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Seek OK to modify your home

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 06:53 PM

Q: I live in a homeowners association where covenants and bylaws allow a board of directors to govern our community. I understand that the board has the right to make rules and policies to help perform its duties. At what point does the membership need to be involved? Also, when do the members vote to amend the covenants when these policies are developed in support of the recorded rules? An example is when an owner wants to paint his or her home and the board establishes its own colors that must be approved. How far can the board go in establishing their own rules?

R.H., Hudson

A: The board has the responsibility for operating the association. One of these duties is to maintain the architectural appearance of the homes and community. There is an unwritten rule that I suggest for members: Any time you modify, repair or even repaint the exterior of your home, you should seek approval from the board.

To help the board perform correctly, the members need to establish policies and rules. It is not written that the board needs to do all the work. They have the right to hire staff as well as management to do the day-to-day tasks.

One interesting thing about the board rules and policies is that they can be modified or eliminated at any board meeting. Although it would be nice to send the members a copy of the policies and any changes, it is not a requirement. Such policies and rules should be approved at a board meeting and be included in the minutes. If these changes conflict with the documents, then the members must approve the changes, and they should be recorded in the public records. Any time a document is amended, an attorney should provide legal guidance.


Richard White is a licensed community association manager. He does not offer legal opinions; any other questions and comments concerning association operations can be sent to Richard White, 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven FL 33884-4115; or email camquestion@cfl.rr.com.
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