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Basics for creating HOA bylaws

Bylaws are an important part of any new association. Creating them requires insight, communication, research and tried-and-true methods. Creating bylaws can feel overwhelming for even the more experienced. Knowing the basics can help the process go smoother.

Bylaws are governing guides

Codes, restrictions or CC&Rs protect homeowners and property value. On the other hand, bylaws are completely separate from other association documents. Such guides pertain to how associations are internally run. The system compares to that of a government.

Bylaws for associations vary state by state. However, there are common bylaws that most associations should have, which includes:

  1. Fees: Bylaws should clarify what will happen if members do not pay their dues. Owners are responsible for fees involved in preparing and enforcing a lien for unpaid fees.
  2. Meetings: Bylaws should outline annual and quarterly meetings for members and the board. Each type of meeting should come with a required notice.
  3. Disputes: Under state law, HOAs can address protocol for handling dispute resolutions. In some cases, disputes may need to go through arbitration. Therefore, bylaws should touch on how those fees will be paid.
  4. Voting: Voting rights is another important topic to address. Each member should have defined rights. Additionally, certain issues may need to be handled in unique ways. Clarify when the owners can vote, or when the board members should handle the decision.
  5. Internal mattersSpeaking of board members,the board itself should have its own structure. Things to clarify include how the association will choose or remove board members. Also, what circumstances would call for a termination.

You can draft your own bylaws, but in some cases, it may be beneficial to create the document with legal assistance.

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