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Subject: Neighborhood Quality Control
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PhilR
(California)

Posts:6


06/23/2006 8:23 PM  
Iam a retired police officer living in a retirement community of about 1600 homes consiting of regular construction and mobile homes in northern Calif. Recently,I was elected to our HOA and given the assignment of neighborhood quality control. We have an enormous problem of non-compliance with our CC&R's with boats and vehicles overparking on our streets, and also with unsightly and littered occupied properties. We send out letters requesting compliance,but they are largely ignored,especially by the many renters and owmers of the rented properties. Our appeals to local government enforcement agencies seem to fall on dead ears, but it is obvious to me that our real problem is that we have no
mandatory compliance and assessment penalties in our CC&R's. In other words we lack enforcement powers except for placing liens on properties where the annual assessment dues have not been paid and also on properties what have not complied with grass and weed abatement rules. My question is simply can the HOA board amend the
CC&R's with the approval of a majority of law abiding resident members to impose fines for extended non-compliance of our notices of violations ? Your replies will be greatly appreciated.
PhilR
(California)

Posts:6


06/23/2006 8:23 PM  
Iam a retired police officer living in a retirement community of about 1600 homes consiting of regular construction and mobile homes in northern Calif. Recently,I was elected to our HOA and given the assignment of neighborhood quality control. We have an enormous problem of non-compliance with our CC&R's with boats and vehicles overparking on our streets, and also with unsightly and littered occupied properties. We send out letters requesting compliance,but they are largely ignored,especially by the many renters and owmers of the rented properties. Our appeals to local government enforcement agencies seem to fall on dead ears, but it is obvious to me that our real problem is that we have no
mandatory compliance and assessment penalties in our CC&R's. In other words we lack enforcement powers except for placing liens on properties where the annual assessment dues have not been paid and also on properties what have not complied with grass and weed abatement rules. My question is simply can the HOA board amend the
CC&R's with the approval of a majority of law abiding resident members to impose fines for extended non-compliance of our notices of violations ? Your replies will be greatly appreciated.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


06/23/2006 9:59 PM  
Yes you can Phil. And if you can not get sufficient votes to amend the CC&Rs then the Board should be able to pass Rules and Regulations to accomplish this; assuming CA statutes do not prevent and the CC&Rs allow the Board to create rules and regulations.
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


06/24/2006 11:08 AM  
Roger - this "rules & regulations" issue is so confusing. If the board has the authority to issues rules & regulations in this case, why bother with trying to change the CC&Rs? Can you or someone please explain exactly what encompasses a board's authority to make rules & regulations over and above the CC&Rs without member approval? Thanks, Harold
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


06/24/2006 1:05 PM  
Harold, the Declaration usually allows for the Board or the Association to make Rules and Regulations. They are the lowest order in the controlling documents, whereas the Declaration is most powerful. Important items such changing "the association MAY maintain the common areas" to "the association SHALL maintain the common areas" should be done by amending the CC&Rs. Whereas the R&Rs are used for less critical items, which can easily be added or deleted, such as "sidewalks shall be cleared of snow within 24 hours".

Often the Board is given authority in the By-laws to establish R&Rs; otherwise the association approves them at a meeting. An experienced Board with the authority to approve R&Rs will still have the members approve them. This provides greater support for compliance. Rules and Regulations are often used to clarify or expand on the CC&Rs and may be more restrictive thant the CC&Rs. However they must be reasonable to hold up.
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


06/24/2006 1:49 PM  
O.K. - should members receive a copy of rules & regulations? And updated as they change? How do we know what "rules" we might be breaking? If these are so fluid and subject to change, how are we supposed to keep up?
The reason I ask is in February we were sent a memo which stated: "Violation" means a Member's breach of duty or failure to abide by the CC&Rs, By-laws or RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE ASSOCIATION." (My emphisis.) I have copies of the CC&Rs and By-laws but nothing remotely resembling "Rules & Regulations." If we are supposed to abide by these rules and regulations shouldn't we have copies of them so we know what they are? I wrote to the MC's rep and asked her for a copy of our rules & regulations. She wrote back stating "don't you have a copy of the CC&Rs and By-laws?" I wrote back stating yes I did, but wanted to know what was meant by that sentance above ending "or rules & regulations." I've never heard back. Harold
WilliamT
(Arizona)

Posts:489


06/24/2006 2:39 PM  
Posted By HaroldS on 06/24/2006 1:49 PM

O.K. - should members receive a copy of rules & regulations? And updated as they change? How do we know what "rules" we might be breaking? If these are so fluid and subject to change, how are we supposed to keep up?
Harold...


It is the responsibility of the board to make sure the MC is performing their duties. If the MC is not responding to your request, the board needs to know.

The board must make available to the members (through the MC or a Rules Committee ) any Rules and Regulations and notice of changes. Since the MC is usually the first contact for the member, the MC should see that you get a copy of the Rules.

In this case, where the MC did not respond, I would write a letter addressed to the President and copied to the MC, enclosing a copy of your letter to the MC explaining that you have not received a copy of the Rules, and formally complaining that the MC did not respond. I would ask to be placed on the agenda of the next board meeting to discuss the complaint.

Of course, a phone call to the MC prior to writing a complaint letter may resolve the situtation. It could have been an oversight.

Bill
LisaS
(Illinois)

Posts:341


06/27/2006 1:52 PM  
Quite possible "Rules and Regulations" do not currently exist. This leaves the possibility for them to be added later without having to update. There was an 'or' noted and not an 'and' in your quote.

Also, so many items like this get cut and pasted into other documents. I too would bewondering if they existed and where they were. You should get a response. Even if it is just an 'oops'.

Lisa
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


06/27/2006 4:14 PM  
PhilR: yes, you can enact a fine/fee structure. Read your Bylaws and Codes carefully to find out how. In the interim, one thing you should look for is any clause that defines a voting member: in ours, for instance, failure to pay dues loses an owner voting privileges. That means that they can't vote, and that your quorum lowers by some number. It also means that in general, the law abiding/dues paying members are the ones who will be able to vote. THose who don't, often are without vote.

Once you enact a new fee structure, communicate it to everyone!
I would also suggest that you deal strictly with owners, not renters. Telling a renter something means nothing: they can't vote, they don't pay the dues, so they have no stake in improving the situation. deal with owners about the issues of THEIR renters.

Harold: Yes, if there are rules/regs, the homeowners must have received them or be aware of them, and able to read them/follow them. if they are not published, i doubt many HOA's can make them defensible. Lisa's point is valid as well, with the OR as the conjunction, it could refer to a non existing publication, in which case, you only must follow the by laws and CC&R's. (at least, until they publish some rules).
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


06/27/2006 5:41 PM  
Thanks all - I did hear back after writing her again. She told me she is still "researching" my question, but off hand she doesn't think there are any rules and regulations. Which is fine with me. LOL. And yes Lisa - she didn't say, but I would say you are right that it was cut and pasted from somewhere. Thanks again. Harold
SwanB
(Washington)

Posts:199


06/27/2006 9:39 PM  
HaroldS: Yes, members should receive Rules and Regs when they are updated and revised, or at least a notice in the Board minutes that this has occured.
We just revised ours in March of this past year and when the Board minutes were published, members contacted our office for copies of the new Rules & Regs. If we have an email authorization form on file for a member; we email them by attachment. If we need to send them copies, the charge is $.15/page.
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