Tracey at Western Slope HOA Management, LLC found this article interesting when she came across it during a CAM educational course. It also reminds one of how the structure of government works, and of how the Homeowner Associations really are grass root political organizations meant for the good of the community.
For most Common Interest Communities (CICs), the basic legal documents and the hierarchy of such documents are, as follows:
- CONSITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES & STATE CONSTITUTION
- COMMON LAW, UNITED STATES FEDERAL & STATE LAWS. The Association's documents should not conflict with the laws of the land. Common, Corporate, Civil and Federal laws take precedence over the documents when there is a conflict. Individual community rules and regulations, however, may be more restrictive, i.e., cars cannot be parked on the private streets. Common laws are those which derive their authority solely from usages and customs of immemorial antiquity. It is understood and contrasted with statutory or criminal law and relates more to special or local rules and customs. Common laws, however, cannot be inconsistent with State or U.S. Laws.
- SUBDIVISION PLAT. Describes the location and nature of the common property and the individual lots.
- PROPERTY DEEDS. Compromise the individual lot deeds and the deeds to common property which give a legal description of the property.
- THE DECLARATION OF COVENANTS, CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS (CC&R'S). The declaration is the collection of covenants issue on all property within the development and provides:
1. For automatic association membership of all owners and the basis of voting rights
2. The obligation of each owner to share in funding the costs of association operations
3. Certain restrictions (architectural control and other rules) on the use of the property and the Association's enforcement power
4. Sets forth the power and authority of the Association to own and maintain the common property and to make and enforce rules
5. A contract which binds the owners of the individual property owners together
6. Lender protections and provisions are found in this document as this is recorded against each lot in the CIC
- ANNEXATION AGREEMENTS Brings new parcels and/or lots into the community. This is an important document to ensure all properties and parcels ARE part of the CIC before litigation when their defense is that they are not part of the CIC
- PUBLIC OFFERING STATEMENTS A document that the Developer gives to each first purchaser in the development disclosing those things that may influence the purchasing decision (such as Earthquake fault zones, flood planes, air traffic patterns, etc.)
- ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION Creates the Association as a legal entity (usually a non-profit) under State Corporate statutes and define the broad powers and responsibilities of the Association and its members
- BYLAWS Normally implements, in specific detail, the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation regarding the Association operations, including the meetings and election processes, powers and duties, board meetings, committees, insurance requirements, rule making and enforcement process.
- RULES AND REGULATIONS Sets forth the operational powers or provisions an the use restrictions adopted by the Association board. Cannot conflict with other governing documents. Should further define provisions which may be unclear.