Condominium owners are usually governed by a set of conditions, covenants, and restrictions, called CC&R’s. A CC&R is a document that outlines the condominium owner’s and the association’s responsibilities toward each other. The CC&R’s give the governing association or board the power to create by-laws. By-laws are the specific codes or regulations that govern the condominium community and tell the residents how they must act.

What Gives the Condominium Association Authority over a Condominium?

The CC&R’s give the Condominium Association authority over a condominium. A CC&R is a real covenant in property law (link) and if done correctly runs with the land (is enforceable on subsequent owners of the property). A CC&R is generally not enforceable on subsequent owners of property unless the conditions for creating a real covenant are satisfied. 

What Can the Condominium Association Regulate?

The Condominium association can regulate anything that the CC&R’s and by-laws dictate, as long as the regulation does not violate a law. 

Can a Condominium Association Change or Modify The CC&R or By-Laws?

The CC&R will usually contain a provision on how the association can change or modify the CC&R or the by-laws. Generally, the provision calls for a majority vote of the board members or a majority vote of the condominium owners, or some combination of both in order to change the CC&R or by-laws. If there is no such provision, a change or modification can always occur by an agreement of all interested parties.

Will a Use that Violates the CC&R or By-Laws Ever Be Permitted?

If the CC&R and the by-laws allow for it, variances and non conforming uses may be granted by the association after a hearing. It really depends on how strictly the association wants to enforce its CC&R and by-laws and the reason for requesting the variance or why there was a non conforming use. The process usually is similar to a hearing for a zoning variance or non-conforming use. 

What If There Is a Violation of the CC&R or By-Laws?

If there is a violation of the CC&R or by-laws, notify the association immediately in writing. Usually, the association will assess a hefty fine when a violation of the CC&R or by-laws occurs. 

Should I Consult an Attorney for My CC&R or By-Law Problem?

The CC&R and by-laws of each condominium association are a unique and complex set of regulations. An experienced real estate attorney can help you sort through all the documents and regulations of your condominium association to determine your rights. A real estate lawyer can also assist you with a dispute with the condominium association.