Board Basics: Understanding Your Governing Documents
What are the governing documents?Governing documents are a legal set of records that control the operation of the association and the common interest development it was formed to manage. Certain governing documents have authority over others.
There are 4 main components of your associations governing documents, including:
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) - HIGHEST LEVEL
The CC&Rs are the comprehensive homeowner regulations of any association. These declarations, as they're also referred to, are pretty lengthy. They review the structure of your development, the areas that must abide by these conditions, resident restrictions and obligations and an explanation of their membership rights.
Articles of Incorporation
The Articles of Incorporation 1) define the community 2) make every homeowner mandatory members 3) establish the nonprofit corporation 4) recognize the association's authority and 5) provide the composition of the board, including the president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
These examine association operations, election procedures, collection and maintenance policies, board responsibilities, preparing assessment amounts, rental restrictions and creating annual budgets.
Rules & Regulations - LOWEST LEVEL
Much like CC&Rs, the rules and regulations define an association's policies. Under the hierarchy, your association has the authority to adopt new rules as long as they don't violate state or federal laws. For homeowners, these specify moving ordinances, lawn appearances, fence height requirements, noise restrictions and more.
Change Is Possible
Because every association is unique, the board may decide to amend the developer-drafted governing documents. Depending on what you want to change, be sure each amendment is drafted correctly, clearly states its intention, is legally recorded and approved. It's also strongly recommended that you review these amendments with your association's legal team before making official changes.
A little understanding goes a long way. When board members are confident in their association's governing documents, they can live in, and lead, their community with pride and confidence.