Enforcement of rules and regulations is quite possibly the most contentious, unpleasant and divisive component of living in a homeowners Association.
The “why” is simple enough: We have all driven through a neighborhood, perhaps the one we grew up in and said, “WOW, it sure looks different.” When you bought into a community with an HOA you bought not just a home but an idea – that your community would have a character and maintenance standard that would be actively encouraged long-term. That’s good, right!?!
Remember when you bought your home and sat at the closing table? You were presented with a document (probably one of the 25 we all signed!), that said that you agree to abide by, be governed by and understand the documents for our community? These contain your Association’s Covenants and rules.
Informal polls suggest that fewer than 50% of home buyers actually read the governing documents before their closing.
Governing documents are not particularly exciting reading. On this, all agree. Some of them exceed 250 pages and most are in the 100 range! Since these documents have an impact on our family’s lives, it is particularly important to have a reasonable understanding of what they contain.
The Math: H-O-A = Y-O-U! You have the power!
You are a member of your homeowners Association. You elect the Board. You have the authority to define, refine and amend the community rules and standards and if you don’t like what you see your documents allow you to rewrite the whole thing.
The process of change is spelled out in the documents themselves. This said, they were deliberately written to require a “supermajority” of owners, for all the reasons above. Certain rules and “gray areas” can be changed and updated by your elected Board as long as they don’t conflict with higher-level documents and laws. Your manager can help you find answers – and if you don’t like what you read, we can help you get your preferences conveyed to the Board.
Whether we like it or not – the world does change and Boards should be flexible and attentive to that whenever possible.