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Declaration And Bylaws Vs. Rules And Regulations - A Simple Guide

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Managing a condo or coop can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding and navigating the various governing documents. This blog post aims to provide clarity on the differences between the Declaration, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations, as well as guidance on how to amend these documents and the role of residents in these changes.

property management tips for condos and coops
Governing Documents

Understanding the Documents:

1. Declaration: This is the primary document that establishes the association and contains use restrictions, maintenance requirements, and defines the common elements. It takes precedence over other documents in case of any conflicts.

2. Bylaws: These establish the corporation and its operations, including provisions on the board of directors, their eligibility, duties, elections, and powers.

3. Rules and Regulations: These set up guidelines for owners to follow, often reiterating the use restrictions from the Declaration in simpler terms.

Amending the Documents:

1. Declaration and Bylaws: Amendments require a vote by the membership, with the percentage needed to pass specified in the Declaration. These amendments must be recorded with the County Recorder and distributed to the membership.

2. Rules and Regulations: Amendments only require a board vote and distribution of the changes to the membership, making them easier to change.


All documents are enforceable in the same manner, with the enforcement procedure outlined in the documents. Enforcement options include assessments, lawsuits, or the Association taking corrective action and charging the owner for the cost of correcting the violation.

Co-op vs. Condo:

Bylaws in a co-op dictate how the corporation operates, while in a condominium, they govern the rules and regulations that condo owners must follow. The documents that regulate living conditions in a co-op are the house rules and the proprietary lease.

Reasons to Change Bylaws:

Bylaws may need to be changed if they are outdated, unenforceable, or disliked by the community. Common reasons for changing bylaws include altering maintenance requirements, board of directors' qualifications, or voting procedures.

Amendment Process:

The bylaws themselves will specify the consensus required for an amendment, usually a two-thirds vote. The board of directors typically initiates the process, but shareholders can gather and call a special meeting to propose changes as well. An informational meeting or proposal circulation is usually held before the actual vote on the proposed amendment.


Understanding and managing community association documents can be challenging, but it's essential for ensuring a well-functioning community. By knowing the differences between the documents, the amendment process, and the role of residents, community association leaders can make informed decisions to adapt and improve their communities over time.

If you need someone to consult with, feel free to get in touch with our experts at



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