& Bylaws

Declaration (CC&Rs) & 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 statutes (CIC statutes, nonprofit corporation act, etc.)  

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 generally gives way to the Bylaws once things are “up and running” and almost certainly after homeowners take control from developers.  Moreover, 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 / CC&Rs?


Many state statutes directly establish the hierarchy of governance like this: If a conflict exists between the declaration and the organizational documents, the declaration prevails except to the extent the declaration is inconsistent with this chapter. 


N.B.  Use restrictions are recorded in dedicatory instruments (Declaration / CC&Rs).  Modifying restrictions to the use of units (smoking, rental caps, keeping pets, conducting certain kinds of business, etc.) typically requires a super-majority of owners (from 67% to 90% or more) to agree to amend or restate governing documents.

(4) Except to the extent expressly permitted or required by other provisions of this chapter, no amendment may create or increase special declarant rights, increase the number of units, change the boundaries of any unit, the allocated interests of a unit, or the uses to which any unit is restricted, in the absence of the vote or agreement of the owner of each unit particularly affected and the owners of units to which at least ninety percent of the votes in the association are allocated other than the declarant or such larger percentage as the declaration provides.

EXAMPLES: What's in the Bylaws?

No Variation by Agreement

Most CIC statutes throughout the United States prohibit variation by agreement meaning that  statutory language supersedes the language in your governing documents (especially indicated by the term notwithstanding) except where sections of a statute specifically state your governing documents control.


a) Except as specifically provided in specific sections of this Chapter, the provisions of this Chapter may not be varied by the declaration or bylaws. To the extent not inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter, the declaration, bylaws, and articles of incorporation form the basis for the legal authority for the planned community to act as provided in the declaration, bylaws, and articles of incorporation, and the declaration, bylaws, and articles of incorporation are enforceable by their terms.

(b) The provisions of this Chapter may not be varied by agreement; however, after breach of a provision of this Chapter, rights created hereunder may be knowingly waived in writing.


Except as expressly provided in this chapter, provisions of this chapter may not be varied by agreement, and rights conferred by this chapter may not be waived.


In the event of a conflict between the provisions of the declaration and the bylaws, the declaration prevails except to the extent the declaration is inconsistent with this chapter.

Amending and Restating your Declaration / CC&Rs & Bylaws

Want help with a restatement?  Click here.

Developers and their attorneys often leave room for improvement with regard to both declarations / CC&Rs, bylaws, rules and regulations and more.  Perfecting these critical governing documents can take years, but is often a prudent (and sometimes necessary) step for common interest communities.

Steps to AMEND your Declaration / CC&Rs

Steps to AMEND your Bylaws

Steps to RESTATE your Declaration & Bylaws

If all of that looks a bit complicated, that's because it is!  Want help with your restatement?  Click here.

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

Illuminate YOUR Community!  Connect with the SMAARTE Group!