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What to Know About Amending HOA Bylaws
A homeowners association’s bylaws define how the community operates. Typically, these bylaws include stipulations for how many board members can serve at any given time, how often to hold board elections, meeting requirements, and the responsibilities and titles of each board member.
Typically, these governing documents are established upon the development of the planned community. Given the perception that these documents are set in stone, you might wonder if changing your HOA bylaws is even possible. Here is everything to know about amending your HOA bylaws, the process, and the reasons you might want to do so.
How to Amend HOA Bylaws
Before proceeding with the process, an HOA board should first consider why they want to change the bylaws in the first place. If there is no justifiable reason to do so and the board simply wants to alter the documents “just because,” then it might be unwise to proceed. Remember that amending HOA covenants and bylaws is a time-consuming and often financially demanding process.
After you have done your due diligence and considered the matter carefully, you can then initiate the amendment process. This process may vary depending on state laws and your governing documents. Generally, though, the steps include:
Proposal of Amendment: The first step consists of a proposal describing the changes to the bylaw or covenant. The board will receive this proposal and then submit it for review.
Meeting to Discuss: The board will discuss the proposed amendment at a board meeting. During this meeting, the board must allow homeowners to provide their input on the proposal. In some cases, the board may call a special meeting to confer.
Voting: Following review, the entire membership will vote either for or against the amendment. Certain requirements may apply here, too. For instance, in California, HOAs must use secret ballots to vote for these changes. The process for changing HOA covenants will also need secret ballots.
Counting of Votes: The next step in the process of how to change HOA bylaws and covenants is counting the ballots, which usually takes place during an open meeting. This way, homeowners can watch their votes being counted. Doing this not only ensures transparency but also gives members peace of mind.
Approval of the Amendment: Homeowners associations require a majority vote from the membership to approve the amendment. What counts as a majority will depend on your governing documents. Usually, though, HOAs need two-thirds or three-quarters of members to approve the change.
Recording and Effectivity: Bylaws become effective when notice is given to the membership of the change. Of course, that does not mean the board can skip the notice when it comes to covenant changes.
Why Change or Amend HOA Bylaws?
Bylaws and covenants don’t stay relevant forever. Certain changes in society and the community might trigger the need to amend an association’s governing documents. Changes in state laws may also cause you to change your bylaws and covenants to remain compliant.
Another reason to amend your bylaws or CC&Rs is due to overwhelming demand from homeowners. For example, if a majority of your members want to change quorum requirements for a meeting, then your board should consider it.