Governing documents are the set of rules that homeowners and HOAs must abide by. This set of documents is usually made up of: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and Rules and Regulations. These documents can be confusing and full of legal jargon so here is what you need to know:
Articles of Incorporation:
These short documents declare the HOA as a nonprofit mutual-benefit association and identify key players in the HOA such as the initial agent who is authorized to receive legal notice on behalf of the HOA. The Articles of Incorporation establishes the HOA as a legal entity giving it certain rights as well as certain law that they need to follow. The document may be more extensive for some HOAs if they decide to include information on voting and amendments.
HOA Bylaws are the rules that govern the organization of the Association. They list the procedures for filling positions and what the positions entail. This ensures that there is continuity in the way the HOA is governed as people come and go. These also dictate how meetings, voting, and communications with residents are carried out. They have little to do with the residents besides providing consistency in how decisions about their condo building are made.
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions:
This governing document details the rights of each owner and the Association, as well as, the obligations of both parties. They typically map out the “property lines” of each unit as well as the distribution of common areas. The CC&R will also explain the responsibilities of each party in terms of maintenance work and cost. This document is also where you can find the extent of the HOA’s enforcement, their procedures to resolve disagreements, owner usage restrictions – like rules governing pets, the renovations and upgrades an owner can make to their property, and limits on common space usage.
Rules and Regulations:
These Rules will detail any of the processes or regulations mentioned in the CC&R. They will discuss further restrictions on how facilities may be used – both individual units and common spaces. In terms of legal hierarchy, the CC&Rs and Bylaws take precedent, as they are usually in compliance with state or city laws while the Rules and Regulations are purely internal. The Rules and Regulations can be changed by using the procedures, like voting and meetings, outlined by the Bylaws.
As you can see, each document performs a specific purpose but the documents interact with each other to create a cohesive, well-functioning condo development. It is important to review these documents to know your rights as a resident and to make sure you know all of your obligations and restrictions.