It’s a time-worn pattern that plays out in workplaces, classrooms, and residential buildings everywhere: rules are set, and enforced strictly for awhile. Over time however, enforcement wanes a little—the rules are bent, then broken. Eventually they’re being routinely ignored, and at that point, it may be time to take action to get things back on track.
House Rules, a Brief Intro
House rules are not necessarily as old as the building they help govern, but they are as old as the cooperative or condominium association. When co-ops convert to condos or when condos are established from the get-go, the writing of house rules is part of the process along with the bylaws and other governing documents.
According to Stephen Kotzas, an attorney with Berry, Sahradnik, Kotzas, Riordan & Benson in Toms River, the bylaws and the master deed “will give the trustees to power to create rules and enforce them.”
“House rules are created by the board of directors,” expounds David L. Berkey, a partner with New York-based law firm Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP. “And the board of directors—or board of managers in a condo—has the authority to modify them.” Most house rules are pretty cut-and-dried: No loud noise after such-and-such an hour, no children playing in the hallways, no ball playing outside, no bicycles in the hallway, all guests must sign in, and so forth.”
Above all else however, rules should be reasonable. “The board should not try to over-reach or micro-manage with house rules,” says Kotzas.