Do HOA Rules Apply to Me?

Every home in a homeowner’s association is impacted by a set of rules, commonly known as covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs).  They are community rules and basically rules that exist within a specific development because all the homes share some type of common area, such as a playground, pool, roads, club house and so forth.  CC&Rs apply to all property owners who own property in that development. The intent of CC&Rs is to protect, to preserve, and to enhance property values in the subdivision, by establishing a basic standard in which all homeowners must comply. 

The truth is CC&Rs are legal and binding in a court of law and enforceable by the State.  They refer to the parcel and to the dwelling in which you live, and do not refer to you, the homeowner, or the tenant who lives in the house.  It is important to note that not all subdivisions have the same CC&Rs or were written in the exact same language; there is a great deal of variation.

CC&Rs originated by either the developer or the builder of your subdivision.  It is the governing documents of your homeowner’s association, and your elected HOA Board then oversees the enforcement of those rules.  An HOA Board is made up of a collection of property owners who volunteer their time and who have been elected to their position by a majority vote of the homeowners, and everyone, including the Board members, must comply with those rules.

If you decide to paint your house or alter your property a color not approved by the CC&Rs, you may be in violation and issued a fee.  If uncertain, read your CC&Rs or check with the Board for direction.   

What if you break the rules?

If you violate the CC&Rs, the Board may levy a fine against you.  In extreme cases, the Board could impose a lien on your home which may be passed onto a new buyer if you decide to sell your home; or worse, the Board could result in foreclosing on your home.  You should ask the Board for an exception, if you disagree with any part of the CC&Rs.  Keep in mind that changing or amending the CC&Rs would take a majority vote of the Board to result in any action.

What if you disagree with the actions of your Board?

You can solicit your neighbors to change the CC&Rs, or even to remove a Board member. The rules for doing so should be outlined in your CC&Rs, but you will need a majority of the owners to agree to the amendment or change.  Changing the CC&Rs can be challenging without Board support, so you will need 66¾ of the votes from the home owners.

Another alternative is to have a professional management service act as an unbiased, facilitator of the HOA and an entity that regularly reads and understands CC&Rs.  An HOA management service that is a member of the Community Association Institute (CAI) helps to interpret CC&Rs, update and amend the bylaws.  HOA managers can be tasked to enforce and to govern the homeowners equally.

An example of a professional management service in Idaho is MGM Association Management.  MGM has been providing assistance to communities for the past two decades.  Their mission is to facilitate and manage common interest developments.  MGM provides expertise on the governance and enforcement of CC&Rs.  They adhere to CAI processes from collection of dues to violations to cost efficient accounting services.  By employing a professional association management service, the Board to focus on more relevant matters such as creating a neighborhood that thrives.  

For more information regarding HOA management services or MGM, call (208) 846-9189 or visit