worse) in the common areas. While strategically placed Pet Waste Stations might help alleviate some of these issues, it is also important for the HOA to post signs and ensure that all homeowners are familiar with the HOA Rules, especially those pertaining to pets and related matters outlined in a ‘Pet Policy.’ This policy should outline preferred practices and restrictions. Additionally, the HOA may consider subscribing to a Pooper Scooper program, wherein the service is added by the HOA, and pet owners may agree to pay the extra cost if it directly benefits them. Like with the parking issues discussed above, the HOA can enforce the rules through warnings and then fines, and perhaps offer solutions like bark abatement ideas. It doesn’t take much for a pet to be considered a PEST in a shared community.


Swimming pool amenities can sometimes develop their own set of challenges, ranging from unsupervised children and excessive noise to unauthorized use of pool equipment and furnishings. Legal records across various states are filled with numerous court cases related to pool-related disputes, making pools a potential source of turmoil within an otherwise harmonious HOA community. The important things to remember are- unless the development is age restricted, you cannot prohibit children from using a pool, or establish an “adults-only” pool without falling prey to a discrimination claim. There are plenty of cases that establish this precedent; while the courts may be sympathetic to the complaints, case law does not favor this type of claim.

The best approach might be to communicate clearly the requirements for ‘parental supervision,” and to establish and post clear guidelines for residents and guests to follow.

Lessons Learned

For active HOAs, prioritizing effective communication, adherence to Rules & Regulations, and proactive resolution strategies is essential for preventing disputes and fostering a harmonious community environment. If left unresolved, HOA disputes can lead to costly litigation. Nevertheless, by emphasizing clear communication, compliance with regulations, and proactive resolution efforts, communities can navigate challenges and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. For new HOAs being planned, consider the issues faced by active HOAs throughout the State and proactively work with your selected HOA manager to create Rules and Regulations before your first escrows close.

At California Builder Services, we have a proven history of collaborating with reputable developers and HOAs across the state. Schedule a meeting with our team today to find out how we can help you!

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