Enforcing rules can be a challenging board responsibility. The board can enact and enforce reasonable rules, if the governing documents allow. Board members who enact unreasonable rules or enforce rules sporadically and selectively may subject themselves and the association to potential liability.
Rules that are tailored to fit the needs and purposes of the association work best. They should contain specific, detailed standards, be subject to owner scrutiny and be enforceable. They should comply with the association’s governing documents, state statutes, public policy and federal regulations like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Associations are generally safe if they adopt only reasonable, consistent rules authorized by the governing documents.
Boards may not implement or enforce rules that result in discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, national origin or disability. And federal law prohibits most restrictions on family status—including age or marriage restrictions and restrictions against families with children. A board should act with extreme caution to ensure the association’s rules do not exclude any protected class or group of people. Directors who are party to a discriminatory decision may be held personally accountable.
Association elections are another important board responsibility. Provisions in governing documents regarding elections and voting pro cedures are generally very specific. Boards must ensure elections are conducted accordingly.
- Members must be notified of elections during specific times
- Proxies must be processed as specified
- Absentee ballots must be distributed, collected and counted as specified
- Votes must be counted by neutral parties