By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL
It is important to create good association operating rules and to make sure the rule topics required by statute are also covered, but all that is wasted if the association fails to follow the required rule amendment process. Because rules are amended only by the board, the Civil Code requires special procedures to alert members in advance when boards consider changing or creating rules.
Civil Code 4360 sets up the following two meeting process:
The law allows for emergency rules, if immediate action is necessary to avoid imminent threat to health, safety or to substantial economic loss. Boards may pass emergency rules for up to 120 days but they cannot be renewed.
In making changes to association rules, consider these five process tips:
Perfection is not required. Per Civil 4350(d), as long as the board acts in good faith and in substantial compliance with the process, the rule should be valid, even if some minor noncompliance with the process occurs.
The law, while potentially frustrating, protects associations by forcing their boards to slow down before changing rules, thereby giving members an important voice in this process. The hoped-for results are better and less divisive rules and more harmonious communities.
Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Managing Partner of Richardson Ober PC, a law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to KRichardson@ROpc.com. Past columns at www.HOAHomefront.com. All rights reserved®.
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