You probably read plenty of articles on our blog in which we remind associations to ensure they have adopted and are enforcing their responsible governance policies and rules and regulations. While owners have a legal obligation to comply with the covenants and rules, this may not extend to rules that are in violation of or contrary to local, state or federal law.
The Ventana Ranch homeowners’ association is learning this lesson as the City of Albuquerque has threatened to take the association to court to prevent it from booting vehicles parked improperly in violation of the association’s rules and regulations. While the association has an enforcement policy and procedure outlining the association’s ability to fine an owner for violation of the covenants, it appears the fines were not preventing some owners from violating the association’s parking rules. According to the article, in an apparent effort to curb problematic parking, the association hired a private service and allowed security patrols to begin booting improperly parked vehicles and trailers in the community. The security patrol company sent out a notice to all owners of its guidelines for parking and when a vehicle was subject to being booted by the company.
It’s unclear if the association’s rules and regulation permit it to boot an improperly parked vehicle. However, even with these rules in place, a 2013 City of Albuquerque ordinance appears to pre-empt the association’s rules and regulations with respect to privately booting vehicles. While community associations can often enforce the same or similar restrictions as local governments, it’s important to make sure that the association is not acting outside the scope of its authority.
As discussed by Molly Foley-Healy, it is essential for Boards to undertake a periodic review of their association’s rules to make sure the rules fit the priorities and issues facing the community, that the rule makes sense and is understandable, that the rule does not violate applicable laws or regulations, and that the rule is enforceable. Unenforceable rules should get the boot!