Nothing stays the same forever. As community standards, attitudes and populations shift and evolve, rules and regulations that once made sense or that reflected the views and standards of their day can become antiquated, irrelevant, or just plain silly. Those changes often necessitate the amendment of existing ones—or the drafting of new ones—to fit the new paradigm.
Criteria that a board should use when considering a new rule include its fairness to the entire membership, its enforceability, and its ability to serve a purpose that will better the community. “The first thing a board needs to do is ask themselves why are they doing this,” says attorney Sima L. Kirsch of Sima L. Kirsch PC in Chicago. “What makes a good rule really turns on whether you should be making the rule or not.”
A Good Rule
Andrea Sorgani, president of the Illinois chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI-IL) and owner of Alma Property Management in Schaumburg, says that good rules should be “reasonable, objective, enforceable and consistent.”
Fundamentally, a good rule is something that is fair and reasonable to all owners. It needs to be transparent with no ulterior motive and is thought through.
“A fair rule is well-written so when you read it everyone can understand it and it doesn’t need further interpretation,” says Ryan H. Shpritz, an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in Buffalo Grove. “There’s nothing worse than having a rule that owners can’t follow and understand.”