Reading The CC&Rs


By Burke Nielsen

One of the most frustrating aspects of association management is the lack of interest by homeowners when it comes to knowing community rules and architectural standards. If you’re a manager or have ever been a board member you’ve probably heard someone in the industry say “Why don’t they read the CC&Rs?” — Heck, you’ve probably said it yourself. This phrase is usually said with a hint of arrogance in a condescending tone — After all, what kind of idiot wouldn’t read the documents pertaining to their most valuable asset?

Are We Asking Too Much?

Maybe we are expecting too much. After all, when was the last time you read the owner’s manual for your car, or the privacy policy for your Twitter or Facebook account. I’m betting there’s some important stuff in there and yet you’ll probably never read it.

Let’s face it, most homeowners aren’t going to read their CC&Rs and if they do… then what? Much of what they read is subject to interpretations and defining policies. Even community leaders find it challenging to agree on interpretations. You know what I’m talking about — The 2-hour board meeting discussing the nuance of a phrase in the governing document to decide if bed sheets are an acceptable window treatment.

If They Won’t Read Them… Then What?

The fact is, most homeowners rely on community leaders to keep them informed when it comes to the rules. Here are some steps you can take to help keep them in the loop and avoid misunderstandings.

  1. Communicate Well Communication is more than just sending out a monthly newsletter. Good communications means distributing information in a variety of ways and then providing resources where owners can contact someone who is friendly and helpful to answer their questions. When homeowners see the manager or board as a helpful resource you have done a good job communicating.
  2. Summarize Provide a summary of the rules that is clear and to the point. A summary is a great reference guide for homeowner to review common rules. If you can’t summarize a rule into a couple of sentences you may want to re-evaluate the rule or policy.
  3. Be Reasonable Being reasonable isn’t hard it just requires that you put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a minute. By being helpful and reasonable you will work to educate homeowners rather than frustrate them.
  4. Be Consistent When rules are not enforced consistently it becomes unclear to members what the rules really are. Consistent and fair enforcement will reduce rule violations over the long run and protect the association from targeting allegations.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that homeowners shouldn’t read the CC&Rs. In fact, homeowners who take the time to educate themselves on the rules are valuable, and they’re the ones that usually end up leading their community on boards and committees. But next time you find yourself frustrated that they don’t know or understand the rules — Maybe the question you should be asking is: “How can I inform homeowners better?”

This entry was posted in CMCA by CMCA ~ The Essential Credential. Bookmark the permalink.

About CMCA ~ The Essential Credential

CAMICB is a more than 25 year old independent professional certification body responsible for developing and delivering the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination. CAMICB awards and maintains the CMCA credential, recognized worldwide as a benchmark of professionalism in the field of common interest community management. The CMCA examination tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform effectively as a professional community association manager. CMCA credential holders attest to full compliance with the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, committing to ethical and informed execution of the duties of a professional manager. The CMCA credentialing program carries dual accreditation. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program's dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential. Privacy Policy:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s