This is an important task that generally does not get accomplished as often as it should. There are three primary reasons for a review of your rules every couple of years: (i) laws and regulations change, (ii) “best practices” change and (iii) desires of the community change. When you do undertake this task consider the following steps.
STEP 1 – The board of directors should establish an ad hoc committee on rules to periodically review and suggest changes (not make changes!).
STEP 2 – Those suggestions would be reviewed by the association manager with comments being given to the committee and the board of directors.
STEP 3 – The board finalizes the desired changes subject to review by counsel.
STEP 4 – The proposed changes are sent to the association’s attorney to review them for clarity, appropriateness and enforceability. There could be issues due to a proposed rule (1) having inartful or vague language or (2) having a provision that is not permitted by statute or (3) having a conflict with a provision in the declaration or bylaws.
STEP 5 – Suggested revisions will be made by the attorney either in a meeting with the board or committee followed by a written report. We often see association rules created by boards that include provisions that Virginia statutes require to be included in a recorded Declaration or Bylaws including, but not limited to: (1) charges for violations of governing documents; (2) late fees and suspension of services for delinquent assessments; (3) restrictions on for sale signs, (4) restrictions regarding rental of units and association charges connected with rentals, and (5) certain provisions regarding special assessments. Attorney review is critical to ensure that rules do not violate statutory requirements and are not ambiguous either of which could cause the rule to be unenforceable.
STEP 6 – The Board reviews and, if satisfied with the version provided to them, approves the new rules and publishes them to the members indicating the effective date.