CAI's Rights & Responsibilities Ignores Legality of HOA Model

The CAI Rights & Responsibilities statement, offered as a guide to build better communities, reads in part,

Homeowners Have the Right To:
1. A responsive and competent community association.
2. Honest, fair and respectful treatment by community leaders and
managers.
6. Live in a community where the property is maintained according
to established standards.
7. Fair treatment . . . .
8. Receive all documents that address rules and regulations governing
the community association . . . .
9. Appeal to appropriate community leaders those decisions affecting
non-routine financial responsibilities or property rights.

Comment: These so-called rights have never been reduced to a bill of rights and made part of the legal contract between homeowner and HOA. As it stands, these are just statements of policy without any legal obligations placed on the HOA.

Homeowners Have the Responsibility To:
1. Read and comply with the governing documents of the community.
2. Maintain their property according to established standards.
6. Contact association leaders or managers, if necessary, to discuss
financial obligations and alternative payment arrangements.
7. Request reconsideration of material decisions that personally
affect them.
9. Ensure that those who reside on their property (e.g., tenants,
relatives, friends) adhere to all rules and regulations.

Comment: These obligations imposed upon the homeowners quickly become exercises in futility when the HOA ignores and is non-responsive to homeowner communications. Some of these responsibilities are actually state laws relating to HOA conduct, and not homeowner conduct. Some of these responsibilities assume that the “laws” of the community have been openly and fairly debated and voted upon by all homeowners, when such is not the case and where many CC&Rs do not permit homeowner participation in the drafting of the standards, and rules and regulations or even amendments to the bylaws.

Rather shockingly, CAI fosters a police state where it is a responsibility of the homeowner to inform the authorities of violations of “state” laws (see 9).

And, under “Community Leaders Have a Right To”, we see many of these so-called rights as really obligations of the board, not a right of a homeowner, or as mandated homeowner behavior and attitudes equivalent to “politically correct” behavior denying the homeowner his right to display dissatisfaction with board actions and behavior. For example,

“2. Expect residents to know and comply with the rules and regulations
4. Conduct meetings in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
5. Receive support and constructive input from owners and nonowner residents.”

Furthermore, under “Community Leaders Have the Responsibility To”, we once again see no legal responsibility by the HOA to act according to these “ought to” statements. In fact, the punitive aspects in these statements are the only responsibilities put into law, but they are meaningless laws without penalties against the boards for violating the laws, or as a deterrent against future acts by the board in violation of state laws and the governing documents.

Summary

While CAI’s R & R policy may make good reading, it fails to make any of these “suggestions” part of the governing documents and state laws, or part of a homeowner’s bill of rights, or to seek accountability and penalties against HOA that currently violate state laws and the governing documents with impunity. CAI ignores the reality of the HOA model and its legally binding Declarations, and ignores the conduct of it members who continually seek the enforcement against “letter of the law” violations, in contrast to R & R appeals for fairness and just treatment. CAI’s Rights and Responsibilities does not deal with reality, nor has CAI lobbied for the legalization of its “ought to” recommendations.

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Published in: on December 15, 2006 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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