The Meter is Running
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When amending bylaws, avoid making extensive changes, choose the right timing, consult your attorney, gather input from shareholders or unit-owners.
AUTHORMarc Schneider, Managing Partner, Schneider Buchel
Stay focused. One of my strongest recommendations to boards seeking to change their bylaws: Don’t try to do too much and amend the entire document. There are three reasons for that. One, it gets too cumbersome. Two, if people don’t like one piece of it, they’re going to vote the whole thing down. Three, if the document is 50 pages long, people aren’t going to even read it.
Good timing. You’ve also got to find the right moment to act. Whether it’s changing your election procedures, limiting leases or banning pets or smoking, you’ll increase your chances of success when there’s a current example of what you’re trying to amend. If you’re going after someone for defaulting on the maintenance or common charges or someone is suing the board, use that as an opportunity to propose changing your governing documents to include the right to collect legal fees.
Lay the groundwork. Consulting your attorney to ensure your proposed changes align with state laws and regulations is crucial to avoiding legal challenges later. And before meeting with shareholders or unit-owners and actually putting things to a vote, you should send out a letter with a draft of the amendment so you can get their input. You might get good ideas and suggestions for alternatives that will help you tweak your proposal, get more buy-in from the community and have a better chance at success. You should always take the temperature of the community before moving forward.