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Subject: Best practices for Revising Rules and Regulations
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KP1
(Colorado)

Posts:65


03/10/2019 2:07 PM  
If you have done this in your association - is it better to allow membership to comment, ask questions, give feedback prior to implementation? Or just do it and hope you have solid approval after the fact?
We are revising and perhaps making some significant changes in terms of bans and allowances.

Some on the committee would prefer we just enact w/o prior notice period and hope for few objections. I'd prefer a giving a period of time ahead of implementation so any concerns might be addressed or at least heard.

I know some states actually require this but I don't know if Colorado does and I am still researching. Our Docs imply no such notice is required but does say how membership can counter if 33% disapprove of the Rule changes. That's sort of what I'd like to avoid.

This is from CA and is in alignment with what I would like to propose.


(a) The board shall provide general notice pursuant to Section 4045 of a proposed rule change at least 28 days before making the rule change. The notice shall include the text of the proposed rule change and a description of the purpose and effect of the proposed rule change. Notice is not required under this subdivision if the board determines that an immediate rule change is necessary to address an imminent threat to public health or safety or imminent risk of substantial economic loss to the association.

(b) A decision on a proposed rule change shall be made at a board meeting, after consideration of any comments made by association members.

If you have done this can you give me some feedback and tell me what you did? Or if what you did worked or didn't work.

Thanks,
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2770


03/10/2019 3:21 PM  
We did it last year. We made substantial changes to our Rules & Regulations. A committee held about 8 meetings over the course of the year. Every meeting was noticed ahead of time and homeowners were encouraged to attend. Some did, most didn't. When the committee was done it prepared a new 18-page "Rules & Regulations" document and submitted it to the board. In October the board considered the new R&R. The board requested a couple of minor changes. The committee met one more time and incorporated those changes. In November the board approved them.

Copies of the new R&R were distributed to the homeowners at the Annual Meeting in January where about 5 homeowners reacted negatively to some of the changes. Some people just like to complain.

In Florida, since last July, Rules & Rgulations must now be recorded with the county and we did that and now our revised Rules & Regulations are in place.
KP1
(Colorado)

Posts:65


03/10/2019 3:51 PM  
Thanks for that feedback Geno.

So you included you members in the process by inviting them to attend the committee meetings. How many on your committee and were there any homeowners invited to join? If you had not asked for attendance at your committee meetings (we did not, no one thought of it I guess) do you think you might have considered specifically notifying owners of the Board meeting with the discussion of final draft for revised rules and regs?

Our committee was formed impromptu at a BOD's meeting and not on the agenda and no formal request went out to the owners for invitation to join. In hindsight that probably would have been a good idea.

All owners are invited to attend Board of Directors meetings but no notice is required. The last meeting we received a 2 day notice with no agenda. I'm thinking maybe for this issue the Board make a solid attempt to notify owners with at least a week advanced notice highlighting this agenda item with the final proposal from committee on the adoption of the revised R & R's. I think that might be sufficient. If they don't show up - then they hold their peace.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6252


03/10/2019 4:48 PM  
We do it as required in CA and I think it's the best way because Owners know based on our agenda posted 4 days before an open board meeting that the board will discuss a proposed rule. If the Board likes it, it goes out to owners for a 28-day comment period. It's then back on a posted open meeting agenda for further discussion by the Board and input from Owners at the Open Forum required in CA. Then the board votes.

Our changes are usually just one rule at a time--maybe a couple of year.

I definitely agree that Owners should be invited in to join conversations about rule changes before the board enacts them. You'll want compliance and Owners will be far more likely to comply if you alert them in advance the reason for the changes. I'd also publicize the potential changes in your HOA's newsletter if you have one.

I, personally, don't understand why some of members want this all kept under wraps. How is that approach neighborly?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2770


03/10/2019 6:15 PM  
Posted By KP1 on 03/10/2019 3:51 PM
So you included you members in the process by inviting them to attend the committee meetings. How many on your committee and were there any homeowners invited to join?

We submitted a brief committee report in advance of the monthly board meetings all year, and always pointed out that anyone who wanted to attend the meetings was more than welcome. We encouraged everyone who might be interested to join the committee.

We had between 4 and 7 members during the year. We started out with 7 in January. Two left in April when they went north for the summer. Another resigned in May when she didn't like some of the changes being contemplated (really minor stuff). We picked up another member in June who resigned in July and added 2 new members also in July (2 people who were interested in running for the board and wanted to see what was happening). So we kept it friendly and were welcoming to anyone and everyone who wanted to be involved.

The board as a whole was consistently supportive of our efforts. We had a new president in June after the previous one moved out of the community and he (the new one) was extremely hostile all year. He was one of "those types" who thought the HOA was infringing on his "rights" and wanted to get rid of all of the R&R, period. Luckily the rest of the board continued to be supportive.


Posted By KerryL1 on 03/10/2019 4:48 PM
We do it as required in CA and I think it's the best way because Owners know based on our agenda posted 4 days before an open board meeting that the board will discuss a proposed rule. If the Board likes it, it goes out to owners for a 28-day comment period. It's then back on a posted open meeting agenda for further discussion by the Board and input from Owners at the Open Forum required in CA. Then the board votes.

We kept working on the new R&R document without passing on each one to the board individually. It took a LOT of work and time to do what we did. If we did it piecemeal it would have taken forever since by the time we got to the end, there would have been objections and requests to go back and change things that were done 6 months prior. And 5 months prior. Etc. We never would have finished and it was already an incredibly tedious effort.

We finished in early September and sent an email draft copy to all board members for their consideration. In Florida, a board meeting at which Rules & Regulations will be considered requires a 14-day advance notice to the community. Guess what didn't happen in time for the September meeting? Initial consideration had to wait until October at which time the board wanted a few changes. Final board approval happened in November. We were finished in early September and 2 and-a-half months was required for final board action.


Posted By KerryL1 on 03/10/2019 4:48 PM
Our changes are usually just one rule at a time--maybe a couple of year.

Going forward we're expecting a couple of changes a year at most. So much cruft had accumulated in the past 10 years that we felt it best to sweep it all aside. Different versions of the R&R over the years resulted in everyone having different rules because there was never a concentrated effort to make sure everyone had up-to-date copies. At the first committee meeting everyone was asked to bring along their current copy of the R&R, 4 different versions surfaced from different years and all using different fonts (one was Comic Sans, no lie) and page layouts and indentation schemes. Not to mention none of them had ever been numbered; they were all just bullet points.

When we finally put it to bed with the county clerk recordation we did a non-scientific analysis and came up with an estimated number of homeowners who could use a modern word processor: 4 (out of 100)

There is no way I would ever subject myself to this again. Hopefully it won't have to be done again any time soon. Minor yearly changes won't be too bad (so long as whoever's doing it can use MS Word).

We used to have a monthly newsletter (unofficial) put together by a couple of dedicated volunteers. Both stopped doing it and nobody stepped up to replace them so we haven't had a newsletter in 2 years.

Such a drastic overhaul is unlikely to happen again, I hope, but if it ever becomes necessary 10 or 15 years down the road, my advice to anyone thinking about volunteering to do it would be simple. Don't.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16201


03/11/2019 8:12 PM  
We changed our architectural guidelines about 10 years ago. The process took over a year but had positive support from the membership.

1) Architectural committee identified changes for the guidelines.
No proposed change was made unless the committee was 100% in agreement.

2) The changes were submitted to the board in the following way:

Written existing guideline
written proposed guideline
written reasoning for the change

3) Board reviewed the proposal and made changes they thought were necessary.

4) Board published the proposed changes (existing, proposed, reason) in writing to the membership.
In our case, this was mailed to everyone.

5) Special membership meeting was held to discuss proposed changes and receive input.
Members could also submit input via email or community discussion board.

6) Board made changes based on membership feedback.

7) Board requested legal guidance and opinion where necessary (in this case, it was over decks).

8) Board made changes based on legal guidance.

9) Board adopted proposal and published guidelines (those that changed and those that did not) to the membership.
KP1
(Colorado)

Posts:65


03/11/2019 10:18 PM  
Thanks all for the feedback>

Would any responders care to tell me if they sat on their Board at the time and what your position is/was.

When this committee was formed on January 10 it was done so at a BOD meeting that I attended. I and another homeowner were the only 2 non-boards present. She declined and I accepted. There was no notice to the community at large of this committee's form or any further extension to participate to any other homeowner. The only way other homeowners would have known about it would have been thru posted meeting minutes on the web site following the meeting which were posted on Feb. 20th. The Feb. 7th meeting notice to owners also did not have an agenda attached either which might have allowed owners to know about this committee. So we formed with 4 board members and myself.

So I am thinking that maybe - since the other members on the committee, all being board members, that maybe I should step off so this committee can be an Internal Board Committee only - particularly if there is agreement among the others to not include other homeowners before implementation. Is it appropriate for only one homeowner to be able to involved in this when others are not and were not given the opportunity to participate as I was simply by being present at the BOD meeting when it formed?

I am trying to figure out what is appropriate - it feels kind of selective and maybe more proper for no owner to be involved than just a selected one and more so if others will not be allowed to participate before the R & R's are approved.

Of course on the other hand - maybe by remaining I can inform my neighbors as the process moves along and ask them directly for feedback and keep them abreast of what the committee is doing. But is that appropriate too?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6252


03/12/2019 9:27 AM  
As a former board member for 12 years until a few months ago, who believes in letting Owners in to all processes that aren't confidential, I agree with your approach: "... by remaining I can inform my neighbors as the process moves along and ask them directly for feedback and keep them abreast of what the committee is doing. But is that appropriate too?"

Why would anything in this committee be a secret, anyway? Encourage the other director-comm. members to invite owners to attend these meetings.
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