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Can an HOA board change the rules and regulations?

Without support from concerned citizens, rules and regulations, and even laws, are just words.
Without support from concerned citizens, rules and regulations, and even laws, are just words.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a society of laws, people depend on rules and regulations to determine what they can and cannot do. Most of the time, these laws are laid out by elected legislatures in far off state capitals and Washington, DC., but in the case of homeowners associations, the rules are set on a local level.

In some ways, a homeowners association board is like a local town council. They oversee the daily operations of the area, and make rules to help maintain order in the community. They have the power to hire and fire security and grounds maintenance personnel, and can also tell residents what they can do with their own homes.

The question becomes, how much power do the members of the board of directors have when it comes to changing and updating the rules and regulations of the communities in which they reside?

Q: A board member mentioned that our HOA board can change Rules and Regulations without the input of members. If this is true then is it the full board and if so do they meet to discuss? If they meet discuss doesn't this mean they have to post it 48 hours before because there will be a quorum of the board and it is open to the members? OR can it just be a few board members meeting to make the changes and then ask the other board members for input? Thank you because I thought this was strange. If this is true then each year if new members are elected then the rules and regs could possibly change yearly???

-Concerned Comcast Customer

A: Unless otherwise set out in the governing documents, it is the associations board that has the power to create and amend the rules and regulations for the association.

Generally speaking without going into a whole lot of background, the reason "why", has to do with the form of governance. The members vote to elect the board. It is the board that makes all decisions for the Association pursuant to Florida statutes, unless the power is specifically delegated to the members.

While, I suppose it is true that rules and regulations can change from year-to-year, such rules and regulations cannot be contrary to the governing documents.

-Jeff Rembaum, Partner at Kaye Bender Rembaum, PLLC

Quite simply,the rules and regulations can be changed as often as needed, but they are only effective if they are enforced. Otherwise, they are simply words on a page.

It takes community support and involvement to make sure that any homeowners association can operate effectively. Without that support, the association becomes a group of old people meeting once a month to look at each other and pat themselves on the back. Who wants to live like that?

The West Palm Beach HOA examiner wishes to thank Jeff Rembaum for his assistance, and his continuing support of this column.

Be sure to subscribe to this column, and stay abreast of issues involving you, the homeowners of Palm Beach County, and join in on the discussion on twitter. If you've had any issues with your HOA that you'd like me to try and delve into, and possibly write about later, please let me know. While you’re at it, please read my articles about local getaways, motorsports, elections, and restaurants.

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