Maybe you’ve just been elected to an HOA board or perhaps you’ve been on the board for a decade, but there should come a point when your HOA takes the time to look at its community contract, often referred to as the CC&Rs, short for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. It’s better to be proactive in making sure that your CC&Rs reflects the needs of the HOA, as it will be too late to do so if an event arises that exposes an omission or other unaddressed issue in the CC&Rs before you take any necessary steps to review the contract. Although HOAs are often concerned about resources and expenditures, here are a few reasons why working with an HOA attorney to review your HOA community contract can pay off in the long run.
Your CC&Rs May Not Have Been Drafted By an HOA Attorney
The turnover on many HOA boards can be frequent, and HOA policies and practices can often be not so much formulated for optimal precision as simply passed down from board member to board member with no clear understanding of their genesis or their continued relevance or effect. Thus, your CC&Rs may have been drafted long ago and you may not even be clear who drafted them. Some boards will obtain a CC&Rs document from an attorney who may not even practice in the area of HOA law, and it is even possible that a form CC&Rs document was taken out of a generic form library or off the internet.
What all this means is that the CC&Rs document you currently have in effect may never have been drafted by an attorney who understands the comprehensive issues HOAs face and how they should be addressed in the agreement. By working with an HOA attorney, you can ensure that the proper changes are made to meet your HOA’s specific needs.
The Contract May Not Reflect Current Law or Relevant Issues
Related to the above point, even if your CC&Rs agreement was in fact drafted by an HOA attorney to address the needs specific to your HOA, it may not have been updated to reflect recent changes in the law or other issues that may not have been relevant when it was drafted (e.g. digital privacy and online enforcement methods). HOA law changes frequently based on new statutes passed by state legislatures and decisions handed down by state courts, and an HOA attorney can help your HOA stay current.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
Again, the main objection HOA boards might have to working with an attorney is the use of resources, but the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never more apt than it is in the area of HOA liability. By consulting with an attorney to make needed changes to a CC&Rs, you can take steps to prevent the HOA from being dragged into disputes and lawsuits with the spectre of high damages and attorney fees down the line.
Work With an HOA Lawyer in Handling all HOA Legal Matters
At Goodman Holgrem Smith, our sole focus is on meeting the legal needs of HOAs, including creating and implementing HOA policy and responding to homeowner concerns. Contact us today to discuss any legal challenge your HOA is facing.