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Amending the HOA Declaration and Bylaws (CCRs)

During the Parkside HOA 2019 annual meeting held 9/27 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., there was discussion around how CCRs are changed. Two examples of rule changes included: adding additional roof material options and limiting the number of rental properties allowed in Parkside.

Regardless of how one might feel about proposed changes like these, it’s worth understanding what’s involved in proposing and passing a CCR amendment. 

By design, changing the CCRs requires a very high threshold. For this reason, a rule change proposal is likely to fail unless it is widely popular or somewhat inconsequential and non-controversial. For example, a change to the CCRs requires a minimum of 67% of the homeowners to cast a Yes vote if there is not a single No vote.  If some homeowners vote No, then a minimum of 75% Yes votes is required to pass.

There are 79 homes in Parkside, so 53 Yes votes might pass if there is not a single No vote and 60 YES votes would be required if others do vote NO. Any combination of 20 or more "NO" and non-votes is all it takes to kill an amendment. 

In the case of changing the CCRs to limit how many homes can be rented out, such a change will likely be voted down by current investor owners (I think there may be 7 such homes as of this posting) who already rent out their properties. Others may not want to be restricted from renting their home in the future or prohibited from selling to an investor, effectively limiting the potential pool of buyers for their homes. Finally, many current owners have a positive experience with our tenant neighbors and do not see rentals as a problem worth limiting our ability to use our homes as we desire within existing HOA rules. 

Because changing HOA rules can be difficult if not impossible, consider what you are really wanting to achieve and consider whether enforcing existing rules is a more effective and immediate way to attain your goals. Continuing the “limiting rentals” idea as an example: if the primary concern is that owners of rental properties “might” fail to maintain their homes to Parkside standards, then the existing solution is to simply file a complaint with the Board regarding the property condition and follow-up to ensure that the board acts to remedy the situation. If necessary, the board can have the Parkside lawyer send a notice to comply with the Owner/Investor. That usually results in swift action on the part of the investor.  

With regard to allowing other roof material types – this is a particularly interesting concept since nearly 10 years ago a proposed amendment to the CCRs regarding roof material actually was passed with 62 YES votes. The new amended language allowed for the board to approve new material types, but limits the board to only allow new material types that are “…aesthetically close to the (approved) materials, i.e., look like cedar shake, cedar shingles, or earth-tone concrete tile.” This language is sufficient to allow new roofing technologies to be implemented so long as the neighborhood aesthetic is preserved.

The conclusion: unless a majority of Parkside owners agree to a major change in the Parkside aesthetic, a proposal to allow any roofing material that does not match what is in place today will likely not pass. Additionally, unless a majority of owners want to place restrictions on their own ability to rent their homes someday, that likely will not pass either. Thankfully, most folks are maintaining their roofs and replacing them with approved materials when necessary. The Board is enforcing community standards for all owners (investors and owner-occupied alike), and Parkside continues to be one of the most charming and valued neighborhoods in Mill Creek.  

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The discussion regarding limiting rentals in the neighborhood was never to exclude renters that live in said investment properties, but to make sure that our home values continue to increase. We rented in this neighborhood before purchasing here and took very good care of the home we were renting. I was told when we signed the contract that there were a limited amount of rentals in this neighborhood, so in essence, "take care of the house because the HOA is watching you". : ) Another idea that was discussed at the 2018 annual meeting with regard to limiting rental properties was to require a buyer to live in their new Parkside home for 1-2 years before it is able …

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