As an owner within an association you should read, understand and comply with your governing documents. If you do not understand the documents, ask your neighbors, your board, or your personal attorney. Failure to understand your association’s governing documents (Bylaws, CC&Rs/Declaration, Rules and Regulations, Architectural Guidelines, etc.) is not a defense and should not prevent you from complying.
Once you have reviewed the documents and have an understanding of them, make things easy on everyone and simply comply with them. If you disagree with any rule or regulation, you should bring it to the board’s attention. Understand, however, that the board must concern itself with how the rule affects the entire community, not merely your situation. Do not expect a change in the regulations merely because you disagree with them. On the other hand, time changes things. Rules and regulations which may have applied in past years may no longer be necessary. Architectural guidelines that were pertinent many years ago may not apply now (lime green homes anyone?). Every governing board should feel confident in deleting regulations that no longer apply.
When you break down all of the governing documents and the respective duties, rights and obligations of each of them one of the most important provisions within an association’s governing documents is that which obligates each owner to pay assessments. Collection of assessments is essentially the only way for an association to raise funds to accomplish its maintenance obligations and to carry out its other obligations and duties. As an owner, therefore, it is extremely important that you pay your assessments. Because collection of assessments is so important, failure to pay your assessments may result in a lawsuit against you or foreclosure of your home within the association.
The best way to avoid these unpleasant possibilities is to simply read, understand and comply with your association’s governing documents. Sure this may not be an easy task but the time it takes could save you loads of time, energy and money in the future!