Rules can be cringe-worthy and daunting, but they're also essential for common interest community living.
The proliferation of CICs throughout the 1980s and 1990s (and a myriad of lawsuits) brought realizations and quite a lot of academic thought about how to construct governance that can stand the test of time. Perhaps the ultimate failure of CICs is choosing not to spend the time and money required to establish appropriate governance and oversight. Investing appropriately in your governing documents will pay decades of dividends. You need not start from tabula rasa. Incorporate the lessons learned from thousands of your peers.
Rules form the second leg of the governing documents triumvirate and generally function in the space between the declaration and bylaws and policies, procedures and resolutions. While some rules are supplemental restrictions authorized by the Board , many rules may simply codify a specific restriction enumerated in the declaration. A comprehensive rules document should also facilitate access to and reference relevant policies, procedures and resolutions. These links between governing documents can also be accomplished in other ways such as through the use of a handbook.
Rules are essential to codify a set of standards that goes beyond requirements from state statutes, your declaration and bylaws. Before establishing new rules or updating existing rules, read CIC Rules: 8 Commandments for Development and Enforcement (below).
Emphasize consistency, empathy, honesty, integrity, reason and transparency in your rule-making.
"[Home] should be a place you want to escape to, not escape from." - Laura Castro Trognitz
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.
WASHINGTON STATE STATUTORY REFERENCE EXAMPLES
RCW 64.90.505 - Notice of Rules
(1) Unless the declaration provides otherwise, the board must, before adopting, amending, or repealing any rule, give all unit owners notice of:
(a) Its intention to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule and provide the text of the rule or the proposed change; and
(b) A date on which the board will act on the proposed rule or amendment after considering comments from unit owners.
(2) Following adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule, the association must give notice to the unit owners of its action and provide a copy of any new or revised rule.
(3) If the declaration so provides, an association may adopt rules to establish and enforce construction and design criteria and aesthetic standards and, if so, must adopt procedures for enforcement of those standards and for approval of construction applications, including a reasonable time within which the association must act after an application is submitted and the consequences of its failure to act.
(4) An association's internal business operating procedures need not be adopted as rules.
(5) Every rule must be reasonable.
RCW 64.90.405(9) - Powers & Duties
(9) ...the board may not be arbitrary or capricious in taking enforcement action.