Every HOA is governed by a series of rules and regulations. These policies dictate what can and cannot be done, as well as how things should be done. They put in place processes and procedures for running the HOA. When everything is going smoothly, it can be easy to forget they exist. However, from time to time it may be necessary to make changes to the rules.
Adding, removing, or amending rules can be a costly endeavor for the HOA because it often requires legal counsel, so this is a process that should not be taken lightly. The board should refer to current guidelines which dictate how to inform homeowners of changes, what quorum is needed for voting, and what the processes are for making amendments. It is not up to a single person to determine the rules.
Here are a few common reasons why an HOA would seek to amend their CC&Rs:
- Rules are outdated. If the HOA still has rules on the books from 30 years ago that no longer apply, are misleading, or are confusing, it can be helpful to clean things up. In addition, previous rules may conflict with current local, state, or national regulations, so the HOA wants to ensure that it remains in compliance.
- There are new concerns. Society and technology are always changing. Issues that were never even considered 10 years ago, may be problematic today. New rules may be need to be added to address evolving concerns. For instance, up until a few years ago, drones didn’t exist – at least not for personal use. Now they come with a variety of safety and privacy concerns, and HOAs may deem it necessary to create rules regarding their use.
- There are ongoing problems. Does the HOA seem to have issues year after year with over-the-top holiday decorations, visitor parking, or misunderstanding of certain policies? This may indicate that change is necessary. Amending the rules can help to provide more direction and clarity. Homeowners can have a say in how they want to see these issues handled moving forward and come to a mutually agreeable solution.
The HOA should put careful thought into what rule changes are proposed. They should be within the best interest of the community as a whole, not just a few people, and should be enforceable. Ensure that proper research is done so that changes are still relevant for the future and not just short-term use. The board should talk with its community manager for guidance on how to go about proposing, approving, implementing, and enforcing any rule changes. Kuester supports HOAs in creating more effective communities and determining what works for their needs and goals.