& bylaws

Your Declaration & Bylaws combine to complete the first leg of your governing documents triumvirate.

Common interest community (CIC) Declarations or Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are dedicatory instruments recorded by county governments that "run with the land" to form the foundation of every association's governing documents. Bylaws partner with the declaration / CC&Rs to establish the broadest forms of organization-specific governance and restrictions. Both documents typically incorporate statutory language from your state's CIC statutes and may also include references from your state's nonprofit corporations act.

If your declaration & bylaws were a Scrabble board, every single piece that's played must follow the structure they create. Articles of incorporation are not discussed here because their critical role allowing the formation of a corporation rarely influences the outcomes thereafter for CICs (and some CICs are not incorporated). Many state and county governments provide an online technology portal that allows searching for corporations and for recorded documents, respectively.

Reference the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act and Uniform Condominium Act.

EXAMPLES: What's in the Declaration?

  • Formation of the association

  • Allocated interest for Units

    • for condominiums, interest is often divided into % of common elements (CE) and residential limited common elements (RCLE)

  • Powers of the Board and of the association

  • Dispute resolution and methods of enforcement

  • Regulations of the use of units such as smoking, rental caps, keeping pets, conducting certain kinds of business and other activities

  • Exhibits that demarcate components, define responsibilities and references to the survey map and plans

  • Insurance requirements and responsibility for costs to restore damage in common elements and Units

  • Procedures for requesting approving alterations

  • Rubric for defining and approving capital improvements

  • Surplus funds

  • Disclosure

  • Unit Access

EXAMPLES: What's in the Bylaws?

  • Basics for all meetings of the association including members / owners, the Board and committees (quorum, place & time, notice, etc.)

  • Basics for your Board of Directors and Committees (who can serve, term limits, elections, removals, vacancies, officer roles, etc.)

  • Ethics clause and conflicts of interest clause (highly recommended!)

  • Communications Policy (read Bylaws Words of Wisdom)

Condominium Responsibility Matrix
2019 Condo Law Handbook for Community Associations


Page 31: What Documents Define and Control My Association

The Condominium Concept
Managing the Florida Condominium

Includes pertinent context for common interest communities throughout the USA

CIC Governance Hierarchy

Statutory & Governing Documents Hierarchy.pdf