Many Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCR’s), Declaration of Condominium, or both, commonly referred to as the “association documents” are often composed of boiler plate language related to the state statutes in force at the time the builder or developer filed with the state or county. Stay with me, don’t fall asleep just yet! If the community you manage is greater than ten years old, you may want to review the documents with the board or a committee, appointed by the board, to determine if they are current or even relevant.
At a minimum, recommend to the board to remove the builder, or declarant references, from the association’s documents, or address some recurring, unresolved issue by amending the documents. Make no mistake, this is a daunting undertaking! You may be required to get cooperation by vote from as many as two-thirds to as much as seventy-five percent of the membership to amend the documents. The committee can start the revisions; however, do not attempt this without seeking legal review(s). Once you get a document approved by the Board, you may wish to schedule at least two informational meetings and informative mail-outs in simple language to every member of the community to generate interest in the vote. A seventy-five percent threshold is difficult to reach. Many times the vote to amend the documents fails due to lack of information which tends to make people suspicious. It will be an exhaustive and costly endeavor. You do not want to end up with zero pay-off after the time and monetary investment in the process.
When it is time to schedule the vote to amend the association documents, we recommend listing the proposed changes as separate items for member approval. If the community approves the majority of the amendment changes, you can revisit the failed amendments at another time. However, if the vote includes all of the amendments as a sweeping change, the community will most likely vote against it. This can be a devastating loss of time, energy and morale.
Endeavor to persevere.
Tanoa Lynne Poirier is the Managing Principal at Poirier Enterprises Inc., specializing in the management of community associations, commercial and investment properties, and individual residences in South Florida.
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