Community Association Governing Documents

A Quick Reminder Why Are They Important

 

An association uses funds collected from assessments  to manage the assets of the community effectively and efficiently.  Homeowners are legally bound to pay for their portion of the common areas in order to reside in their community.  Contracts are in place between the association and vendors to maintain the property.  The services each of these companies provides need to be paid for in order for the association to maintain the quality of life expected by the residents.  Without the necessary income, the association could not survive or provide these services.

 

Homeowners are legally bound to pay assessments when they purchase a home in a community association. They also agree to maintain their property and follow the governing documents.  When homeowners choose not to maintain their yards, patios or balconies, or follow the rules of the association, property values will quickly diminish.  One reason why homeowners intentionally seek homes in an association is to have the reassurance that the association is required to enforce the rules and maintain the common areas.  By not enforcing the governing documents or by allowing homeowners to choose what they want to maintain and what rules to obey, the board could create a liability issue for the association and themselves personally, as each board member has a fiduciary duty to enforce the governing documents.

 

An association’s governing documents are important to communities as they provide direction on acceptable actions and behavior that will maintain reasonable property values even in difficult economic times. The restrictions are not intended to hinder a homeowner from residing at their household, but to limit what actions may be or may not be taken, such as painting a house chartreuse or creating a car repair facility in the garage.

 

Architectural control committees (or board members if committee is not in place) hold much power regarding any modifications and changes to a homeowner’s house and property.  This committee sets the tone of the association and must be consistent in all its decisions and recommendations.  Homeowners are not allowed to erect, construct, place or alter any visible changes without the approval from the committee. Before any work is started, residents are required to submit plans and drawings of the modification they would like performed on their unit, house or yard.  The committee reviews such plans and either approves or denies the request while following the guidelines of the community’s governing documents.  This committee works closely with the board of directors and, depending on the governing documents, may have independent authority to approve or disapprove applications for modifications.  Besides the board of directors, the architectural control committee is entrusted with the largest responsibility to the homeowners, community and the association.

 

Even though associations sometimes receive bad publicity, if the association’s residents comply with an association’s governing documents, the aboard has not exceeded its power or authority. If the board and manager follow the documents, then an association will typically operate smoothly without many hiccups along the way.

 

Association Times Contributor

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