CC&Rs and HOAs Explained

Here’s a brief primer on typical CC&Rs and HOAs:

CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) are “rules” for what property owners can and can't do with their property. CC&Rs include a description of the properties they apply to. They're recorded by the developer, before lots are sold. They “run with the land,” meaning they're bound to each property deed and passed from one owner to the next. 

Many CC&Rs include an HOA (homeowner’s association), which is the governing body of the CC&Rs and its properties. HOA membership consists of all the property owners, and is usually mandatory (required by the binding CC&Rs). The HOA's Board of Directors is made up of elected lot owners. The board is tasked with enforcing the CC&Rs, budgeting and collecting assessments, and maintaining any common area (community properties such as swimming pools, playgrounds, gyms, laundry rooms, lobbies, and courtyards).

Bylaws are an HOA's “operating rules.” They explain, for example, how elections are held, and how often meetings occur. If an HOA is incorporated, Articles of Incorporation are written and filed with the State. The Articles contain corporate information, such as its name, address, and purpose.

Normally, the developer puts everything in place before lots are sold: the CC&Rs, an initial board of directors, and Bylaws and Articles. All are linked together and “run with the land.” After lots are sold, the developer moves on, and the HOA is turned over to the property owners.

The Cedars CC&Rs and HOA

In 1973, The Cedars developers (Camelot Construction) recorded The Cedars CC&Rs, with legal definitions for its properties and HOA:

• The “Properties” lie within a surveyed boundary (Exhibit A of the CC&Rs, mapped below).

• The “Association” specified to enforce the Cedars CC&R is "The Cedars Homeowners Association”.

• Every Owner of a lot in the Properties is a "Member of the Association.” In other words, The Cedars HOA is made up of all lot owners within the boundary.

The Cedars CC&Rs apply equally to all properties (and their lot owners) that adopted the CC&Rs. There are no separate “phase HOAs" allowed for the separate phases; this is why attorneys found the wrongly-formed Cedars I HOA was not legal after they examined the unaltered CC&Rs.

(An unaltered copy of The Cedars CC&Rs is provided here.)

The Cedars CC&Rs define and provide for one greater Cedars HOA. However, neither the original developer or subsequent lot owners found sufficient need for a governing body or assessments, so "The Cedars HOA" was never formed, due to a lack of need. As a result, The Cedars has no HOA, or related Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. For anyone to form The Cedars HOA, all Cedars lot owners legally encumbered by the CC&Rs must first be notified as required by Washington law, so everyone can equally participate in due discussion and process.

Though no formal HOA has been formed, The Cedars CC&Rs are still in effect, and are still enforceable. All of The Cedars lot owners are, therefore, legally obligated to follow all CC&R rules. If a Cedars lot owner violates any of the restrictions, they can be taken to court by any or all of the other lot owners, and may be responsible for all attorney and court costs.

The map below shows The Cedars boundary (Exhibit A of the CC&Rs). It contains over 130 lots and about 440 acres, including golf course properties and neighborhood Phases I–IV. (Grace Avenue and Cedar Drive are shown in yellow, to help with orientation.) 

Other HOAs in the Cedars Area

There are three other legal-defined HOAs near or within The Cedars, all bound to properties via their own separate and unique CC&Rs:

 Cedars I Townhouses

Cedars I Townhouse owners are bound by The Cedars CC&Rs. But The “Cedars I Townhouses” also have their own supplemental CC&Rs and HOA. They were recorded in 1973 and 1975, and represented in green below.

 Cedars III Townhouses

Cedars III Townhouse owners are bound by The Cedars CC&Rs. But The “Cedars III Townhouses” also have their own supplemental CC&Rs and HOA (recorded in 1979, for Phase III townhouses only). They are also represented in green below.

 Cedars East

“Cedars East” is outside of “The Cedars” legal boundary description. Cedars East has its own CC&Rs and HOA (recorded in 1980). Cedars East is shown in yellow below.

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DISCLAIMER: This website includes general information about legal issues. Such materials are for informational purposes only, and are not intended as legal advice. If you need legal counsel, you should contact a lawyer licensed for advice on specific legal issues or problems.