Hierarchy of Governing Documents
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
The purpose of the governing documents is to provide a legal basis for the association and guidelines for its operation. As the community ages there is occasionally the need to update or amend the governing documents and to adopt new policies. It is important to know which document prevails in the event of conflicts.
The association is subject to Federal, State, and Local statutes and regulations and these have authority over the governing documents. Examples of Federal laws that impact all associations are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, US Bankruptcy Code, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, Federal Communications Commission, and Fair Housing Act. If the association has employees, they may also be subject to Federal laws such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Fair Labor and Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Federal Insurance Contributions Act, and Occupational Safety and Health Act.
State laws that affect associations are the Texas Property Code and the Texas Business Organizations Code.
The Recorded Plats show the boundaries and exact dimensions of each common area and lot. The plats also indicate where all easements and setbacks are located and can help determine who is responsible to maintain each area.
The Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (sometimes referred to as the Declaration or Master Deed) details the rights and responsibilities of owners, as well as the association’s enforcement authority. Typically, this includes the assessment rate, maintenance responsibilities, property use restrictions, and architectural control powers.
The Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Formation brings the association into existence. Generally, it defines the purpose of the association and identifies the initial board of directors.
The Bylaws provide the structure and powers of the board of directors, guidance on holding meetings, and owners voting rights.
Policies, Resolutions, Rules, and Regulations adopted by the Board are supplemental to and overruled by all other governing documents. Contents of policies, resolutions, rules, and regulations vary and can cover a large number of topics but will never supersede the other governing documents in event of conflict.