Laws, bylaws, CC&Rs, rules and regulations, supplementary declarations, general resolutions…What’s the deal with all these guidelines?
It can be confusing at the best of times to try and understand your HOA or condo association declarations. And then there are the city, county, state and federal laws to adhere to as well. You may be caught wondering if you need to be a community law attorney just to live in an HOA?
Yes, it can feel overwhelming to keep track of the rules and regulations of your community sometimes, especially when little (read: HUGE) things like pandemics come sweeping through and there are new guidelines coming through every couple weeks.
We want to make the confusion a little clearer and give you some definitive answers to questions like can HOA rules override state law?
Let’s start with that first question. The simple answer is NO. HOA rules cannot override state law. To further understand why, we’ll take you through the hierarchy of HOA laws.
Just as the country’s laws are designed with an ordered hierarchy (the Constitution trumps federal laws; federal laws trump state laws and so on), there is an order of priority for community association documents. It can vary state by state, but here is Florida’s hierarchy.
1. Florida state laws
2. Declaration of covenants
3. Articles of incorporation
5. Rules and regulations
Within this simple hierarchy is essentially everything you need to know about the order of legal operations. If, for instance, two parties are arguing over an issue and can point to specific language in different documents that validates their position, the issue is resolved by the legal hierarchy.
And just to absolutely clear on state law vs. community law. If there is any conflict in community association documents with Florida law, Florida law (unless the law states otherwise) will always prevail.
Oftentimes, HOAs and condo associations find that they need to amend their governing documents to clarify certain rules or comply with state law. We can readily provide this service for your association.
We’re here to help you understand community law and create the best system for your community.