Can HOA Change Their Bylaws and CC&Rs?

Homeowners associations are governed by a set of documents, including bylaws and CC&Rs. From time to time, Homeowners Associations encounter circumstances and situations that necessitate new rules or regulations. Society changes, technology changes, and the rules need to keep up with those changes. 

Changing HOA Bylaws and CC&RS

Bylaws and covenants can not stay the same forever. Modifying an association’s governing documents may result from specific developments in society and the local community. Changes in state laws may also be another reason for making revisions to your bylaws and covenants to remain compliant.

The overwhelming demand from homeowners is another basis for changing your bylaws or CC&Rs. For instance, your board should consider changing the quorum requirements for meetings if most of your members want it. Your choices must be supported by good judgment and logical thought. Do not simply alter your bylaws because you can.

When should bylaws be updated? There is no set interval for updating your bylaws and covenants. Generally, your governing documents should be reviewed every 3 to 5 years. Check for any provisions or stipulations that are outdated or no longer comply with the law during your review. It is best to seek the assistance of your HOA attorney in this matter.

How to Change HOA Bylaws and CC&RS

The bylaws of a homeowners association govern how the community operates. It specifies how many board members can serve at any given time, how often board elections must be held, meeting requirements, and the responsibilities of each board member. 

The CC&Rs, or Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, on the other hand, define an HOA’s rights and obligations to its members and vice versa. It includes property-use restrictions, covenant enforcement, and dispute resolution. It also covers maintenance, dues, and insurance obligations.

These governing documents are typically established during the development of the planned community. Given the common misconception that these documents are irreversible, you may wonder, “Can HOA change bylaws?” “or “Can the HOA change the covenants?” “

In a nutshell, yes. Homeowners associations can change their bylaws and CC&Rs, but it is often a lengthy process.

How to Amend Bylaws and Covenants

Before proceeding with the process, HOA boards must first consider why they want to change the bylaws or CC&Rs. It is risky to proceed if there is no justifiable reason to do so and the board simply wants to change the documents “just because.” Remember that changing HOA covenants and bylaws is a time-consuming and often expensive.

After you have completed your thorough research and carefully considered the matter, you can begin the amendment process. This procedure may differ according to state laws and your governing documents. However, here’s how to change HOA covenants and bylaws in general:

1. Propose the amendment 

The first step is to draft a proposal outlining the changes to the bylaw or covenant. The board will receive this proposal and then review it.

2. Discuss the proposed amendment

The proposed amendment will then be discussed at a board meeting. During this meeting, the board must allow homeowners to provide feedback on the proposal. Sometimes, the board may hold a special meeting to discuss matters.

3. Voting for or against the amendment

After reviewing the amendment, the entire membership will vote for or against it. Certain requirements may also apply in this case. For example, in California, HOAs must vote on these changes using secret ballots. Secret ballots are also required for the process of amending HOA covenants. But, some associations can experience issues with voter turnout. If this happens, the HOA board may then extend the voting time.

4. Counting of votes

The counting of ballots is the next step in amending HOA covenants and bylaws. Typically, the votes are counted in front of everyone present, so homeowners can view the voting process. This way, members feel at ease knowing this is done to ensure transparency.

5. Approval of the amendment

To approve the amendment, homeowners associations must receive a majority vote from their membership. Your governing documents will determine what constitutes a majority. Typically, HOAs require two-thirds or three-quarters of members to approve the change.

6. Final step: Record CC&Rs amendments and notify members’ of the updated bylaws

Once approved, the amendments to the CC&Rs must be recorded with the county recorder’s office. Bylaws, on the other hand, do not require recording. Instead, bylaws take effect when the membership is notified of the change. Of course, this does not exempt the board from providing notice of covenant changes.

HOA’s must abide by a set of procedures

Every HOA board must know how to modify the HOA bylaws, covenants, and rules and regulations. Knowing the correct procedures will help you create and implement changes more easily and smoothly.