When people buy a house in a new subdivision, condominium, or co-op, they generally become a mandatory member of a homeowners’ association (HOA) or condominium owners association. The property owner association’s members include anyone who owns lots of homes in the same development, including the developer or builder. The association may be a nonprofit corporation or it could be an unincorporated association. Either way, it likely has the authority to enforce its rules and regulations for a time. An HOA attorney can help navigate this web of restrictions.
The HOA will likely have a lot of say over how homeowners use their property. The authority that an HOA possesses generally comes from the organic or governing documents, which in Nebraska typically entails a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) or a master deed in the case of a condominium regime. These documents are typically recorded with the local register of deeds office, which serves as “constructive notice” to all purchasers that they will be bound by them. If you would like to know what covenants apply to your property, contact an HOA attorney at Thompson Law Office.
Deeds transferring ownership of houses in newer Nebraska developments almost always include restrictions on how the property can be used by the owner. Usually these “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” allow the homeowners association to make decisions about how the property is used, maintained, or improved. The rationale for these CC&Rs is to preserve or enhance the value of the houses in the development. ‘
Examples of restrictions include the color or colors that houses can be painted; the type of landscaping that can be installed; whether sheds or outbuildings can be built; whether home additions can be made; whether and how long certain types of vehicles or trailers can be stored; and the quantity and types of animals that may be kept on the property.
Other examples of ways that associations may restrict the use of property in a newer development include:
Seek legal advice from a Nebraska HOA attorney if necessary to understand the ramifications of owning a home in a newer subdivision.
For some improvements, the CC&Rs may require that a plan be submitted to the Board of Directors for review and approval. Homeowners subject to CC&Rs may also have the right to request a variance from the association. This process is in addition to any county or city zoning ordinances that may address the proposed changes to the property.
Homeowners’ associations can generally require members to pay fees or assessments maintenance of “common elements” or property that is open to the community and maintained by the association. Depending on the type of development, these assessments may go towards landscaping, signage, pools, golf course, or exterior maintenance, lawn care, and snow removal in the case of townhome owners associations and condominium property owners associations.
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