Don’t Let Your Bylaws Go Stale!

shutterstock_318144185Many associations create their governing documents and then forget about them. However, it is important to routinely review and update association documents to keep them fresh and relevant. Plus, routine reviews ensure the HOA and residents are following all the rules in the bylaws.

Determining if Amendments Are Needed

It’s useful for the board to appoint a committee to review the documents. This way, the committee can become deeply familiar with the documents. This committee can work with the association’s attorney to review and look for places that should be amended. However, determining if an area should be amended can be tricky. The best way to decide if a change is needed is to determine what is no longer working or no longer relevant. Once the committee does decide if an amendment should be made, however, they must then hold a vote, which often requires two-thirds or three-fourths of the vote to win.

Common Provisions That Could Benefit From an Update

There are some provisions that the committee should take extra time to consider updating. One particular area is voting. A lot of HOAs are moving toward prohibiting homeowners who are late in their dues from voting. Other HOAs are trying to include electronic voting regulations into the governing documents. Other common areas that could benefit from an update include:

  • Banning short-term rentals
  • Making it easier to fine members who don’t comply with community rules
  • Addressing pet policies and pets in common areas
  • Making it easier to recover attorney fees for trying to collect late dues

Getting the Amendments Approved

If the committee does find areas that should be amended, those proposed changes need to be presented to the board for approval. With an approval, the committee must then draft the new amendments. These newly drafted amendments should be presented to the board again before a vote can be held. Once the board feels they are ready for a vote, it’s time to present them to the homeowners and hold a vote. Make sure to advertise the vote, provide what the vote is for and schedule a time when the greatest amount of people can attend.

Reviewing the governing documents is necessary to keep the rules and regulations fresh. Of course, making changes to association documents isn’t easy, but it is a necessary step in running a community.

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