Governing Documents / Community Standards

According to Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act, the community “governing documents” include the declaration of covenants, the articles of incorporation, the bylaws, and the rules and regulations.

The declaration sets forth the basic covenants and restrictions for the community.

The articles of incorporation, establishes the association’s existence and basic structure and governance.

The bylaws govern the operation and administration of the association. Bylaws will address the composition of the board, how meetings are called, and numerous other corporate procedures.

The rules and regulations usually supplement the restrictions in the declaration, and typically address matters of everyday policy, such as parking or use of the community’s recreational facilities.

In addition to “do and don’t” rules, the Master Association and Villas HOA also have “administrative rules”. For example, the Homeowners’ Association Act grants the board authority to adopt certain rules governing the frequency, duration, and other manner of member statements during board meetings. An official records inspection rule is another example of an “administrative rule”.

The various governing documents are each subject to their own amendatory procedure. Typically, declaration amendments require the highest level of owner vote, whereas rules are most often amended and created by the board of directors. Rules must be reasonable and cannot conflict with the rights provided for in the other governing documents. Amendments to all governing documents must be recorded in the public records to be valid.

The bylaws usually establish the board’s rulemaking authority, and may include limitations to a boards authority.

Florida law does not contain any requirement for owners to approve rules, which are most often adopted by the board. However, owners have the ability to attend board meetings where they can voice their opinions and raise any concerns regarding any items the board plans to vote on, including rules and regulations.

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