WORDS (in alpha order because it's customary)

Here's a bit of explanation about some of the jargony words and phrases used on this website.


is the document that deals with the HOA's governance and administration. HOAs typically have bylaws whether or not they are incorporated. Some people mistakenly use "bylaws" as a generic term for any HOA document. A document titled "Declaration" may contain bylaws‑type provisions. A document titled "bylaws" may contain provisions more typically found in Declarations or Rules.

Common Interest Development (CID)

describe any real property development with a mandatory membership association, such as condominiums, planned communities, and cooperatives. Other names for this type of development:  Common Interest Community (CIC) and  property with Common Interest Ownership (CIO).


is a type of real property ownership, defined by State law, that combines fee simple ownership of a unit with tenancy in common ownership of common elements. "Condominium" also refers to the entire project or development that contains condominium units. "Condominium" is not a type of building, and may be used with developments of vertically attached units (townhomes) or detached units (houses or "site condos"), in addition to multi‑story buildings.


is the document that creates the common interest development, regardless of how the document is titled. For condominiums, popular titles are   Condominium Declaration or  Declaration of Condominium. For subdivisions, the document is often titled a   Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs or DCRs),  Deed Restrictions (DRs),  Master Deed,  Townhome Declaration, or similar combinations of these words.

HOA Docs

refers to the set of legal documents by which the common interest development is created and operated. The core set of HOA Docs typically consists of the Declaration, Bylaws, Rules & Regs, and Certificate of Formation. There may also be other guidelines, standards, and policies. Typical names for this set of documents:  HOA Documents,  POA Documents,  Condo Documents,  Governing Documents,  Community Documents,  Project Documents,  Townhome Documents, and  Dedicatory Instruments (in Texas only).


typically refers a common interest development that is large in size or complex in nature, or both. Complexities often consist of mixed uses (such as residential and commercial) or tiers of associations (an umbrella association with sub‑associations for discrete neighborhoods). Use of "master association" or "master development" may be colloquial rather than written into the governing documents. 

Owners Association

is the entity that administers the common interest development on behalf of the owners who comprise the entity's members. Because membership is inextricably tied to ownership of a lot or unit, it is described as being mandatory and automatic. Other names for this type of entity:  Homeowners Association (HOA),  Property Owners Association (POA),  Community Association (CA),  Townhome Association,  Condominium Association,  Condominium Owners Association (COA),  Master Association.


means providing the legal documents that are required to create and operate a common interest development - the HOA Docs - even though the "paper" is likely to be a monitor on which pixels and bytes replace ink toner.

Planned Community

typically refers to a common interest development other than condominiums and cooperatives, what we call subdivisions. Other names for planned community include  Planned Development (PD),  Planned Development District (PDD),  Planned Unit Development (PUD), and  Shared Access Development (SAD).

Real Estate Developers

[our clients] are visionaries who have the grit and guts to corral dirt, dollars, design, and [our] documents to create spaces for the places we live, work, and play.

Rules & Regulations

(sometimes called "Rules & Regs") is typically an all-inclusive term that refers to the rules, regulations, restrictions, policies, and guidelines that regulate the use and appearance of the common interest development, and may be distinguished from the bylaws and from procedural rules and policies established by the board.


has different meanings, depending on context. We typically use "subdivision" as a short‑hand reference to a common interest development that is not a condominium.




has several definitions, but most often refers to row houses or dwellings that are attached vertically (side‑by‑side). Accordingly, it's an architectural style, not a form of ownership. An individually‑owned townhome may be a condominium unit or a subdivision lot ‑ depending on how it was created. Texas does not recognize a "townhome" form of ownership, although some real estate professionals are adamant that the term "true townhome" has legal significance. (It doesn't.) "Townhome" is so malleable, it may be used to describe detached homes, units in multi‑story buildings, and rental apartments.