If you’re looking to live in a community association, you no doubt want to enjoy the many amenities that come along with living there. These amenities can range from security gates, pool access, playgrounds, golf courses, common area maintenance and more depending on the community.
The party responsible for maintaining these amenities as well as the rights, responsibilities and rules of the community also vary, and if they are not abided by, can cost home owners by way of fines.
So, how do you make sure you know your community association’s rules? By always keeping a copy of your community association’s governing documents.
Your association’s governing documents, including any rules and regulations, should have been provided to you at the time of closing, but you can also obtain them by any one of the following methods:
- Association Website – Many associations make their governing documents, as well as all community forms, available on their website. Some states actually require this within their statutes.
- Public Record – Because most, if not all, governing documents are required to be filed with one or more governmental entities, many documents are public record and can be purchased through your local government offices. Start first with the county in which you purchased, which can be found in your deed records, and phone the professionals within that office for assistance.
- Title Company/Realtor – If you have just closed on your home or are looking into possibly purchasing, there is no better resource than your Title Company or realtor.
- Management Company – Reach out to your professional management company as a resource. Many times you are able to purchase a new set of documents directly through their office or at least obtain direction on how to accomplish this task.
- Board Members – Your Board Members are a wonderful resource and want to do all they can to educate owners on the rules and regulations of the community so if they have made themselves available to you, reach out and inquire about obtaining a set of governing documents.
It’s important to be familiar with your community’s governing documents — which include the bylaws, CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) rules and regulations and articles of incorporation— because they contain frequently asked questions and can save everyone in the community a lot of time and conflict. The governing documents establish how your association is run and set expectations for you as a homeowner living in the association as well as the expectations you can have for your association and when these expectations are met, communities are in a better position to function more efficiently.