Presentation on theme: "Rule Making and Enforcement Getting It Right This course is approved by the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC- CAM)"— Presentation transcript:
Rule Making and Enforcement Getting It Right This course is approved by the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC- CAM) to fulfill continuing education requirements for the CMCA® certification.
Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems. Rene Descartes
Why Make Rules? Preserve or enhance property values Promote harmony within the community Protect member freedom and safety
Rule-Making Authority Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act Section provides that the board of directors has the power to establish, adopt, and enforce rules and regulations with respect to the common areas and such other areas of responsibility assigned to the association in the declaration, except where expressly reserved to the members.
Rule-Making Authority Virginia Condominium Act The Virginia Condominium Act does not address the authority of the executive organ (board of directors) to adopt rules.
Rule-Making Authority Virginia Condominium Act (con’t.) But, Section B of the Virginia Condominium Act requires the bylaws to specify the powers and responsibilities of the board. So, a review of the bylaws is critical to confirm board authority.
Association Rules are Subject to Law Federal laws and regulations – i.e.: Fair Housing Act Telecommunications Act of 1996 Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 State statutes Local ordinances
Developing Rules Checklist of Things to Consider Does the Board have authority to adopt rule? Resolution or amendment needed? Is the rule needed? Does the rule address a current problem? Does the rule create new problems? Does the rule make sense?
Developing Rules Checklist of Things to Consider (cont’d) Is compliance relatively easy? Is compliance possible? Is the rule acceptable to residents? Is the rule enforceable? Is the rule the least restrictive alternative? Does the rule achieve the desired results?
Putting Rules Into Practice What Does It Mean to be Reasonable? Is the Rule Really Necessary? Rule Drafting Adopting New Rules Enforcement
Call them rules or call them limits, good ones, I believe have this in common: They serve reasonable purposes … Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers)
What Does It Mean to Be Reasonable? A reasonable rule rationally and directly relates to an identified problem or concern. The rule should be drafted to address that problem or concern. The rule should be logical and specific enough to cover what is necessary, but not too broad.
Is a Rule Really Necessary? How many residents have complained about the problem? 0 =Rule may not be necessary. 1 =Talk with residents; is it an isolated issue or one that requires Board attention? 2-5 =Is issue reoccurring or ongoing? Calendar issue for review in 3-6 months =Appoint committee to investigate and develop recommendation =Intervene immediately; move forward to enact rule.
Is a Rule Really Necessary? We need a rule, but do we? Is there an existing rule not being enforced? Are the governing document restrictions sufficient? Is this issue regulated by someone else (county, city, state)?
Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to re-write them. Bill Cosby
Drafting Rules The Process Identify the problem Recognize the need for the rule Research enabling laws, association governing documents, and previous association actions Prepare proposed rule
Drafting Rules Components of a Good Rule Transparency Less is more Easy to comply with Efficient Enforceable Flexible
Drafting Rules Tips on How to Draft a Good Rules State the rule in plain language State the rule positively (eliminate the culture of “no”) Include the reason for the rule Explain the consequences for non-compliance Do not be too specific or too broad
What causes [people] to rebel is not the assertion of authority, but the arbitrary use of power, with little explanation of the rules and no involvement in decision-making Laurence Steinberg
Adopting New Rules The rule adoption process may be as important as the rule itself.
Adopting New Rules Summary of the Process Draft proposed rule Propose rule to community Obtain public comment Listen to the community Finalize rule Adopt officially Keep a record of the steps taken to adopt or enact the rule Publish the rule Periodically review
Newsletter Web site Bulletin board Special distribution Town-hall style meeting Interactive web chat Adopting New Rules Getting the Word Out – Prior to Adoption
Educating Residents About Adopted Rules Resale packages Association handbooks New resident orientations Web site Bulletin boards Signs Newsletter The best rules in the world won’t do the association any good if the residents don’t know about them!
Adopting New Rules Flowchart Issue presented by board By committee By homeowners By management Board determines a rule is needed Input from management and legal counsel Issue referred to committee to develop rule Board develops rule Public hearing on proposed rule Proposed rule published f or comment Rule finalized Rule adopted by board at meeting Final, adopted and published Town meeting Interactive web chat Member forum at board meeting Newsletter Website Community bulletin board Special distribution
Seeing that all residents comply with the rules is vital to the integrity of an association and has a direct impact on preserving restrictions. Facilitating compliance requires common sense, creativity, patience, flexibility, and consistency. Lucia Anna “Pia” Trigiani
Common-Sense Approaches to Voluntary Compliance Educate and notify Gain consensus Review rules periodically Act promptly Be reasonable with rules and consequences Give time to comply Provide clear information and guidelines Be consistent and uniform Be flexible
Who Enforces the Rules? Varying roles : Board Committee Manager Legal counsel Local government Neighbor-to-neighbor disputes
The Seven Deadly Sins of Enforcement Regulating the personal lives of residents Giving into political pressure Going to extremes Imposing harsh consequences for small infractions Failing to make exceptions in exceptional circumstances Acting on anonymous, unverified, or unsubstantiated complaints Failing to be flexible, creative, and reasonable
Identifying and Verifying Rule Violations Before following up on a problem with the rules, make sure there really is a problem. Gather the facts Conduct periodic physical inspections Resident input Verify complaints
D UE P ROCESS P ROCEDURE Informal Request Written Complaint Preliminary Investigation (Managing Agent or Covenants Committee Member) Possible ViolationNo Violation Covenants Committee determines Disposition Letter to Complainant Letter to Owner Letter should include Complaint, Notice of Hearing and Notice of Defense and be hand-delivered or mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested. Cease and Desist Request – Can be included with letter to owner Violation Continues 14 Days (Minimum) Discovery (upon request) Hearing Monetary ChangeSuspend ServicesRefer for Legal ActionNo Violation Hearing result mailed or hand-delivered within 7 days of hearing
Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting a Hearing The Do’s: Keep it simple and informal State the case against the resident Let the resident respond in his or her own words Listen carefully to the resident’s explanation Require complainants to attend the hearing Obtain compliance
Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting a Hearing The Don’ts: Use a court-like setting Confront or cross-examine the resident Engage in an argument Ask questions unless you need clarification Act on anonymous complaints that place the association in the role of the accuser Inflict punishment
Consequences Monetary Suspending privileges Suspending the right to vote Self-help Unacceptable consequences
Using Legal Means to Achieve Compliance Alternative Dispute Resolution –Mediation –Arbitration Judicial System –As a last resort, the association may have to take legal action against residents to get them to comply with rules.