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If you live in a homeowners or condominium association, then one of the first things you received was a set of your community’s governing documents. This generally consists of the articles of incorporation, declaration, and by-laws. They also may include rules and regulations, board resolutions, amendments, and other recorded agreements. However, when referring to a community association’s covenants, those are typically contained within the declaration and by-laws. This set of documents is commonly referred to as the governing documents.



The governing documents are the backbone of the community. They are the association’s constitution, so to speak. In order of authority: articles of incorporation supersede the declaration, the declaration supersedes the by-laws, and the by-laws supersede the rules and regulations. Although, the laws as codified in the Maryland Homeowners Association Act and the Condominium Act take precedence over the governing documents unless deference is given to the latter. Violations of the governing documents can and are generally enforced by the association’s board of directors or governing body. So it is very important that when you receive a copy of your community’s governing documents that you take the time to review them--especially if you have plans to alter the exterior of your home. For example, if you have dreamed of installing an above-ground pool in your community, but those are expressly prohibited, then you may want to reconsider your home purchase. Moreover, challenging a covenant that you have breached is a very difficult and, most likely, doomed undertaking. Most governing documents allow for the recoupment of attorney’s fees and costs for the enforcement of the covenants by a community association and unless there has been selective enforcement or a lapse of the statute of limitations, the association is usually in a strong position to enforce.




Whether you are an HOA or condo board enforcing a covenant or if you are a homeowner that has been cited for a violation, the Law Office of P. Hong Le, LLC can help. The Office has years of experience litigating covenant violation cases and interpreting governing documents. The Office has also assisted many communities in the amendment of their governing documents and the review and drafting of rules and regulations, board resolutions, and other recorded agreements. Contact the Office today to schedule a consultation to discuss the best way to accomplish your goals regarding your community!

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