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.