Covenants committee members need to be made of sterner stuff, that’s for sure. It is the main component of the HOA board that ensures compliance with HOA covenants in the community. Thus, its members are the ones that check if every property abides by the policies in the HOA documents. That’s why you can consider it to be the most important HOA board committee. In fact, it’s often the only committee that’s mandatory in the HOA governing documents for most associations.
The Important Roles of the Covenants Committee
What’s the main role of the covenants committee? Just like it says on the label, this committee is concerned with the HOA covenants. More precisely, they ensure that every property in the HOA is in line with the current covenants, conditions, and any restrictions that apply to them. They also have a role in making sure that the HOA board itself stays consistent with covenant rules, as well.
Thus, the committee also has the unenviable task of identifying and seeking out potential covenant violators. Their main job is to ensure that each property is compliant with the covenants. If that can be achieved by a simple reminder, then that ends well for everyone involved. However, the committee should also be ready to exercise its authority to get residents to comply.
The covenants committee is certainly one of the key components of the HOA board. It’s also true that they carry one of the most complex tasks the HOA board undertakes.
The committee has a duty to enforce the rules and regulations, and they have a variety of means to do so. From anonymous tips to regular inspections, the committee makes its presence felt in the community.
It’s also understandable why homeowners, and also the media, tend to view this committee in an unfavorable light. Seeing them around your corner sends your mind wondering if perhaps you’ve committed an infraction.
Even if you’re aware of your violation, not everyone will still be fully tolerant of their corrective measures. After all, most people think that it is their property, and they should have more leeway on what they can do on it.
How Important Is the Covenants Committee?
In terms of authority, the covenants committee is perhaps one of the most important in terms of authority. Just about every HOA assigns this committee as a required committee in its governing documents. Without this component, HOA boards will have no organized means of doing its duty to enforce its bylaws.
Thus, the covenants committee is also usually one of the larger components in terms of membership. It’s not unusual to have as many as seven or more volunteer homeowners serving on a covenants committee. Larger HOAs may even have more members than this, to cover the many responsibilities of the team.
What Are the Specific Roles of the Covenants Committee?
The specific roles of this committee should be based on the charter as laid out by the HOA governing documents. Just like with all the other components of the HOA board, the covenants committee should also have a job description and structure in the HOA charter. From the goals, objectives, and mission statement to the detailed reporting requirements, all these should be spelled out in the charter section for the committee.
In most HOA boards, the covenants committee’s role is one of assistance. Thus, the committee serves at the pleasure of the current board, and all the decisions are ultimately at the hands of the latter, as well.
- Review and Update of Existing Rules and Regulations
One of the committee’s most important functions is their assistance in maintaining and updating the HOA rules and regulations. Given their experience, the committee is in an ideal position to review the letter and enforcement of existing rules and regulations. Their job is then to evaluate them and propose amendments or additions as needed.
- Monitor Compliance
The covenants committee is responsible for monitoring compliance with the HOA covenants and restrictions, as well as any bylaws and governing documents that apply. This may involve processing anonymous complaints, as well.
- Report Violations
Members of the committee also have the duty to document and report all violations and infractions within their purview. The specific details depend on the committee charter as specified in the HOA governing documents. In many HOAs, for example, the covenants committee will usually refer these violations to their Community Relations Specialist.
- Recommend Corrective Actions
The committee also has the authority to recommend corrective actions to ensure compliance with the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions. They also have the authority to recommend sanctions to rectify confirmed violations, as well. Thus, the covenants committee can recommend the issuance of fines, penalties, or other such measures. Of course, all these have to be within the scope of what is laid out in the HOA governing documents.
- Review Complaints, Concerns, and Recommendations from Residents
Given its role in updating and maintaining the HOA rules and regulations, the committee needs to listen to its residents, as well. Thus, the committee members also receive the complaints, recommendations, and various concerns as sent in by the HOA members. These are then discussed for review by the committee. The committee will also consult with their community relations specialist, or the HOA general manager, to address these concerns as well.
How Can the HOA Board Support Its Covenants Committee?
Being a member of the covenants committee is not for everyone. Residents can certainly appreciate their role in keeping property values high, but they can also get bristly when called to task for their infractions. Thus, a day in the life of a covenants committee member is often one that’s stressful, demanding, and difficult at times.
The HOA board can be there for their rule enforcement committees by supporting their decisions – even the unpopular ones. There’s often a way for the HOA board to show support for the decision of its committee, while also assuring the residents that they are keeping an open mind when it comes to their side of the argument. Your HOA management company and your community relations specialist can certainly help in this regard.