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Rights and Responsibilities

​​​Principles for Homeowners and Community Leaders

More than a destination at the end of the day, a community is a place you want to call home. There is a difference between living in a community and being part of that community. Being part of a community means sharing with your neighbors a common desire to promote harmony and contentment.

This goal is best achieved when homeowners, non-owner residents and association leaders recognize and accept their rights and responsibilities. In all cases, this entails striking a reasonable, logical balance between the preferences of individual homeowners and the best interests of the community as a whole. It is with this challenge in mind that Community Associations Institute (CAI) developed Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities.

Community associations exist because they offer choices, lifestyles, amenities and efficiencies that people value. Yet, with all of their inherent advantages, community associations face complicated issues, none more common than the challenge of balancing the rights of the individual homeowner with those of the community at large. Managing this critical and delicate balance is often the essence of effective community leadership.

By encouraging community associations to adopt Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities, CAI strives to promote harmony, community, responsible citizenship and effective leadership. In the process, we make life better for the more than 60 million Americans who live in community associations.

Let Rights and Responsibilities Help Your Community

The process of formally adopting Rights and Responsibilities will give communities an excellent opportunity for the kind of dialogue that facilitates awareness, builds consensus and promotes greater community involvement.

Once adopted, Rights and Responsibilities will serve as an important guidepost for all those involved in the community—board and committee members, managers, homeowners and non-owner residents. The document will also serve as an excellent tool to educate new homeowners and residents about their own rights and responsibilities.

As greater numbers of associations adopt Rights and Responsibilities—and adhere to its principles—there will be less potential for conflict within communities. Ultimately, this will improve the image of managed communities across the nation, leading more people to understand the nature and value of community association living.

Adopting Rights and Responsibilities can also create positive publicity for your community—and reduce the kind of negative publicity often created by conflict.

How You Can Make it Happen

Adopting Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities is easy!

  • Download the Rights and Responsibilities document.
  • Distribute the document throughout your community, announcing and publicizing where and when adoption will be considered.
  • Explain why this is important to your community and the benefits it can create.
  • Review and discuss the merits of the principles at an open meeting of your board.
  • Solicit input from homeowners.
  • Have your board vote to adopt a resolution endorsing Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities. The principles will be more meaningful to homeowners and community leaders if they are formally adopted.

Like many worthwhile endeavors, community living cannot be free of conflict. Utopia does not exist. With all of their inherent advantages—and there are many—community associations often face difficult issues. While adopting Rights and Responsibilities will not eliminate all conflict, its adoption can stimulate communication, promote trust and cooperation, clarify expectations and build a greater sense of community. CAI urges you to take advantage of this opportunity.

Rights and Responsibilities, developed as an ideal standard to which communities could aspire, is a goal-based statement of principles designed to foster harmonious, vibrant, responsive and competent community associations. The principles were not designed to be in complete harmony with existing laws and regulations in 50 states, and in no way are they intended to subsume existing statutes. Where there are inconsistencies, community associations should adhere to the spirit and letter of all applicable laws. If you have a question, we suggest you consult with your attorney.