I can’t tell you how many times per year I meet with a newly elected Board, and their first concern is that their documents are so old, and so out of date, that they completely need to be tossed in the trash and re-drafted. They are wrong.
Sometimes directors freak out just because the documents still have language in them that refer to the developer. So what? If there is no longer a developer, that provision is now obsolete. Leaving that provision alone does nothing to hurt your association.
Often times, I encounter old documents that protect the association better than newer documents do. For example, last week we spoke about how some documents do little to protect the association against overnight rentals. You are more likely to find a willingness for overnight rentals in newer communities and newer documents, rather than old ones, as developers now draft documents that seek to coax buyers into buying units by promising them the ability to make a profit each night the unit is rented.
There’s no question that at least once every few years, you want to sit down with counsel and discuss possible changes or updates to the governing documents. But if that counsel says that the documents basically need a complete re-write, it may be time to find new counsel.
I like to tell the Board members to simply tell me what they want to try and accomplish in their community and I will help them get there. Give me a list of the 4 or 5 things that are of importance, I’ll start drafting some amendments, and along the way, if I run into other provisions that should also be amended, I’ll let you know.
Amending the documents is often times difficult. It typically requires two-thirds or three quarters of the members to agree to an amendment. It’s possible, and it is done all the time. Don’t be intimidated by the process and don’t be talked into doing more than what you really need to do.