As Fall is now upon us, Board of Directors may be scheduling their fall inspections of the cooperative premises and dwelling units to ensure that all members are in compliance with their House Rules and Regulations. As more of us are spending more time at home these days, you may have purchased a few new items to store outside for your own personal use, such as a patio set, canopy, grill, wading pool, etc. Each cooperative has its own unique House Rules and Regulations for not only what is permitted or prohibited but how such items can be used and stored.
It is always important to refer to your cooperative’s House Rules and Regulations prior to purchasing outdoor items so that you can be aware of what is permitted and what is prohibited and how such items can be used. Moreover, it is equally important to abide by your House Rules and Regulations when it comes to storing outdoor items in preparation for the fall and winter months. These specific provisions not only protect the cooperative but also protect the membership and the dwelling units.
You will see that as each cooperative is different in its day-to-day operations, each cooperative’s House Rules and Regulations will vary from other cooperatives. For example, some cooperatives’ House Rules and Regulations may provide that by a specific date patio tables must be neatly stored, pushed back and secured and that patio chairs must be neatly stacked and covered. Alternatively, some cooperatives’ House Rules and Regulations may even strictly prohibit any outdoor personal items to be stored outside in the winter months.
Another example that you may see is that some cooperative’s House Rules and Regulations may even provide that the member is responsible for turning off his/her outdoor water supply by a specific date to prevent pipes from freezing in addition to neatly storing a member’s hose. Again, in the alternative, a cooperative may prohibit a member from turning off his/her outdoor water supply and request that the member allow for maintenance or management staff to safely perform such work. This is a great example of the importance of a member fully understanding his/her House Rules and Regulations in order to keep his/her dwelling unit safe and secure.
It is important to review your cooperative’s House Rules and Regulations regularly to familiarize yourself with provisions regarding your patio area to avoid violation notices and potential fines, if your governing documents provide for such measures. Seasonal inspections ought to be done by a Board of Directors and/or the cooperative’s management agent to ensure compliance with the cooperative’s Governing Documents, including the House Rules and Regulations. Ensuring full compliance with a cooperative’s House Rules and Regulations not only protects the cooperative premises, but it also protects the member’s dwelling unit as well. The goal of these specific provisions within the House Rules and Regulations is to ensure that a member’s personal outside patio area is maintained in an attractive and clean condition.
With the changing of the seasons, this would also be a great time for Boards of Directors to review their House Rules and Regulations to see if any amendments need to be made. A Board of Directors must always contact its cooperative attorney to review the House Rules and Regulations as an experienced cooperative attorney will be able to guide the Board of Directors with any changes that the Board of Directors is desirous to make. An experienced cooperative attorney will also be able to provide for additional amendments to further protect the cooperative and the membership.