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CPM Rules and Regulations-5

It’s also true that Condo associations get a bad rep when it comes to HOA rules - people don’t like to be told what to do. But, your Boston condo association rules do have a purpose - to protect and enhance your property values.

Who Makes The Rules In My Boston Condo Association?

For many people, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have become synonymous with rules. It’s true that when you purchased your Boston condo you agreed to follow the community guidelines. 

It’s also true that Condo associations get a bad rep when it comes to HOA rules – people don’t like to be told what to do. But, your Boston condo association rules do have a purpose – to protect and enhance your property values. 

So why are rules often considered a bad word in condo associations? Here’s what you need to know about your Boston condo rules, who makes them and how they are enforced. 

The Basics: How are Condo Rules Created? 

Surprise, it’s not your Manager or your Management Company!

Community Guidelines or rules are unique to every association. The rules of the association are set forth in the governing documents when the association is formed by the builder or developer. The governing documents are a collection of legal documents that define the governance of the community. One of the governing documents, called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (also referred to as the Declaration or the CC&Rs) defines the rules for homeowners to abide by. These rules are intended to preserve property values and promote a harmonious living environment. 

The CC&Rs also spell out architectural standards for the community. Architectural guidelines cover exterior design standards such as decks, landscaping, or house colors. Any desired changes may require approval. The rules contained in your Condo community’s Declaration are binding and difficult to change (often requiring a supermajority of homeowners to vote for a modification.). Because of your Condo’s Declarations, you don’t have to worry about your neighbor painting their house bright purple or keeping an unsightly boat parked in their driveway.

The primary purpose of having a Condo Association is to preserve property values for future resale. This is done by maintaining common areas, enhancing curb appeal, and establishing community guidelines. CC&R’s are created to ensure your condo community curb appeal is maintained and homeowners are given the same rights and privileges. They ensure everyone is held equally accountable in the upkeep of your condo community. 

The Purpose of Condo Association Rules and Regulations

Rules help clarify items not specifically addressed in the governing documents of the association. Typically rules will be more detailed or specific compared to the CC&Rs, and are also more easily modified (through a simple majority Board vote)  based on the community’s current needs.

Rules are adopted by the board without a vote from all the homeowners, as long as  they aren’t more restrictive than existing CC&R’s. 

The rules cover a wide range of areas, such as pet policies, noise restrictions, parking regulations, and property maintenance standards. 

For example, your CC&R’s may spell out that your condo association will enforce parking. Your association and board may create a rule or policy further clarifying how parking is enforced and where homeowners may and may not park within your Boston condo community. 

Can the Condo Board change or add rules? 

Most rules are difficult to remove altogether and amendments generally require a large percentage of homeowner members to vote for them, which is why some rules are much harder to change than others.

The board typically has the authority to adopt new or clarifying rules for the community. However, if these rules significantly alter the governing documents, then a vote by all members of the condo association is typically required. 

However, homeowners should always be informed of any changes or additions to the rules and regulations or any other governing document. When it comes to condo rules, communication is key in avoiding frustrated, angry homeowners. 

What if I break the Condo Rules?

The governing documents define how rules are enforced. Most governing documents give first-time violations a bit of grace and offer a warning when a rule is broken. Repeat violations of the condo rules may result in additional warnings, fines, or in some cases, legal action. In extreme cases, if fines aren’t paid, your Condo Association may act by placing a lien on your home. 

However, most violations get corrected with a friendly written reminder.

Once the rules are established, it is the responsibility of the board to enforce them consistently. This helps maintain a fair and organized community where all residents can enjoy their homes. 

So, why do ‘Rules’ get a bad reputation in Condo Associations? 

The honest answer – it’s usually uneducated or over-eager board members. Because board members are homeowner volunteers, there is often a steep learning curve when it comes to their role on the Board. A community association is a corporation with a bigger budget than most volunteers have worked with before. Facing that can be daunting, so some board members hyper-focus on the smaller things they feel they can control. But the real role of the Condo Board is to focus on protecting and enhancing property values, prioritizing community-wide matters and addressing future community needs. 

Where communities often get into trouble with homeowners and the press is when enforcement is not done consistently and fairly. If one homeowner feels they are being singled out, picked on, or even bullied compared to their neighbors, the board can quickly find themselves facing a lawsuit or featured on the evening news. In the management industry, we even have a name for this phenomenon. It’s called selective enforcement. 

It’s important for board members to remember the condo community is a corporation. Board members should keep the bigger  goals in mind, and consider hiring professional management to help manage enforcement consistently and guide in their decisions

Where Your Condo Management Company Fits In

Your condo management company isn’t responsible for developing the rules for your community. Your condo management company can provide helpful insights from experience with other Condominium communities  to ensure your community is adhering to state and local laws as you develop the rules and policies your community needs. Their main role is to help apply the rules set forth by your Condo board fairly and consistently. 

At Certified Property Management, we have extensive experience in helping guide important decisions. We are experts when it comes to condo association management, including understanding and enforcing community rules. We can help your board make educated and informed decisions and protect your condo association’s property values. 

Take the first step towards stress-free condo management by requesting a proposal. Together, let’s unlock the full potential of your investment.

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Trust in Certified Property Management to provide the expertise, resources, and commitment essential for protecting your investment. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive management services and how we can create a tailored plan to meet your specific needs.

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