—Aggrieved in Addison
“For an expanded critique of the described situation, the analysis would focus on the exact language of the use restrictions set forth in the association's governing documents and on how reasonable were the actions of the board of managers when it came to the application of that language to parking situations. Use restrictions generally are set forth in the recorded declaration of condominium ownership, the document that established the condominium. Sometimes, use restrictions are contained in the bylaws. The bylaws typically are an exhibit to the declaration though they can be imbedded within the declaration—as customarily was the practice in older condominium documents. Rules and regulations adopted by the board often include specific provisions regulating parking but those provisions cannot conflict with the declaration and bylaws or applicable law.
“The issue in this question seems to boil down to the interpretation of the term “standard motor cars” as apparently set forth in the governing documents that were effective in 2004. The unit owners are entitled to expect that the board will enforce the use restrictions. If the enforcement of the existing covenants and rules becomes impractical or problematic due to changed circumstances (such as the changes to the styles of vehicles used by the condominium residents), the board will have to determine how to address the situation. Perhaps the board can adopt rules to address such situations that do not conflict with or contravene the clear mandates of the recorded covenants. Sometimes, the declaration and/or bylaws must be amended to establish more up-to-date language for some situations facing the condominium. Until changed, however, the current language remains in full force and effect.
“Whether in a declaration amendment or in the rules, it sometimes is appropriate for the new language to include “grandfathering” provisions that allow current behavior to continue even though it would violate the new provisions. Such allowances generally are limited to a reasonable period of time so as to give the residents an opportunity to adjust to the new requirements. Further a “hardship” procedure also may be included granting a resident the chance to apply to the board for a discretionary “exception” to the requirement.
“All in all, the board may face some challenges when it comes to addressing current circumstances within the parameters of not-so-current language in a condominium's governing documents. The board members are charged with acting reasonably. Periodic review of the governing documents can identify potential problem areas. Preemptive action by the board can minimize or prevent adverse consequences to the condo and its residents.”