Often associations review their rules when they want to make some change or addition, but it is best to review all the rules at least every 5 years because a few things do change periodically in the make-up and needs of every community. So here are some guidelines for your review that might prove useful to you:
1. Be certain that each rule deals with a matter that is important enough for the board and the manager to invest their time in enforcing.
2. When possible, write the rule in a constructive and clear manner in laymen’s terms. For instance: “Recreational activities are permitted only in the green areas designated as parks”. A board may feel that in some instances that a statement of prohibition is required to be effective.
3. Eliminate any rule that has never (or rarely) been enforced even though violations have occurred. Unenforced rules are distracting and time wasting.
4. Make sure each rule is actually enforceable. For instance: “Loud noises will not be tolerated between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.” What is loud? Who is documenting the time of the offense and the source?
5. Write a rule as simply and concisely as possible using words and phrases that all owners should be able to understand.
6. Allow your legal counsel to review any changes or additions to the rules for enforceability. If a rule is not written clearly and in keeping with legal principles of enforceability then a judge is not going to rule in the association’s favor. Use of words like “should” or “is preferred” may not be enforced because they do not require a certain action, rather, they suggest it. For instance, here is a particularly unenforceable rule: “Young children should be accompanied to the pool by a person over the age of 14.” What is young? Is it required….or just suggested? If you are the lifeguard how are you going to enforce it?
7. If a significant percentage of your community members speak primarily a foreign language, also publish the rules in that language.
Did you know? that a new law allows for a late charge where the documents do not do so? See Sections 55-79.83(H)