One of the benefits of living in a community association is the set of rules and regulations that everyone must abide by. These rules help the community preserve the aesthetics and enhance home values due to the increased maintenance of the property. The Board of Directors usually has the authority to enact and enforce these rules and regulations. However, the most difficult part is often determining what regulations are enforceable or not.
Enforceable rules are easily seen and able to be followed up on. Additionally, these rules fall within the powers given to the board by the Declaration. If, for example, the Declaration restricts specific use of the property such as renting, smoking, or pets, then it would be up to the Association to create rules around those provided the declaration gives them the authority to do so.
Examples of rules that are enforceable:
- Picking up pet waste immediately
- Where garbage and recycling receptacles must be stored
- Guidelines for placement and installation of satellite dishes (following FCC guidelines)
- Architectural regulations for windows, garage doors, etc.
Unenforceable rules are not easily seen, tracked, or followed up on. These rules also fall outside the authority provided to the Board in the Declaration and Bylaws. Rules cannot violate any fair housing or human rights laws such The Minnesota Human Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, etc.
Examples of rules that are unenforceable:
- Requiring homeowners to replace their air filter monthly (Unreasonable to verify or track)
- Neighbors shall keep a reasonable level of noise at all hours (What is “reasonable?”)
- Dogs cannot weigh more than 50lbs (Who is in charge of weighing the dog? What if the dog weighs 48lbs one time then 52lbs another?)
When creating rules, make sure they are authorized by the Declaration. As with many things in an HOA, always check governing documents, ask your property manager, and consult with an attorney.