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 Amazon.com, 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
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
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
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.