Condo Living – Rule Development and Enforcement

With careful thought, planning, communication and implementation most rules are easily accepted by a community.

If you live in a common-interest community, chances are you have a list of rules and regulations you are required to follow. 

Community guidelines are established to promote community balance for a harmonious living experience.  They also maintain, preserve, enhance and protect to property values and assets of the community. 

Most communities create rules related to the following topics:





Use of common elements

Guest access

Trash removal

Architectural guidelines.

Typically the authority to create and enforce rules rests solely with the board of directors.  Usually it is a property manager or management company who enforces the rules established by the board of directors.  Therefore, if you receive a rule violation notice – do not shoot the messenger. 

When developing rules a board of directors should consider the following: 

1)      Is there need for a specific rule?  Answer the question, “Why?” 

2)      Think about the immediate impact of the rule and the long-term implications of the rule.  Make sure a solution to an immediate need does not create future problems for the community.

3)      Determine the source of the authority to make the rule.  Check the declaration or other governing documents for your community.

4)      Clearly define the rule.  Be specific as to “who” and “what” the rule will apply to.

5)      Make sure the rule is enforceable. 

6)      Provide residents proper notice of the rule.  It is a good practice to seek community input on a rule prior to officially adopting the rule. 

7)      Enforce the rule.  Once a rule is adopted, it is important to enforce it in a consistent and fair manner.  A rule or policy applies to everyone who lives in the community. 

Once a rule is established it is a good idea to revisit it on occasion.  A rule established years ago to address an issue may no longer be relevant to the community.  If a rule becomes obsolete, get rid of it. 

With careful thought, planning, communication and implementation most rules are easily accepted by a community. 

If you live in a community with rules that you do not agree with make an effort to work with your board of directors to review and discuss those rules.  It may be time to rescind the rule or adapt it to better fit your community.


Midtown resident Tim Huffman is a licensed Community Association Manager and holds the CMCA®, AMS® and PCAM® designations from Community Associations Institute. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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