Is your HOA considering changing some of its CC&Rs? Are you looking for information on the exact process for amending the HOAs CC&R agreements?
FACT: No HOA could exist without clearly defined covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). The declaration document guides almost every decision and initiative within the community, after all.
But sometimes, various circumstances might make you feel that at least some restrictions should change.
Could they, though?
That’s what we’re going to answer in this post. We’ll discuss whether HOA boards could change their associations’ declaration and the process for amending CC&Rs.
So, let’s get right to it.
Short answer, yes, it could.
However, the process is not as simple as just replacing an old restriction with something else.
A CC&R amendment, typically, comes as a result of certain circumstances:.
In short, the reasoning for proposing a change must be reasonable and rational. Naturally, an HOA cannot change certain regulations only because it would suit certain board members.
However, the association may be required to make the change because of the abovementioned circumstances.
So let’s assume that that’s what happened in your association - a new state regulation or another circumstance - is forcing you to consider amending the CC&Rs.
First, we recommend you and the rest of the board evaluate the proposed change against several criteria:
This criterion ties in with what we’ve discussed above. What is the reasoning for the change? Where did the idea come from, and what’s guiding the amendment?
Your answer might be straightforward. But you might also discover that there isn’t a solid ground for making the change, and evaluting the reasoning might shed a new light on the project.
Changing a CC&R is an expensive process. First, your HOA will have to seek professional legal advice from an attorney. You will also have to notify residents of the proposed change, typically by mailing information about it, and send out ballots to vote.
will also need to send out a mailing informing homeowners of the proposed change, hold a town hall type of meeting to discuss the proposed change, and have to send out the ballots to vote.
All this might accrue significant cost to the association, and it’s worth evaluating whether the HOA is in a position to cover it.
We admit; it’s almost impossible to predict how long the process of changing a CC&R could take. But there are ways to estimate it.
For example, if the community is vibrant, active, and involved in making the area a fantastic place to live, the process might go smoothly. Everyone will, most likely, respond to mailings and send their ballots quickly.
But if you live in a more stagnant community, you might struggle even to reach the quorum to pass the change.
So, it’s worth evaluating realistically what engagement you could expect from the community and making plans based on that.
Again, let’s assume that you’ve evaluated all the criteria and are ready to move ahead with the change.
Here’s the exact process for amending an HOA CC&R.
The change is brought forward to the board of directors to evaluate and decide whether to proceed with the process.
The HOA board schedules a meeting to notify and discuss the proposed change with the homeowners.
Some HOAs will also send out information about the proposed change ahead of the meeting to give everyone a chance to familiarize themselves with the proposed amendment.
Following the meeting, the HOA sends out a secret ballot to homeowners to vote on the change.
The ballot must go to every homeowner in the neighborhood, but (generally) not every resident must respond. The decision of whether or not to take part in the ballot is entirely up to each resident.
The change is either approved or not approved. The result is based on quorum, not the number of ballots received.
Providing that the proposed change was approved in the ballot, current CC&Rs get amended. All homeowners also receive a copy of new CC&Rs with the amendment added.
After that, the amendment is recorded in the County’s Recorder’s office, and the HOAs bylaws get amended to coincide with the CC&Rs, if necessary.
That’s it. Although we have to admit, the process looks only simple on paper. In reality, many HOAs struggle with reaching the quorum to approve the change and often resort to going door to door to remind residents of the need to make their opinions known about the proposed change.
Absolutely! If you’re an HOA manager, you can get actively involved and help with many aspects of the process: