Be Reasonable: How Community Associations Can Enforce Rules Without Antagonizing Residents, Going to Court, or Starting World War III. By Kenneth Budd. Sponsored by The Community Associations Institute.

This book is available from the CIA as well as, Borders, and Barnes & Noble. It should be required reading for any board member.

Below are some quotes from the book that, if given some consideration, would go along way towards eliminating some of our problems here in Shavano Ridge.

Courts generally agree that rules that only apply to one or a few owners, or that are unfair to a segment of owners, cannot be enforced. 

If a rule is reasonable, the association can adopt it, if not, it cannot. 

Even reasonable rules should not be enforced in unreasonable circumstances. 

It is generally unwise to create a rule simply because one neighbor is posing a problem. 

Residents should have a role in establishing rules, since they’re the ones who must live by them. 

Complaints from neighbors should be submitted in writing; this avoids changing stories and failing memories. 

Sending the most abrasive board member to “set this guy straight” will defeat your purpose. Some attorneys suggest sending a witness. 

An unreasonable board is usually inconsistent. It cannot ignore a rule for six years and then suddenly decide to enforce it. 

Community associations are democracies. And in any democracy, those accused of violating rules or restrictions should be able to defend themselves before a jury of their peers. 

The hearing should be impartial. 

There is no law that says you have to enforce the rules for every violation. 

Surveys are important tools when making important community decisions. 

A reasonable board tries to prevent problems by clearly publicizing the architectural control process in its newsletter. 

Associations should be cognizant of constitutional rights and make every possible effort to ensure that such rights are honored and protected. 

As with almost all rules, it’s a good idea to survey the community. 

Overzealous, unreasonable boards can be more damaging to property values than the violations they so vigorously try to prevent.