Question: We need some effective rules for architectural, parking and pet violations. Do you have any pointers?
Answer: All rules should be truly necessary. In other words, making a rule to control a scofflaw is a waste of time. All rules should have enforceable and reasonable penalties and a right of appeal. There are a number of sample rules in proper format at .
Question: Our HOA needs to dredge a common area lake and build a new dock. The board has decided to do both projects using a special assessment since there isn't adequate reserve money set aside. Some of the non-lakeside owners don't feel that they should bear as much of the cost because they won't benefit as much. Thoughts?
Answer: First, let's separate the lake dredging issue from the new dock issue. HOAs should plan for predictable repairs and replacements. Since lakes silt up over time, dredging is something that should be included in a reserve plan just like painting, roofing, fences, etc. Money should be side aside over time to deal with it in the future and not by special assessment which is unfair to those that have to pay it.
Building a new dock is something which should be voted on by the members. The issue here isn't whether lakefront owners should pay more but whether the dock is supported by a legal majority (as defined by your governing documents) of the members. If it is, it should be paid for according to the same formula other HOA expenses are paid for. Since it is not part of the reserve plan, a special assessment is appropriate to pay for it.
Neither the board or a group of members has the legal right to change the HOA fee allocation formula. If the fee allocation formula is to be changed, it may require 100 percent approval of all members and possibly their mortgagees since this issue impacts their collateral.
If the HOA members vote to approve installation of the dock, don't forget to add the cost of future replacement to the reserve plan. If your HOA does not have a reserve plan, it should contract to have one done as soon as possible by a qualified reserve plan provider.
For a list, go to apra-usa.com. For more on Reserve Planning, .