Writing Your Own Documents in an HOA or Condo Association

Do you think it is a good idea to appoint a committee or do research in the world wide web so you can write your own CC&Rs? Think again. It can be hard to explain – why it costs more for an attorney to use your rewrites as a base document rather than create their own templates when updating and restating governing documents. But try to think about it this way:

If you have a handyman build a house without regard to architectural or construction standards, someone who gets their plans from internet sites, what can happen? What is likely to happen? There are so many problems that can erupt when a house is built without specialized knowledge such as architectural requirements, building requirements, or plumbing and electricity installations that are performed by the equivalent of a “layperson” trying to build a house.

So, this is what happens when you take those documents drafted by a layperson to a knowledgeable, experienced HOA or Condo attorney “for their blessing.”

The attorney has to either spend a few hours commenting on what is wrong with the documents or if hired to “fix” or draft documents has to start breaking down the documents so they can be rebuilt with the proper legal foundation. Trying to “fix” problems (with language or construction) in a document that is “not quite right” is harder than starting from scratch. And, along with the “deconstruction” comes the need for considerable  diplomacy.

This all takes extra time. You have to look for and cure errors as opposed to starting with a good foundation and working forward to add in what is needed to finish the construction.

So, if you are appointing a committee or “drafter”, be sure to talk to the attorney who is expected to “bless” the final product before sending anyone off on the journey that will sap time and energy and lead to frustration. Save that energy for doing the “work” that the attorney suggests. It will help avoid a lot of unnecessary time, energy and expense (required to “remake” the document).

PS, if it is easier to understand, think about it this way: if you have ever sewn or bought a piece of clothing that didn’t fit properly, envision having to take out the stitches and start over!