Drafting Rules

 

Although many may not realize this, but drafting rules is a form of art.  It is an art in the sense that you have to know when it is too much, when it is too little, when it needs clarification, and when it conflicts with the law.  For this reason, it is always recommended that draft rules be reviewed by an association’s attorney prior to finalization.  Unfortunately, however, this does not always happen, and associations may find themselves in hot water attempting to enforce unlawful, or otherwise unenforceable, rules.

To assist you with the preparation of an initial set of rules, we have compiled specific examples and tips of what NOT to do:

  • Do NOT write rules that conflict with provisions of your declaration, bylaws, or articles of incorporation:

Example:

Declaration provides:

All parking spaces in the common area parking lot must be designated as guest parking and may not be utilized by owners.

Rule provides:

No owner may park in the common area parking lot unless he/she has obtained prior written approval from the board.

  • Do NOT write rules singling out children:

Examples:

⇒ No child under 14 may be on common area after 8 p.m. without adult supervision.
⇒ All tricycles and toys must be removed from common area after use.
⇒ Children may not run around or be involved in horseplay in the pool area.

  • Do NOT write rules containing unclear or ambiguous terms:

Examples:

⇒ No unsightly objects may be kept on decks.
⇒ No offensive behavior is allowed in the pool area.
⇒ All commercial vehicles must be properly screened from view.

  • Do NOT write rules that are unreasonable:

Examples:

⇒ No owner may retain a contractor without prior board approval.
⇒ Garage doors may only be open when entering and exiting the garage and may not be open for more than 15 seconds.
⇒ Absolutely nothing may be kept on patios or decks.

  • Do NOT write rules that conflict with State or Federal laws:

Examples:

⇒ No satellite dishes or other antennae may be installed on townhome roofs.
⇒ In the event, an owner shall violate these rules, and an immediate fine of $100 will be imposed.
⇒ No signs or flags of any kind may be placed on the lots.

  • Do NOT write rules treating certain religions differently than other religions:

⇒ Christmas lights and decorations may be put up 45 days before the holiday and taken down 30 days after the holiday.
⇒ The only religious activities the clubhouse may be utilized for are events sponsored by a local church.
⇒ No religious activity may be performed in the clubhouse, except that one Christmas mass may be held in December of each year.