Thursday, April 5, 2012

Can They Make That Rule? Co-Op and Condo Boards’ Authority to Promulgate House Rules

Cooperative and Condominium Boards have broad authority when it comes to making House Rules governing the activity within the community.  This authority derives from the governing documents of the cooperative or condominium, such as the by-laws.  House Rules may cover a wide range of topics from noise and odor levels, to the keeping of pets, to the conduct of owners and guests.

Unless there is a specific limitation on the board’s authority to make rules, such as requiring the rules to be “reasonable,” boards are generally given a high degree of deference in the rules they create.  If the board is acting in good faith, courts will tend not to second-guess them. Furthermore, these rules are usually binding without the consent or approval of the owners.

There is, however, one strong limitation on the authority of boards to make House Rules.  The board cannot attempt to modify the contractual rights of apartment owners through the promulgation of rules.  House rules cannot change, amend, or contradict what is contained in the by-laws, proprietary lease of a co-op, or condominium declaration. 

So if you find yourself asking, “Can they make that rule?” The answer is they probably can.