Documents & Rules - General

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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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HOA Governing Documents

Governing documents for a community association are given out to all residents in an HOA. They contain the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws and rules that HOA. Governing documents must be followed and changes to these documents can only be

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Whose Land is it Anyway? And Why do we Care?

We frequently hear people say that common areas are owned by their association. And, while that is true in many cases, it is not true when referring to condominiums. In fact, the single fact distinguishing condominiums from any other type

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CC&Rs – What Are They and Why Should I Care?

In the past, while discussing Homeowners Associations and Reserve Studies, we’ve often mentioned CC&Rs or “Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions”. But what are they exactly?    Read more…….

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Drafting Enforceable Restrictive Covenants

“Restrictive Covenants.” Hearing that phrase has made homeowners and their respective Boards of Directors cringe since the beginning of time. Everyone who has ever lived in a Homeowner’s Association is familiar with the idea that there are certain things you

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Declaration Amendments, Reasonableness & Original Intent: Wallach v. Linville Owners Association (NC)

A case issued by the North Carolina Court of Appeals today suggests there are instances when an amendment to a Declaration (also known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) has to pass an “original intent” test.    Read more……..

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Everything you need to Know about HOA Bylaws, Regulations and CC&Rs

As much as we might not like to admit it at times, homeowners associations have rules and regulations in place for a reason. Mostly, they are for community safety and structure. If you find yourself questioning whether your HOA has

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Developing Effective Noise Policies

Neighbors in condominium units live as close to each other as neighbors can. Consequently, excessive noise is one of the most common complaints condominium association management companies receive. If your condominium community is experiencing a rash of noise complaints, there

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Do you have “less than useful” provisions in your association’s governing documents?

A large part of any association attorney’s day is spent reviewing portions of a community’s governing documents. Many times I’ve settled in for an afternoon of documentary review,with highlighter in hand, only to find myself wondering why so much of

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Rules Are Made To Be …Changed?

According to a Community Associations Institute survey, residents of community associations appreciate the benefits that the rules that govern community associations provide. In fact, for the past 10 years, the survey data has been consistent. It indicates that more than

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When your home is also your office: dealing with single family use restrictions

Without exception, every set of association governing documents I have reviewed over the last two decades has contained a restriction which states that the property is to be used for “single family residential usage” or words to that effect.  

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Committed to Success: Turning Bad Documents into Good Ones

A community association’s governing documents – its Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Declaration or covenants – typically fall within three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take this quick self-test to determine where your documents fall:    

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Day care tests Brandermill HOA (VA)

A home-based day care operator has prompted another subdivision’s homeowner association to reconsider its long-standing prohibition on home-based businesses. But in this case, it’s the county’s biggest subdivision, Brandermill, and the decision could potentially affect hundreds of existing businesses.  

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A (Real Life) Sad Commentary on Noise Issues in a Condo

Here is a story I received from a reader. The person asked that I publish the story but withhold the name because this is ongoing situation. The saddest thing is that this kind of problem rather common. Changing carpeted floors

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What can HOAs do about ‘inherited’ problems?

Q: The developer of our community has turned over control of our homeowners’ association (HOA) to the homeowners, and we have now elected our first board of directors. We are fielding lots of complaints of CCR (covenants, conditions, and restrictions)

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Tis the Season for Stress: Holiday Decorations and Snow Removal in Community Associations

Every year as the holidays approach, community association owners and renters become passionate about two issues: decorations and snow removal. With some forethought, boards of directors and managers can avoid conflict and liability around these issues.   Read more……

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Monkey Business – May Be Allowed in Your Community!

Can your declarations stop your neighbor from operating a cleaning service from their home? With today’s technology, it has become much easier to run a business from one’s home. That, combined with the current economic climate, has resulted in more

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NY Court: Queensbury homeowners can display political signs

A local homeowners association doesn’t have the authority to ban residents from displaying political signs, according to a state Supreme Court decision released this week.   Read more…..

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Some HOAs act as though their bylaws are etched in stone

There’s a mindset that craves the acquisition of any kind of authority and takes full—even excessive—advantage of it. Individuals afflicted with said mindset tend to amplify the significance of insignificant matters and insist, with plenty of bluster, that things be

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Texas Bills Aim to Douse HOAs’ Limits on Xeriscaping

Last January, as the Texas drought wore on, an Austin-area homeowners association called the Woods of Brushy Creek made a big change to its landscaping policies. No longer would homeowners be required to have grass covering the entire front yard.

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