gavel - law

Ever wonder how the Association came into existence?  Or where the authority for the Association to set rules comes from?  The answer is in the Association’s governing documents.  These legal instruments define how the Association functions and contains instructions ranging from whether clotheslines are allowed, to the day and time of the Annual Meeting, how monthly and special assessments are set, and nearly every possibility in between.

At the apex of the governing documents sits the law.  Federal and state statutes provide the necessary framework for any of the documents discussed here.  As statutes are law, no document can usurp that authority.  There are elements in the bylaws and other material that will reference the statute, but all governing documents will be subservient to any statute.

The Articles of Incorporation, or AOI, is the next item in the hierarchy of documents.  This legal document creates the Association and lists where the agent responsible for its creation is located.  The Secretary of State is the repository of this filing and when the association changes management, an updated filing must be made with the Secretary of State.

The Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions document comes after the AOI.  This will define the conditions attached to the property being purchased, the covenants that both the buyer and the association will adhere to, and the restrictions placed on the homeowner and in some cases the Association.

Of the documents, this is the one which is referenced most often.  Elements will include, but are not limited to, the responsibilities of the HOA and the property owner regarding maintenance and repair of parts of the community.

Clauses in the CC&R will set the restrictions about the use of the property within the Association.  Some examples of the Restrictions include the ability of members to raise livestock, have clotheslines, place satellite dishes (even small DirectTV dishes in some cases), allow generators to be unscreened, set up guidelines concerning signage – political or otherwise – and even what parts of the landscape are the responsibility of the owner to maintain and which elements are the responsibility of the Association.

Finally, the bylaws of the association lay out the administrative pieces of the HOA.  Parts of this document include when meetings are held, when elections are held, terms of officers and their respective job descriptions, and definitions concerning vocabulary specific to HOA’s.

Members of the Association are usually given these documents upon closing on their homes but can be replaced by either the HOA itself or the management company if originals are misplaced. For Capstone managed properties, these are available through the Online Resident Portal by clicking on the Shared Documents tab.  Some of our properties maintain their own website and documents are also available through that format as well.