Community Associations: Adopting New Rules and Regulations

Often, boards have difficulty determining where to begin when adopting new rules and regulations. This article is intended to assist your board when considering the scope of the rules to be adopted.

What makes a “sound” rule?

Generally, rules should meet two primary criteria: they are enforceable, and they are reasonable.

What to regulate:

Consider rules to address the following:

  • Pets: Dogs and cats can be excellent companions, but they can also become a nuisance if not sufficiently trained or if their owner is not accountable. For communities allowing pets, consider rules such as: you must pick up after your dog, and your dog must be on a leash when on community property.
  • Landscaping/property maintenance: Boards should consider rules regulating property maintenance.
  • Construction/modifications: Unsightly construction projects can quickly ruin the look of a neighborhood, and they can cause a disturbance. Consider adopting rules mandating that an owner obtain prior approval from the board for such projects. That way, the board will aware of the scope of the project and how long the project will last.
  • Leasing/short-term rentals: Consider rules establishing minimum rental periods and other rules relating to the leasing of units.
  • Occupancy:Consider rules which require all occupants to be approved by the board.
  • Support animals: While boards may adopt “reasonable” rules governing support animals, doing so is full of potential pitfalls and liability. Consult with your community’s legal counsel before adopting rules to govern support animals.

When creating rules to govern your community, keep enforceability and common sense in mind. The more logical and agreeable the rules, the easier they will be to enforce. Also, if you do not work directly with legal counsel when drafting the proposed rules, be sure to send a copy to legal counsel for input prior to formally adopting same.