I think it’s hysterical that the current law allows directors to get certified by simply signing an affidavit that says that “he or she has read the association’s declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies and that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability.” Many of you have illegal provisions in your governing documents but you must agree to “uphold” them anyway. Sorry, but the entire concept of certification by signing is absurd, but that’s for another column, another day.
Today, you need to think about the last time you actually read your governing documents. When was the last time you amended any provision of them? Did you ever bother to check if the documents contain the “as amended from time to time” language that would automatically incorporate new statutes into your association’s governing documents, or are your documents forever locked into the laws as they existed when your community was built?
What about the interest and late fees you can charge delinquent owners? Do the documents allow the association the right to charge the highest rates allowed by law, or is the association locked into a low interest rate and no right to charge a late fee? Are there any requirements of the Board of Directors to approve or disapprove of renters or buyers, or can Charles Manson move into your community if he was ever released? Can you reject someone for cause without having an immediate obligation to purchase or lease the unit?
Many associations are going nuts because their condominiums are turning into hotels. How do we stop all of the ads on Airbnb? Have you thought about amending the docs to require that a minimum lease term is 6 months or more? If you’re constantly being told that everyone is a “family member” and not a tenant or guest, have you thought about amending your documents to require that all “guests” or “family” can only occupy the residence simultaneously with the unit owner? Or, have you thought about amending your documents to require the owner to provide the specific names of those immediate family members who can access the unit in the absence of the owner, and only those persons would be considered “family” and have access?
Are you sure you really are a 55 and over community? Do your documents say so? If not, you aren’t.
I know they’re boring. But, you owe it to yourselves to at least think about whether or not your documents are doing all they can to protect you and your investment and lifestyle. Never believe for one moment that just because the documents are old, they have to be completely rewritten. They don’t. They may just need a little fine tuning.