(originally published in Summer 2000)

As we indicated in our last newsletter, we will be providing a brief commentary on several items which affect boards of directors, property managers or owners within common interest developments. If you would like a specific item addressed, please let us know!

READING THE GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

As many of you know, “Governing Documents” is defined in Civil Code section 1351 to include an association’s declaration and any other documents, such as bylaws, operating rules of the association, articles of incorporation or association, which govern the operation of the common interest development or association. Well, an association’s Rules and Regulations are considered one of these “governing documents.” This article will hopefully help you sort out where the Rules and Regulations fit into the grand scheme of an association’s Governing Documents. Why do Rules and Regulations exist?

The Rules and Regulations:

– are designed to supplement the association’s declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (“CC&Rs”) and bylaws

– contain specific rules and restrictions pertaining to usage of or activities within the common area (e.g., pool usage hours, parking rules, etc.) –

are a living document designed to change and grow with an association

– can generally be adopted, amended or repealed solely by the board of directors

– sometimes contain architectural or landscape guidelines to allow owners a general idea of what architectural or landscape items are acceptable

– can include more specific rules or regulations pertaining to items covered in the association’s other governing documents so long as they are not inconsistent with the other documents

– ensure that homeowners are aware of the various rules and regulations which more directly affect living within an association (e.g., pets, parking, maintenance, etc.)

– may contain contact information for an association’s property manager, as well as forms which allow owners to communicate with the association to voice concerns or ask questions

– may contain a map of the association pointing out parking areas, common areas, pool areas, or other recreational areas within an association – must be authorized by the governing documents

– may contain a fining schedule if allowed for in the governing documents

– must be disseminated to the membership before they may be enforced and should be sent out annually as part of the Civil Code section 1365 requirements

REVIEWING THE RULES AND REGULATIONS

Because the Rules and Regulations are designed to be a living document that grows with an association and changes over time, this document should be reviewed fairly often. In performing that review, the following are some tips to assist you:

– if your Rules and Regulations are more than five (5) years old, they should be reviewed and updated to reflect any new laws, or new conditions within the association

– if your Rules and Regulations are ten (10) or more years old, they should definitely be reviewed and updated to remove illegal or inconsistent language and to reflect the current state of affairs in the association

– if there have been any amendments to the association’s other governing documents, the rules and regulations should be updated to reflect any changes

– if any discriminatory language is contained in the Rules and Regulations, it should be removed immediately

– if your association imposes fines against owners, the Rules and Regulations should be reviewed to ensure that any fining policy and schedule is set forth in the Rules and Regulations

– if any of the provisions do not reflect current sentiment within the community, the language should be amended (e.g., prior rules closed the pool at 5 p.m., and community now wants pool open until 10 p.m.)

– if a provision conflicts with the association’s CC&Rs or bylaws, that provision should be modified to ensure consistency

– if current conditions exist within the community which must be addressed, rules can be added to address these situations

Upcoming Topic: Bylaws