Documents & Rules - General

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Understanding Your HOA Documents

Understanding your governing documents is essential to every association – without governing documents, an HOA would not exist! These documents serve a specific purpose in the community and allow the association to function.  An association board or individual board member

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HOA Homefront: Exclusive use common areas – what you might not know

Many condominium buyers do not understand what they bought until long after becoming an owner.  Condominiums consist of two elements: A separate interest, called the unit, and an undivided equal share in everything else, called common area. However, there are

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Association documents can provide answers on condo projects

When it comes to major construction projects at condominiums, what can the board of a community association do on its own and when does it need the advice and consent of the membership?  For instance, can a condo board opt,

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What Happens When Condominium Documents Conflict?

When purchasing a condominium unit in Michigan, buyers are often surprised at the number of legal documents governing not only the condominium project itself, but also the association tasked with administering, managing and maintaining the condominium. Given the length and

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When your homeowner association needs intensive care

Q. Long story short, the members have all been reluctant to get involved on our board for many years. They are all fine with someone else doing it. Our vice president resigned and then appointed herself “manager.” She paid herself

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Plat Maps and Surveys

The plat for your community is an important governing document. The plat is an aerial depiction of the lot boundaries, roadways, common areas, and easements. The filing of the plat and declaration is what creates the community. The plat contains

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What Your HOA Should Know About Easements

Sometimes it’s necessary for someone to access your property. It may be the only way they can reach their home, or it may simply be for fun, such as hunting. If this is the case, an easement may be suggested.

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Plat Maps – A 3 Part Series For Homeowners Associations

In my day job, I primarily manage homeowners associations versus condominiums. Instead of being focused on the buildings themselves, I find myself more focused on the land on which they are built. I often tell people I am a “plat

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HOAs Gone Haywire, Part IV: How to Decode Your HOA or COA’s CC&Rs

Thus far in my HOAs Gone Haywire series, I have discussed the most common issues of life in an HOA or COA community. Disputes and imbroglios go from the mild – you’re ordered by the Association to take down a

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Knowing your boundaries in managing condos

The declaration is the Zeus of Condo World. It is the document that sets up the condominium association and all other documents flow from it and is subservient to it. The declaration is required to detail many items, some of

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Is it Time to Revisit Restrictions on Home-Based Businesses in Condominium Associations?

What do Apple Computer, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company all have in common? These corporations all started out as home-based businesses. With recent technological gains, more individuals are not only working from home but, in fact, more

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When to Turn to Your CC&R’s

As a community association management company, we often receive inquiries about the differences between governing documents and where to look for specific guidelines regarding particular issues.  We have detailed the differences between each type of governing document in an article

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Do You Know the Rules of Condo Living in Mississauga?

The might of the heavy hand of the condo corporation has been in the news lately. Recently, a judge ruled in favor of an Ottawa condo corporation that took legal action against residents who rented out their suite on short-term

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South Carolina Court of Appeals Rules on Jury Trials and Class Action Waivers in Master Deeds

The South Carolina Court of Appeals has offered insight into its opinion on the issue of whether a developer may contractually create and enforce jury trial and class action waivers in a master deed. The Court’s position is good news

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Associations Rejoice: Florida Appellate Courts Breathe New Life into Controlling Documents for Community Associations

It has been commonplace in Florida for condominium owners or homeowners to move into a community and then challenge the propriety or validity of the governing documents which, by virtue of purchasing in the community, they agreed to be bound

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Courts Open the Vault to Co-op and Condo Documents (NY)

Brenda Pomerance, a patent lawyer and unit-owner at Link condominium at 310 W. 52nd Street, has been in court since 2011 fighting to gain access to board documents. Pomerance, who suspected the board of serious mismanagement, wanted to get the

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The High-Wire Act of Revealing – and Concealing – Co-op Documents

A Greenwich Village co-op board holds an annual meeting but then fails to dispense the meeting minutes to shareholders. This led one frustrated shareholder to pose a question to the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times: “Does

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Reading The CC&Rs

One of the most frustrating aspects of association management is the lack of interest by homeowners when it comes to knowing community rules and architectural standards. If you’re a manager or have ever been a board member you’ve probably heard

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High Court Upholds Public Policies Against Restrictive Covenants

The issue of restrictive covenants often comes up in news or social media stories where a HOA or condominium demands that an owner take down an addition, a shed, a statue or some other architectural feature on the grounds that

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Ambiguous Condo Docs Cause Another Dispute

I’m often asked to review condominium documents because the language used is not clear. One reason is the legalese used by many lawyers when drafting the documents. (“Now herewithin witnesseth” really?). Do we think it makes us sound smart? Whatever

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Unsigned Bylaws and Other Docs in an HOA – Are They Valid?

To the question of whether a Board should use, enforce, or sign unsigned documents or any certification approving them, I would respond that while it is certainly not a first choice, it may be preferable to tossing out the documents

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Conflicting Information in Your HOA? Find Out Which Governing Documents Take Precedence.

What do you do when you want to fly your American flag to celebrate Flag Day, which is your right, but that right conflicts with a rule in your governing documents?     Read the article………..

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5 Places to Find Your Community Association’s Governing Documents

If you’re looking to live in a community association, you no doubt want to enjoy the many amenities that come along with living there. These amenities can range from security gates, pool access, playgrounds, golf courses, common area maintenance and

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Encouraging Community Association Members to Be Familiar with the Governing Documents May Reduce Violations

“How do you get them to read?” Sterling Jenkins, CEO and Co-Founder at Gladly, who has both lived in and managed community associations, recently posed this question to the Community Associations Institute group on LinkedIn. Mr. Jenkins acknowledged the importance

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What Exactly Are the Governing Documents in a Homeowners Association?

We’re always talking about the governing documents of a homeowners association, but what are they, why are they important, and what do they say?    Read the article………….

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Your Homeowners Association’s Governing Documents: Please Don’t Call Them Bylaws!

Our HOA Ninjas here at Moretz & Skufca have a little pet peeve when it comes to terminology: folks who refer to the governing documents for their community association as “the bylaws.” So (to borrow from Shakespeare) what’s in a

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Are Your Governing Documents Putting Your Community At Risk?

Many common interest communities have not kept their documents current with changes in the law, changes in their community or changes in governance and operations of their association. Additionally, many communities have not formalized amendments owners have approved to their

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Resolution, Rules & Regulations

This is a broad category, and refers to those documents that are typically adopted by the board of directors without a vote of the owners (note: some associations may have owner approval requirements). Examples include: architectural guidelines, collections resolutions, enforcement

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What Condo Bylaws Matter the Most

Everyone gets a copy of their Association Bylaws both when they put an offer in for a Condo and after they close. Too often, this is the first and last time Owners think about their Bylaws – until the Association

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Understanding the Differences Between CC&R’s, Bylaws, Rules & Regulations

Your homeowners association has three types of governing documents: Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (called “CC&Rs”), Rules & Regulations, and Bylaws. Frequently, the function of these documents or the role their property management company plays in implementing them can be confusing.

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Common Legal Terms in Governing Documents

Community association CC&Rs and Bylaws contain numerous legal terms. Some of those terms have common meanings, others have very specific and legal meaning. Here is a list of common legal terms, along with plain English definitions       Read the

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Common Legal Terms in Governing Documents

Community association CC&Rs and Bylaws contain numerous legal terms. Some of those terms have common meanings, others have very specific and legal meaning. Here is a list of common legal terms, along with plain English definitions:    Read the article………….

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HOA HOMEFRONT: Understanding governing documents

Under state law, “governing documents” include articles of incorporation, CC&Rs, bylaws and operating rules. The subdivision map or condominium plan should also be treated as a “governing document.”     Read the article………….

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Clearly defining nuisance activity in your governing documents can help association boards avoid future headaches

A nuisance is generally defined as a person, thing or circumstance which causes inconvenience or annoyance. For some people living in shared ownership communities, there is no escaping a nuisance situation that has risen to a level which impacts the

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HOA HOMEFRONT: Explaining exclusive use common areas

Condominium owners often misunderstand exclusive use common area and this leads to far too many wasteful disputes.  Exclusive use areas are property jointly owned, and therefore controlled, by all association members.    Read the article…………..

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Legalese in Governing Documents

Consider the following disclaimer on a law firm’s website:  Material contained herein is not offered as legal or any other advice on any particular matter. Material included here is for informational purposes only and is not necessarily an indication of

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HOAs: What You Need to Know About Rules

If you live in a newer suburban community or planned unit development, you — like some 63 million other Americans, according to the Community Associations Institute — are probably a member of a homeowners association. It’s also a good bet

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7 Facts About Your HOA CC&Rs

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are rules and limitations that govern on a group of homes (aka a community). Typically they are established by the developer, neighborhood association and / or homeowner association (aka HOA) to protect, preserve and/or enhance

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HOA HOMEFRONT: 11 things to know about CC&Rs

Of the five governing documents of most associations (articles of incorporation, recorded map or plan, bylaws, operating rules and CC&Rs) the last – covenants, conditions and restrictions – is arguably the most important. Here are 11 things you may not

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3 Types of Rules in Your Homeowners Association to Respectfully Follow

Fact: About 63 million Americans live in a new suburban community or planned unit development, according to the Community Association Institute. Living in a homeowners association has many benefits – such as recreational amenities, maintenance services, and being part of

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Condominium Unit Owners Cannot Alter Common Areas Without Consent (MA)

You own a unit in a Massachusetts condominium and serve on your association’s board of trustees. Your board takes seriously its responsibilities to maintain, repair, and protect the condominium property. One day, the board of trustees learns that a unit

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Look Out for Sneaky Provisions in your Declarations that Bite

Trying to keep communities looking good is one of the most important goals for homeowners associations; in fact, it is one of the main reasons people purchase homes in HOAs. Unfortunately, enforcing governing documents is not an easy task and

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Reviewing the Rules on Barbecuing

Temperatures are finally starting to climb, and we’re thawing out at last. Condo owners and co-op shareholders with terraces may be getting ready to dust off their barbecue grills. Now is a good time for boards to review their policies

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Condo Owners Must Read Their Bylaws

Question: I am a senior citizen and live in a condominium. The Board of Directors recommended that the balconies be repaired and then passed a special assessment. As I read the Bylaws, there should have been a special meeting called,

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Where Are Your Homeowners Association Documents & What Do They Say?

As a member of your homeowners association, when you bought a home in your community, you should have received copies of all the Association’s governing documents—including the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&RS) and Rules & Regulations—prior to or at the

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Site plan is crucial for an association

The site plan is one of the four condominium instruments, along with the declaration, bylaws and floor plan. The importance of the site plan is because declarations and bylaws can be long. Very long. The difficulty of finding something in

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Know Your Association’s Rules before Hanging the Mistletoe

Tis the season to be jolly! Or is it? The time of year is near where holiday songs are being sung, and lights and other decorations are being hung. However, before you start decking the halls – you may want

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How Would You Encourage Someone Complaining About HOA Rules?

As a board member in your homeowners association, you probably hear your fair share of complaints against the rules in your Association. Not only that, but you also have to be a part of enforcing them for the good of

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Governing Documents and the Role of Each One

The primary “governing documents” of an association are the declaration, articles of incorporation, and bylaws. When properly drafted, all three governing documents work together and have separate roles addressing different aspects of associations’ governances. Unfortunately, all too often documents are

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Recommending new condominium rules

Pablo Picasso once said: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” While this philosophy served Picasso well in his creative endeavours, a property manager would never want residents of his building to apply

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