Condo residents number as high as 58 million in this country, according to the Community Associations Institute. This translates into more than 295 neighborhoods that were governed by a board, or a rule-based community association.
Rather than kick the system, nearly seventy-five per cent of these residents report that the rules have enhanced and protected their lives. Over seventy per cent say that the rules have actually put a positive spin on their lives. Rules are usually drawn up to avoid conflict in areas governing, for instance, pets, parking, noise, limitations on guests, hours of operation and restrictions. Each condo unit will make its own unique rules.
Each year (in most cases), a board is elected that ensures that the existing rules are adhered to. Their duties also include the making of new rules, if such a situation arises to require one.
New rules will always have the input of the residents. They are usually drawn up according to local bylaws; but are much easier to apply than bylaws. They must also always comply with the state and federal law. Whatever laws are already in place must, if necessary, be encompassed in the condo rules. For instance in the case of the Fair Housing Law which is already in existence, no condo ruling can overrule the basics of that law.
The governing documents, which are the rules you should ask to read before you buy a condo, may not be changed by the board. An amendment must be made to the governing documents which must be agreed by the condo residents and voted on.
The percentage of the vote which will pass or fail an amendment is already written up in the governing document. Governing documents are rarely changed. The existing residents bought their condos against the backdrop of accepting the rules in place in the governing documents, and any change is not undertaken lightly.
When a rule comes into question, the board will deal with it by trying to resolve the matter. Two types of resolution are the most common: administrative resolution and policy resolution. Policy resolution will be employed if the couple upstairs allows their bath to overflow and flood your unit below. Whose insurance company pays?
The administrative resolutions deal more with the rules of running the board and the procedures involved in calling a home owners meeting etc.If resolutions culminate in a change of ruling, members are advised of a proposed change by a letter with a time span for approval. This allows them time to formulate objections.
The running of condo units under this rule system sounds very fair. If you try and find a condo whose ‘rules’ match your lifestyle, then you could join the 45 million other condo residents who say that their residential rules enhance their life.
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