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Government Regulation of Community Associations

summary

Governance should occur at the lowest possible level. Legislatures and regulatory agencies should acknowledge the right of self-determination by owners who elect volunteers and have a vested interest in their own communities. CAI recommends that state LACs support legislation that is necessary for the overall welfare of community associations. CAI encourages state governments to give favorable treatment to the Uniform Community Association Acts. Further, LACs are encouraged to engage and consult CAI's Government and Public Affairs department to ensure coordination and support of proposed legislation.

Policy

As a result of the substantial increase in the number and variety of residential, commercial and mixed use developments and an increasing number of consumers affected by various forms of ownership, government at local, state and federal levels is actively pursuing legislative and regulatory measures to create, control and oversee community associations.

Community Associations Institute ("CAI") believes that state governmental regulations are often targeted to solve the perceived failings in a few community associations. Such regulations paint all common interest communities with the same broad brush often creating an unnecessary, intrusive burden on the overwhelming majority of community associations that are administering their duties and providing services to their owner-members in an efficient, customer friendly and cost conscious manner.

Governance should be allowed to occur at the lowest possible level, and legislative bodies and regulatory agencies should acknowledge the right of self-determination by owners who elect willing and able volunteers who typically have a substantial vested interest in their own communities.
 
State Legislative Action Committees, typically composed of experienced and knowledgeable association practitioners and association volunteers, are in the best position to discover and offer improved statutory language or new legislation. Identifying legislators to sponsor change and educating homeowner advocates that are willing to testify on the impacts of proposed legislation are additional keys to improved results.

Therefore, CAI does support effective and tailored legislation on the local, state or federal level when necessary or consistent with the values and overall welfare of community associations. The key is to determine, on an individual basis, when a legislative proposal is helpful or harmful in light of practical and economic realities. Equally important is to ensure that CAI maintains a harmonious and uniformly recognized public policy that serves all its members, and helps eliminate "patchwork legislation" across multiple jurisdictions.

RECOMMENDATION

CAI recommends that when state governments prudently determine that the interests of its citizens warrant amending their basic community association development laws, they consider the need for updated and comprehensive legislation consistent with CAI policy goals. Moreover, in undertaking such review, state governments are urged to consider and give favorable treatment, in whole or in part, to one or more of the Uniform Community Association Acts, in particular the Uniform Common Interest Organizing Act and its adopted amendments.

The state LAC or chapter legislative committee must examine proposed legislation and determine it will not weaken efforts with respect to the creation or fair governance of common interest communities, and that support for any local legislative effort does not conflict with any other CAI Public Policy.

State LACs should utilize the services of CAI's Government and Public Affairs department to enhance the clarity, coordination, and support of proposed legislation as early as possible in the legislative process to ensure the interests of CAI and its members are well represented.

policy history

Adopted by the Executive Committee, April 10, 1993
Amended by the Public Policy Committee, October 6, 1993
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 9, 1993
Amended by the Public Policy Committee, May 8, 1996
Amended by the Public Policy Committee, October 9, 1996
Approved by the Public Affairs Council, October 9, 1996
Amended by the Public Policy Committee, October 22, 1997
Amended and Approved by the Public Affairs Council, October 22, 1997
Adopted and approved by the Government & Public Affairs Committee, April 14, 2015
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, April 29, 2015

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