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Can a Grandfather Clause Help You?

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Sep 05, 2014 | 0 Comments

Why Grandfather Clauses Can be Useful in Community Associations

Environments change as time goes on and rules and regulations must change with them as a result. While rule changes may be necessary, they aren't always easy to implement. Community associations and property managers must devise the best practices for introducing new rules and they must also deal with residents that aren't happy with the new changes.

When it comes to rule changes in community associations, grandfathering can be useful in keeping residents happy and making sure that the rules reflect the best interests of the association. You've probably heard of the phrase “grandfather clause” but unless you've been directly affected by it, you may not know what it really means.

What is a Grandfather Clause?

Grandfathering or a “grandfather clause is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases.” Anyone who is exempt from the new regulation is said to have “grandfather rights,” though the exemption is usually limited.

When is it Useful?

Grandfather clauses can be useful in a variety of situations and it really depends on the individual community association. Lets say someone with a dog buys a condo in a building that allows pets, but then 2 years later the association decides that the building is going to be a no-pet community. The community may expect residents to be in compliance with the new rules, but it is unrealistic to think that condo owners with pets are going to move or give away their furry friend without a fight. Instead, the condo association can give grandfather rights to residents with pets. New residents would not be allowed to bring pets, and while current residents with pets wouldn't be able to get any new ones, they could stay with their current pet as long as they were registered with the building.

Making changes in a community association is sometimes necessary to ensure the success and survival of the community, but changes are not always easy to implement. It's important for community associations and property managers to understand what tools they have, like the ability to use grandfather clauses, so that they can ensure the happiness and safety of their residents, while still respecting the wishes of the board and ensuring the prosperity of the community.

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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