Governing documents can typically be changed or otherwise amended as long as the correct procedures are followed. Homeowners’ associations may need to modify governing documents for many reasons. HOAs may consider amendments to their governing documents to get rid of obsolete provisions, those no longer enforced or observed, or those in conflict with current state or federal laws. The types of documents HOAs may change to keep up with the evolving legal and real estate landscapes and the needs of their community members include the association bylaws; covenants, conditions, and restrictions; and the association rules and regulations.
Amending HOA Bylaws
Community associations must take certain steps to make changes to HOA Bylaws. Bylaws set out the procedural rules for the HOAs’ day-to-day operations, and they may include specifications for the number of board members, when and how new board members should get elected, and the duties and responsibilities of the board members. Bylaws may undergo modifications without filing any official documents with the state, but a membership vote in accordance with the bylaws’ specifications must approve all amendments.
Changing Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
Amending HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CC&Rs”) involve taking a membership vote and recording the amendment on all Lots or Units within the HOA if the membership votes to approve the amendment. CC&Rs create the community association and specify the organizations’ obligations to its members and the members’ obligations to the association. For instance, such documents may place restrictions on the use of the property, identify maintenance obligations for members and the association, and outline the mechanisms for enforcing the rules and handling disputes. Like bylaw amendments, modifications to the covenants, conditions, and restrictions require approval through a membership vote.
Updating Community Rules and Regulations
The rules and regulations in effect at the community level may also require modifications over time. Unlike the legal documents that establish the association and dictate the terms of its operation, community rules and regulations address issues more directly related to the day-to-day living and coexistence of members and residents. Rules and regulation cannot be in conflict with either the Bylaws or CC&Rs, and must be reasonable. For example, an HOA with a community pool may require anyone under the age of 18-years-old to have adult supervision after 8 p.m. Updates to community rules and regulations may take place with a board vote and community member review, as opposed to needing approval from a membership majority.