Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nuisance Rules in Covenants and Restrictions

Many HOA and condominium documents contain a restriction that reads "an owner shall not cause anything to be done which will interfere with the rights of other owners and the enjoyment of their property," or something similar. I get a lot of questions from owners being disturbed by their neighbors asking why that rule is not enforced by the association. The problem is the rule is very broad, vague and hard to enforce. In fact, many times the courts refuse to enforce

The board of directors has the power to create reasonable rules. They cannot create new covenants and restrictions, but can clarify existing covenants and restrictions by creating reasonable rules and regulations. The association should address specific nuisances by creating a reasonable rule to specifically address the nuisance.

The key is figuring out what is reasonable. The courts use a "reasonable person" standard and there's lots of court cases to define that standard, but there is not any one definition for every set of facts and circumstances.

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