Believe it or not, this is something that happens fairly often: A member of a community gets proactive and approaches the board about making an amendment to the association’s governing documents. Pretty much all professional HOA managers will tell you that they see this routinely, and, sooner or later, it is something that might come up in your HOA. The question is, what can your board do about it?

The first point to make is that your state’s laws may address the matter, and that should always be the deciding factor in how your association chooses to act. In most cases, though, the state does not offer any particular guidance, and as such it falls to the board to make a judgment call.

A lone resident does not have the power to change the HOA governing documents —we all know that—nor can he or she necessarily force a discussion of the matter. As a member of the HOA board, however, you can move to have the amendment added to the agenda of your next meeting.

Doing so it often a good idea—because after all, you never want to totally ignore the requests made by community members, as it will only serve to alienate people and make the board come across as uncaring or as authoritarian.

Your board doesn’t want to risk tensions running over in this way, and so it is generally best to view resident-proposed amendments as good and healthy—as signs that residents are engaged in their community. The risk you run is that you may end up fielding requests that are not particularly reasonable, but most resident-proposed amendments are going to be fairly sound—sound enough to discuss and perhaps even to vote on.

The bottom line is that embracing amendment requests from residents is, in most cases, going to be a good way of engendering goodwill from the community.

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