Change is Good! Updating House Rules Helps Avoid Conflicts

Times change and your building's house rules should change along with them. A decade may have

passed since your house rules were first written or last updated. In that time, the City has passed stringent new anti-smoking and recycling laws. High-tech health clubs have been built in luxury condominiums while roller-blading seems to have become the national pastime. Your house rules need to take these changes into account. Without clearly stated regulations, residents, staff and visitors may not know if their behavior is acceptable to other building residents, an ambiguity that can lead to serious conflicts. By reviewing and updating your house rules, you can help resolve disputes more quickly and prevent conflicts that may lead to costly litigation down the line.

Changing the Rules

There is no lengthy legal process to changing the house rules. At any board meeting, a new rule or slate of rules can be adopted if the majority of the board is in agreement and the rule is not in conflict with the building's by-laws, black book or proprietary leases. If a new rule is challenged by shareholders, the board can either retract the rule or contest the challenge on the grounds that the rule was properly passed by the board.

Mayfair Towers, one of the buildings managed by American Landmark, recently went through a major update of their house rules. While the original house rules were only two pages long, the new version I helped the board draw up is 20 pages long and includes rules that are in line with today's trends. For example, now that we're in the '90s and roller blades have become a common form of transportation and recreation, the board decided to add a no roller blades in the lobby or elevator rule to the revised document, among many other changes.

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