When you decide to purchase a home in a neighborhood that is subject to Covenants and Restrictions certain responsibilities follow – abiding by governing documents of the association, paying assessments timely and following the rules and regulations of the association.
To maintain the aesthetics of the subdivision the board must establish and maintain an enforceable set of rules that are clear, fair and enforced against all homeowners. After all, those rules are likely the reason the neighborhood was attractive to you in the first place.
Here are a few tips for establishing Rules and Regulations that are clear, fair and, most importantly, enforceable.
Begin with a statement outlining the authority of the Board of Directors to establish the Rules and Regulations. This statement should be a short and concise recitation of authority from the governing documents of the association.
Develop a statement to define the purpose of the resolution. Be clear and identify the problem to be addressed.
Establish the Rule or Regulation. Be clear and concise. Define terms used to avoid ambiguity and confusion. How is a short term rental defined? How are guests defined? Will there be any exceptions considered?
Set forth who may register a complaint or violation and set forth the manner for doing so.
Establish the criteria for enforcement. Outline the notification method that will be used when violations occur and provide a timeline for remedial measures to be taken.
Outline fines or assessments that may be levied if remediation does not occur in the required time frame. Will the Board cut the grass if the homeowner refuses? Will there be assessments above and beyond the expense to the association for enforcement? Will legal fees be included if court intervention becomes necessary for enforcement?
“Sing like no-one is listening, dance like no-one is watching but email as if it will be read aloud in a deposition.”
- Be fair and ensure that the action being taken is directed at a specific problem, not a specific neighbor
- Strive for fair and reasonable resolutions that are in the best interest of the neighborhood
- Utilize terms such as fair and reasonable throughout the document
- Outline an opportunity for remediation of infractions
- Time permitting seek homeowner input on the substance of the rules and enforcement mechanisms
- Make sure you could read and defend the Rules to a Priest or a Judge – this is key if the regulation is challenged.
Sometimes establishing Rules and Regulations must happen quickly to address an emergent issue; Other times there is no immediate threat to the association, and there is time for homeowner input. Time permitting the Board of Directors should circulate a draft of the proposed Rules and Regulations and welcome homeowner comment and feedback.
At the end of the day, having clear and consistent Rules and Regulations, as well as a policy for resolving infractions, will ensure that your association maintains a positive image with its residents.