Understanding the Process for Adopting and Enforcing HOA Rules

fundamental component of living in a common interest community that is governed by a homeowners association is the need for rules, regulations and/or policies (hereinafter collectively referred to as “rules”) that all members of the homeowners association and their tenants and guests are required to comply with.  As such, it follows that those who live within common interest communities must be familiar with the association’s rules and should have a basic understanding of the process of enforcing HOA rules and adopting them. It is also critical for those who are involved in the management of a homeowners association, whether as an officer, volunteer director or as a retained property manager, be knowledgeable about the process of adopting and enforcing the association’s rules.

Associations Must Have the Authority to Adopt Rules.

A homeowners association cannot adopt rules that are enforceable against its members and their tenants/guests unless the association has the “authority” to adopt the rules. A homeowners association’s authority for adopting rules comes from the association’s governing documents (i. e. Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, CC&Rs) and/or state and federal laws that apply to homeowners associations. With the required authority, the association’s board of directors can formulate and formally adopt rules for the association. Absent provisions in the association’s governing documents that empower the association’s directors to adopt rules, there must be authority granted to the association in applicable statutes for the association to properly adopt and enforce rules.

Proper Procedures Must be Followed to Adopt Rules.

In addition to having the proper authority to adopt rules, an association’s board of directors must also follow specific mandated procedures for the adoption of enforcing HOA rules. Such procedures are set forth in the association’s governing documents and/or state statutes. Association’s that have governing documents which lack proper provisions concerning the adoption and enforcement of rules should invest in the process of amending their governing documents to add the appropriate language.

Rules Must be Consistent with Provisions Contained in the Association’s Governing Documents.

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