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Subject: Revising HOA Bylaws
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ShannonC2
(Wisconsin)

Posts:4


10/08/2011 7:20 PM  
Hi,

I am on my Homeowners Association Board and we are facing a residing issue that has raised a question pertaining to the bylaws for our HOA. Currently, we are not allowed to use any vinyl or metal products on the front on our homes. Due to a huge issue with the siding that is currently on our homes (which are all less than 9 years old), we need to reside our homes. Many of the homeowners have raised the question as to whether we can amend the bylaws.

In the current bylaws, we have the following section pertaining to amendments:

"These covenants are to run with the land and shall be binding on all parties and all persons claiming under them for a period of thirty (30) years. From that date these covenants shall be automatically extended for successive periods of ten (10) years unless an instrument signed by the majority of the then owners of the lots has been recorded, agreeing to change said covenants in whole or in part."

I can see how these statements can be interpreted a couple of ways:

1) either we can't change the bylaws in any way until after the first 30 years (which would be in 2032)
2) or we can change them at any time with a majority vote

I am wondering if anyone else has encountered such a clause in your bylaws and what you have done to address this issue?

Thanks!
Shannon
PetunkaM
(Florida)

Posts:958


10/08/2011 7:51 PM  
Shannon,

No, no. You are misreading the Covenants . What this provision says is that your Covenants (NOT the By-laws) will expire after 30 years. The provision of the automatic extension may or may not apply. It is a subject to Marketable Title Record Act which prevails. But, since your Association is only nine years old (I guess) I would not worry about that provision for another 21 years.

As to the siding – I am not sure what the issue is. But yes, you can amend the Covenants at any time to allow different type of siding. Look under Covenants: Article: Amendments. This article should tell you how many votes you need. Note: Covenants and By-laws are two different documents and the Covenants are the most important. Any amendment to the covenants should be carefully reviewed and it may not be a bad idea to have an attorney to look at it.
ShannonC2
(Wisconsin)

Posts:4


10/10/2011 7:07 AM  
Thanks for the response. Please forgive my ignorance, but what is the difference between the covenants and the bylaws? I thought that those terms were exchangeable. If we cannot revise the covenants, but we can the bylaws, how do we differentiate between the two?

The siding issue is the the bylaws currently state that we cannot use metal or vinyl siding on the front exterior of our homes. We can only use cedar, brick/stone or cement fiber boards. Most of us used the cement fiber boards as we were told that this product would last for 50 years with minimal maintenance (and it was cheaper that a complete stone/brick front). The cement boards are not cracking, warping and falling off the houses. We have contacted the company that provided the boards and we are getting either replacement boards, or the cash equivalent. Several homeowners have looked into residing their homes with the various materials on the market now. There are two products that look identical to the current cement boards (same width and wood grain appearance), but are made of vinyl and steel. A group of us would like to modify the bylaws to allow these types of products on our homes, but another group claims that we cannot make those changes since the covenants are binding for 30 years.

Any suggestions on how we might approach this would be very welcome. We have a HOA meeting scheduled next week to talk about the issues and I would like to be prepared to counter any arguments presented that we cannot modify the bylaws.

Thanks,
Shannon
PetunkaM
(Florida)

Posts:958


10/10/2011 9:16 AM  
'Q: Thanks for the response. Please forgive my ignorance, but what is the difference between the covenants and the bylaws? I thought that those terms were exchangeable. If we cannot revise the covenants, but we can the bylaws, how do we differentiate between the two?'

A: Declaration of Covenants goes with the land. It talks about the legal ownership of the units, maintenance of the real and common properties, lease restrictions, pet restrictions, parking, architectural control, insurance, etc.

By-laws address how the Association is managed. This includes election procedures, meetings, voting procedures, money management, etc. The By-laws are a subset of Articles of Incorporation. (I assume you have been incorporated)


Q: Several homeowners have looked into residing their homes with the various materials on the market now. There are two products that look identical to the current cement boards (same width and wood grain appearance), but are made of vinyl and steel. A group of us would like to modify the bylaws to allow these types of products on our homes, but another group claims that we cannot make those changes since the covenants are binding for 30 years.


A: Please do me a big favor. Look for the Covenant Article: AMENDMENTS and let us know what it says. This Article is usually almost at the end of the document.


ShannonC2
(Wisconsin)

Posts:4


10/10/2011 9:31 AM  
Thanks for the information!

I will pull out the exact wording of the amendments section. The original quote at the beginning of this post was pulled from that section. I will do that tonight. Thank you!
ShannonC2
(Wisconsin)

Posts:4


10/10/2011 7:13 PM  
Section 4 Amendments

These covenants are to run with the land and shall be binding on all parties and all persons claiming under them for a period of thirty (30) years. From that date these covenants shall be automatically extended for successive periods of ten (10) years unless an instrument signed by the majority of the then owners of the lots has been recorded, agreeing to change said covenants in whole or in part.



That is the entire section on amendments.
PetunkaM
(Florida)

Posts:958


10/10/2011 7:46 PM  
Hmm.. This is exactly what our covenants state but NOT under Amendments. This is a standard provision under MRTA but I have already said that.
You should/must be able to amend this document -from time to time - just to comply with Federal and State laws, if nothing else. Well, I am not sure what to say, am sorry. I hate to send you to a property attorney but since I cannot read the document I do not see any other way. He should be able to advise you for about $150 or even less, I would think. Please just call him and ask for 1/2 hour consultation.
EllieD
(Vermont)

Posts:361


10/12/2011 4:35 PM  
ShannonC2,

Can you do a word search on your Documents to look for the word "amend" or "amended"? Or maybe look for the words "percentage" or "percent" or "%" as those words are often included in a paragraph as to how the Document is to be amended and the percent vote required to do so.

Just a thought.
JeanI
(Louisiana)

Posts:76


10/12/2011 4:46 PM  
Is your developer still around? If so you may want to confer with him to straighten out the confusion. Bylaws do not run with the land nor are they filed in court when the developer submits his original plat. Someone screwed up and you may need to confer with a local lawyer to rectify your documents.
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