How can I set the rules for a homeowner’s association?

| Jun 23, 2021 | Commercial and Residential Leases |

As someone on the board of a homeowners association (HOA), you need to set clear rules for anyone that comes to live in the properties you govern. While you might not be the authoritarian type, it is essential to accept that a society without rules will soon descend into anarchy.  

To communicate these rules to your clients, you need to put them in a Declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). You then need to ensure anyone wishing to buy or live in your community signs to say they have read the rules. That way, if they break them, which some will, you have evidence of their agreement to abide by your terms. 

Your rules cannot breach local or federal laws  

When creating your CCRs, it is essential to be aware of any laws that affect you. For instance, fair housing rules mean you cannot restrict your HOA to people of a specific race. Check if local zoning regulations place a further restriction on your ability to control your space. 

To ensure you can enforce the rules, you need a clear set of consequences for breaking them. Otherwise, some may choose to ignore them. Having the penalties stated in the agreement can help you take action if someone violates the terms. Again any penalties will need to comply with the laws of the land. You cannot declare that anyone paying their membership fees a week late will be flung out onto the street. 

A well-drafted set of CC&Rs can help provide a pleasant environment for all residents. To ensure your contract will stand up in court if challenged, seek help to draft them in the appropriate legal manner.