Challenging Rules and Bylaws of a Condominium
Occasionally condo owners will become frustrated with the rules and regulations set by their condo board. Rules may be outdated, or unreasonable, and your board likely has a process for revising rules and bylaws.
What happens if these rules and bylaws become too restrictive for a particular property or resident?
Every condominium has a set of bylaws that apply to all owners in a condominium, often including anyone renting or visiting the building.
These rules focus on the day-to-day concerns of condo living, including maintenance and repairs, pets, parking, and aesthetic restrictions, use of amenities, renovation guidelines, and condo governance to help make the condominium a pleasant and safe place to live or work. Although rules may seem oppressive, the good news is that there’s something you can do to challenge them.
Below are the helpful tips to guide you on how to go about changing the rules and regulations of a condominium.
- Study the Rules & Regulations
Before you can request changes to the rules and regulations of your condominium, you must learn how to request your desired changes. Your condominium rules and bylaws should include information on how to request changes and a process that must be followed to do so.
Condominium bylaws govern how the condominium corporation is run. Bylaws establish matters elections and the expectations of the board of directors. These bylaws typically define how contributions are to be made, and how rules are passed.
Provincial acts, regulations, and condominium corporation bylaws control the implementation of all rules and regulations that your condo community must conform to. Documents are designed to protect the interests of a condo owner by making sure the right people are elected to the board and they have a clear vision to implement laws and bring changes that will be beneficial for the overall community.
You will also find orders in these documents on how to carry out maintenance tasks, meetings, voting, general assessments, restrictions, and home insurance coverage.
Studying these documents will allow you to gain a better understanding of the rule or regulations that you wish to change. Moreover, these documents will allow you to make an informed and compelling argument when writing a letter to the board requesting changes.
While you are studying the rules, keep in mind that these documents exist in a hierarchy. There might be other state or provincial regulations that might clash with other bylaws. Always ask your condo association, board member, or your realtor to provide you with condo association documents which will make it easier for you to write the letter.
- Attend Board Meetings
If you’re serious about bringing a change to your condo community, then you should attend board meetings. Attending board meetings provides many benefits to the condo owners.
Board meetings not only allow you to exercise your vote, but it allows you to ask crucial questions to make the most informed decisions regarding your condominium. Moreover, it allows you to express your opinion on important topics while building a network within the community that can enhance the response with the public.
By asking questions to the board members, you will get a better understanding of the problem on hand and if the rules and regulations that you want to challenge are the results of a compromise between certain divisions within the community.
Once you’ve read through the documents and attended a couple of meetings with board members, you will have a clear idea of what your next steps should look like.
- Get Consensus
Changing rules, regulations, and bylaws are not as easy as it seems as you still need to get a certain percentage of votes from other homeowners in your community. Therefore, attending board meetings allows you to create friendships with your fellow homeowners which you can use to your advantage. Talking to your neighbors will help you in finding out what they think about the rule. If you can get the necessary support of your neighbors challenging the rules, you can take your request further.
Once you know that you’re not alone in your dislike for certain regulations, you can look at the document to obtain some information on the consensus that you need to amend the bylaws.
Although there are many benefits to this process, it is not rapid. You need to work with the Board’s schedule to have your concerns heard. Oftentimes, homeowners can request special meetings to communicate their interests.
- Write a Letter
After you have read the rules and regulations, and the bylaws of your condominium it’s time to write a formal letter to the board stating your reasons for challenging the rules and regulations. Cite examples of how the current rules are affecting different homeowner’s lives and the desired change can benefit the whole community. Don’t forget to attach your petition to the letter to support your statement.
If you succeed with your proposition and the board agrees to change the restrictive rule or bylaw, they’ll most likely create a proposal or an outline with details of the rule change to confirm that all unit owners are aware of the development as dictated by the rules and bylaws of the corporation.
As you go about efforts to change your condo rules and regulations, keep in mind that it takes a lot of time and effort to create those rules, so they can’t be changed overnight. It can take anywhere between 3-6 months to make significant changes.
If you’re are truly passionate about the community’s well-being and would like to make a difference in the lives of homeowners then consider volunteering for your condo board!