The power of your HOA board to establish rules and regulations is typically outlined in your association declaration, bylaws, and/or state statute. Since your board is held accountable by your HOA members, then their power to set and enforce rules may be limited. For this reason, you need to have a strong grasp of the process of developing a rule and enforcing it.
Let’s look at some general principles behind establishing and enforcing HOA rules. If you need help with creating your official documents, then contact Gassen Property Management.
Scope of Roles
In an HOA, rules and guidelines outline expected behavior, identify limitations, and govern the community in four main areas:
1. Use of common property: Rules and guidelines are developed in this area to promote harmonious living.
2. Use of individual units: Rules are developed in this area to help promote conformity within the association.
3. The appearance of individual lots/units: Rules are developed to address changes in the architecture, construction, or appearance of the lots or units to establish and preserve a harmonious design for the community, and to protect the value of the property.
4. The behavior of residents, guests, and visitors: Rules are developed in this area because of the possible impact on a person’s behavior may have on another person.
Identifying Board Authority
It is essential that the members of an HOA recognize the board’s authority and ability to make decisions for the entire organization. The authority granted to a board is usually documented and detailed to ensure there is no discrepancy in either the board’s actions or the organization’s response.
Check all of the community association’s legal documents to verify the board’s authority to make and enforce rules. The most important sources of a community’s authority to make and enforce rules include:
● State statutes and court decisions: Often, statutes or case laws empower the board to make and enforce rules. Consult with your legal counsel periodically to ensure the rules are proper under the current law.
● Governing documents: Governing documents provide general powers, which consist of the broad authority to adopt and enforce rules in order to carry out the purpose of the community association. That purpose is to preserve, maintain, protect, and enhance the community’s property (not the individual residents or guests). Governing documents also provide specific powers, such as the authority to adopt and enforce rules in specific areas.
Final authority and responsibility to adopt and enforce rules rests with the board of directors unless the governing documents specify otherwise. A board may delegate the task of drafting or enforcing rules to standing committees or to other sources, such as the manager when the governing documents allow.
Allowing Member Participation in the Formation of Rules
The board should include all members in the formation of rules. The use of town meetings or focus groups to review proposed rules may be helpful. Normally, the board will receive limited input from owners for a proposed rule unless it is controversial. Owners may offer a very important and different perspective of the proposed rule that the rule-makers did not consider. Finally, soliciting input assures the owners that the board values their opinion.
Gassen Offers Property Management Service in Minneapolis
Gassen can help you manage your HOA. We offer comprehensive reserve studies, local property management, and accounting for all property owners and organizations. We can help you protect your HOA with the right tools. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 952-922-5575, or you can message us on our contact page.