Whether you love them or hate them, every homeowners association (HOA) has a series of rules and regulations in place. These rules are made to help maintain order, property value, safety, and consistency across the association and ensure that all members are held to the same expectations. But once rules are made, they shouldn’t be set in stone for the remainder of the HOA’s existence. Periodic review can help the association to enhance its effectiveness and ensure it is still acting in the best interest of its members.
Why the HOA Should Review Its Rules
Rules can become outdated. A rule that was put in place 40 years ago may have made perfect sense then, but it may be impractical and outdated by today’s standards. This can cause confusion and difficulty with enforcement. Cleaning up HOA documents to ensure they are up-to-date with current best practices and standards can help things run more smoothly.
Rules may conflict with current city, state, or federal laws. Every so often government officials enact new laws, and these typically supersede whatever the HOA has in place. Regular review can help maintain compliance with all legal requirements and ensure there is no conflict with HOA governing documents.
It can help to identify gaps. Are there issues that regularly seem to arise at HOA meetings? Are members constantly running into problems with parking, noise, or outdoor decorations? That may be because these are topics that have previously been overlooked in the HOA rules, but now it is time to address them. While making rules for the sake of making rules is not recommended, when it makes sense for the organization and addresses an ongoing problem, it can be beneficial.
It can allow for clarification. When the same rule violations or grievances occur, it can be a red flag that something is wrong. By periodically reviewing rules, the HOA can zero in on sections that may be unclear, vague, or up for interpretation. By recognizing these problems, they can take action to clarify rules and reduce risk and liability.
It allows the HOA to keep pace with current needs. The world is constantly changing, and so are HOA communities. While drones, Pokémon Go, electric cars, or solar panels may not have been an issue in years past, they may be now. Regular rule review helps to ensure that existing policies and expectations meet the needs of the community and identifies when changes or additions may be necessary.
Before the HOA board takes steps to make changes, it can be a good idea to review rules with the association’s attorney and property manager. They can provide insight on whether proposed changes are legal and practical, what potential risks exists, and how to go about implementing and enforcing new or updated rules. Kuester can serve as a trusted resource for HOAs when it comes to understanding governing documents and enforcing rules. Contact us today to learn more and find out how we can support your association.