By Douglas S. MacGregor, J.D., M.S.W. and Rachel Brand
Homeowners who live in condominiums or HOA-governed communities sometimes want to change their bylaws. Other times, they want to change the rules.
Bylaws concern things like how frequently meetings are held; meeting notice requirements; what constitutes a quorum; roles and authorities of directors, election procedures for the board; and how many people are on the board. Bylaws have to do with how the association is governed.
Rules govern issues like when the community pool is open for use or policies on using a clubhouse. Rules have to do with living in the association.
For Bylaws, Start with the Bylaws
The first place to learn about how to change the bylaws is by reading the bylaws. Each association’s bylaws state how they can be changed.
In addition, in Colorado, most community associations are non-profit corporations and are, therefore, governed by the Colorado Non-Profit Corporation Act.
Under this Act, the corporation’s board of directors is generally authorized to amend the bylaws. However, under that same Act, homeowners may also amend the bylaws.
The law allows homeowners representing at least 10 percent of all votes entitled to be cast on any amendment to propose one to the general membership.
In some cases, the bylaws will be quite specific regarding how to go about amending them. In other cases, they will be vague. In those cases, corporate law “fills in” the gaps.
For Rules, Look to the Board
For changing the rules, most associations require that a certain percentage of the board approve the rule change. Homeowners usually have no vote on the rules, but may be able to “veto” a board enacted rule or amendment. Again, check your governing documents.
For more information, see Colorado Community Association Law: Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Homeowners Associations, by Douglas S. MacGregor, J.D., M.S.W.