CONDOS RULES: THEY REVEAL CRITICAL DETAILS
The rules for condos are for items that are unclear or not covered in the Bylaws. Sometimes they refine or give more detail to restrictions. Here are examples of condos rules:
- The Bylaws may state you are permitted to have a dog. Rules could be made such as whether a leash is required when it is outside, where it can be walked, and the clean-up of soiling.
- The Bylaws may permit you to lease your unit. The rules could state that the lease agreement must be subject to the governing documents and that the names of those who lease must be given to the board.
Question---DO RULES FOR CONDOS HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AS THE GOVERNING DOCUMENTS?
Yes, because the association’s governing documents enable the them to be created as long as they do not contradict the governing documents. They do not need to be filed with any government agency.
Question---WHO MAKES RULES FOR CONDOS?
The association makes them. This may happen through a committee formed by the Board of Directors or the Board may create them. Occasionally, the Bylaws require some percentage of owner approval before they take effect.
Question---WHAT AREAS OF THE CONDOS ARE NORMALLY COVERED BY THE RULES?
Some consequences of not abiding by the rules are:
- Owners retaliate against board members.
- The board gets a “Condo Commandos” reputation.
- Violation assessments may be added to owners’ accounts.
- The condo gets a bad reputation causing unit sales to decline.
Inconsistent enforcement of rules for condos occurs at many associations. Some reasons are:
- A member(s) of the board wants to be popular.
- A member(s) of the board is afraid of retaliation.
- The board may have the mistaken attitude that loose enforcement will create a happier community.
- What one board enforces, another might not.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF RULES FOR CONDOS:
“Conduct” rules frequently address the following issues:
- Maintenance of units
- Leasing of units
- Use of common elements and facilities
- Noise disturbances
- Outdoor equipment, such as play sets
“Architectural” rules frequently address the following issues:
- Decks and patios
- Exterior lighting
- Window treatments
- Roof protrusions, such as skylights
An owner has no choice but to abide by the rules. Some owners decide to serve on a committee or the board in order to change the ones they don’t like.
Violations can cause penalties! A conduct penalty may be an extra assessment that is added to your unit's account. An architectural penalty usually means the owner must remove and/or restore the item to its original standard---at his own expense!
Question---HOW ARE THE RULES FOR CONDOS ENFORCED?
- Normally, violations are handled by due process. The Board of Directors hears the owner's explanation for why he broke the rule.
- The opportunity to be heard in a non-threatening forum is often enough to result in a person voluntarily complying.
- This process lends itself to exploring alternative means to resolution of the problem.
Question---SHOULD ALL OF THE RULES FOR CONDOS BE IN ONE PLACE?
Every association should have them for their condos gathered into a Handbook. A Handbook should take all the legalese of the Declaration, Bylaws, Amendments and boil it down into an easy-to-understand booklet. Also, there may be additional rules the association has created that could be included in the Handbook.
It is much easier to read a condensed Handbook than all of the governing documents. It is also much easier to find the Handbook than hunting individual pieces of paper, each one containing a resolution.
Question---WHERE CAN I FIND THE RULES FOR MY CONDO?
- In the Declaration of Condominium Ownership under “Restrictions”
- In the Bylaws
- In the Amendments
- In the Handbook of Rules
- The board should have a list of all the rules and resolutions.
Rules for condos serve several purposes:
- They promote harmonious community living.
- They maintain, preserve, enhance, and protect the property values and assets of the community.
- They satisfy the need to create a sense of fairness and equity among all residents.
- They should be consistently enforced.
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