Most communities have “rules” that take on many different forms and names. For example, some communities have design guidelines, while others have rules and regulations. Still other associations use resolutions and policies as their “rules”. Regardless of what associations call their “rules”, these rules typically work in conjunction with their declarations to clarify terms, covenants, and obligations set forth therein.
Rules sometimes become the primary documents relied upon by boards because declarations are drafted to provide communities with the ability to grow with the times and therefore are drafted using fairly broad terms. This allows boards to define terminology and processes through rules. Therefore, it is imperative that communities keep their rules up-to-date and compliant with state statutes.
The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) has been supplemented quite a few times over the last few years, and these supplements have often required associations to update their rules and policies. For instance, in 2005 CCIOA was subject to major revisions as a result of Senate Bill 100. All Associations bound by CCIOA were required to implement seven good governance policies, which eventually was revised to require nine policies.
Two of the most important policies amongst the SB100 required policies, are the collection policy and the covenant enforcement policy. These policies are considered some of the most important ones because failure to have them will prevent a community from enforcing fines or being able to collect its assessments from delinquent owners.
When most communities originally implemented these policies, they did so to comply with the requirements of CCIOA. But as associations used these policies more and more, they discovered a need to revise these policies to better reflect the communities’ needs and cultures. One very common example where associations have found a need to update their enforcement policies is the situation in which their policies set forth a time frame within which owners must correct violations (oftentimes ten days). However when implementing these policies it became clear that ten days to fix the violations such as a “failure to properly store trash cans” or “failure to park inside the garage” was much too long of a timeframe and compliance should be immediate for these types of violations.
Without revisions to their policies, these associations would likely never reach fine stage of the enforcement process when it comes to these types of violations. Therefore, the enforcement policies required changes to allow associations a more effective means by which to enforce these types of “immediate” violations.
Sometimes rules need revisions to reflect the changes in unit ownership and use of a community. Think of a community that was initially filled with young families with young children. At that time, the focus of rules may have been based on safety concerns. Now ten to fifteen years later many of the same families still live in the community and their little children have grown into teenagers and young adults. Perhaps the focus of the community’s rules at this time is on prohibited activities such as loud and objectionable noises or speeding. Original rules that focused on playgrounds needed to give way for rules focusing on vehicle parking.
Similarly consider a condominium community where owners originally purchased condominiums as young couples and the rule focused on additional parking for second vehicles. As the community aged, the emphasis may have shifted to handicap parking and/or repainting the spaces for wider parking spaces rather than dealing with rules for second vehicles.
As CCIOA changes from year to year and as communities change, so must the communities’ rules. Most governing documents provide authority to boards to draft and amend rules; however even if the governing documents do not explicitly provide authority for adoption of rules, CCIOA provides additional authority for associations to adopt rules for the community. So whether you are reviewing the rules and regulations or policies and resolutions, review and revise them routinely to keep them serving the community.
If you have any questions about reviewing and updating your rules, please contact a Altitude Community Law attorney at 303.432.9999.