Our HOA Keeps Adding More Rules. Can They Legally Do This?
Most of the times, yes. Some of the times, no. where an association has to be careful, a member has to be on the lookout especially if it’s some type of restriction that they don’t like. Is the new rule or restriction something that should be handled within the rules and regulations? The reason why this is important is that if it is something that may come under the bylaws, it may come under the declaration, then it may only require a board note but it may not. It may be something that requires a large number or a large percentage of the owners in the community. It’s a lot easier for 3 or 5 or 7 or 9 board members to get a quorum and then come to a decision that is to get a member vote on such issues because it’s hard to get a quorum especially when, in my practice here, in Florida, we have a lot of snowbirds in the summer. If you are trying to get something done, it’s very tough to get a quorum of the members for a member vote and then usually, it’s a very high percentage of the members that you have to have to change the documents or to add a certain rule.
So that’s the first thing to look at. If you look at that and say well that this is the type of issue that, under the documents and under the case law and under the statute, should come under the rules and regulations. Then, you should look and make sure that it was a properly noticed meeting and that the agenda reflected that this was going to be an initiative, there is going to be a verbal argument and that there is a proper vote that was taken on it. As long as they do that, then they can keep adding rules and regulations and some associations, whether you are representing the association or you are representing the members of a very short list of rules and regulations that will fit on one sheet of paper and there are other ones that have millions of paper that when you get all the rules and regulations. So the first thing you need to do if you are moving into a new place is to get a copy of those and look at them and make sure you can live up to all those along with the rest of all the governing documents and having an attorney review those with you is usually a good idea.
Once you live up to it, then if there is a problem, they are kind of sorry that they didn’t do it. Now the last resort is that because there are issues that are to be voted on by the board if they are going to be rules and regulations and that’s an appropriate place where that certain restriction that you would be placed under, then another way you can stop it is to get other members together and to vote in a new board or a new majority of the board that will issue less restrictions or remove regulations by the rules. So kind of, by politicking and not through any legal channels, the members do have power in numbers if they can get new members elected. If they don’t like the way the board is handling things especially if they believe that they are, for instance, shooting too many rules and too many trivial rules and so that you get a new majority in there and you amend the rules and regulations that way.
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