Community Associations were created to maintain common areas, provide aesthetic control, maintain a harmonious neighborhood via enforcement of the regulations, forward planning for financial reserves and capital improvements, creation of an entity that fosters communication and social interaction. The Board Members are elected to help to fulfill this purpose and the primary goal should be to maintain, protect, preserve, and enhance the value of the property.
Each community that has been incorporated (most are) will have a set of governing documents which include the Articles of Incorporation, CC&R's, Bylaws, Architectural Guidelines and Rules & Regulations. Each of these operating documents was created to provide the Board with a list of powers and duties, as well as guidelines to operate the association. All of these documents are subject to changes created by the Civil Code (Davis-Stirling Act) and case law. A general overview of these documents is as follows:
- Articles of Incorporation – state the purpose of the association, which is typically to operate the common areas and provide services for the general use, benefit, and welfare of the homeowners.
- CC&R's - These are the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions which were written with the intent to enhance, preserve and protect the value, desirability and attractiveness of the entire community for the benefit of the homeowners. This document will provide more detail on ownership, maintenance, use restrictions, insurance, assessments, easements, lender rights, and enforcement provisions.
- By-Laws – This document is a key element in providing information on the conduct of meetings, elections and the powers & responsibilities of the Board.
- Architectural Guidelines – These will be designed by the Association in accordance with the CC&R's and will include suggestions, application forms, and requirements for owners to submit and approve a request for exterior modification of their home, landscape, etc.
- Rules & Regulations – A set of operating rules adopted by the Board of Directors now subject to civil code requirements that provide further detail as to the "do's and don'ts" of the community. This will include the enforcement and fine policy.
Your Board of Directors in most cases will have ultimate authority and responsibility for the activities with in your association and the decisions made. You will receive recommendations and suggestions from your manager, attorneys, insurance agents, CPA's, and other industry professionals. With this input, you will make informed decisions for your community. You may in some cases delegate some powers to committee members or other individuals within the community; however, the ultimate responsibility of the outcome will still rely with you, the Board of Directors.
As a Board member, you will have insurance protection for Board Decisions as long as you operate within the scope of the insurance policy, civil code, and governing documents. It is important that at all times your decision are made and you have a duty to act as follows: