How associations can build a case regarding incidents of nuisance.
In some situations, the rules established by a community association just don't do enough to deter conflict. There are probably no specific rules outlined in your governing documents that ban behavior like setting off fireworks or rollerblading in the common areas. Most community associations assume that these kinds of things are implied, but not having them clearly explained in the governing documents can be cause for concern. One way to address these kinds of problems in a blanket manner that can clarify once and for all is to use a nuisance provision.
A nuisance provision can be critical for preventing these instances from happening in the first place, but it can also provide a framework for how to deal with people who cause a nuisance issue. The majority of community associations may already have a clause like this in their governing documents because it's a broad statement about causing problems with other residents. Most associations use this because it's a solid catch-all clause to address concerns and behaviors that are not otherwise specifically addressed in the governing documents.
One of the primary challenges that an association should be prepared to address, however, is what constitutes a nuisance and what doesn't. To some extent, nuisance is subjective and will vary between residents and families. Some individuals might not even notice behavior that someone else has reported as a “nuisance”. Differences will also exist between associations, too. Behavior that might not be acceptable in a particular community could raise a lot of concerns, elsewhere. This is why associations putting together a nuisance clause should carefully evaluate the general tone of the individuals and families living in the community.
Some of the most common nuisance issues community associations have to deal with are smoking, noise complaints, and hoarding. An association should rely on more than just the statement of another resident in terms of a complaint. There needs to be solid evidence as well that can back up the claims made by a resident filing a nuisance complaint. The association should have a clearly-identified plan for evaluating these claims and handling them appropriately.
It is imperative that an association be aware of decisions or actions that could border on discrimination. Handling each possible claim professionally should be the primary goal of a community association. Having documentation procedures and being able to point to the investigation processes as well can be helpful in the event that someone does file a discrimination claim.
If you have concerns about handling particular behavior that is not explicitly defined in your governing documents, using a nuisance clause can help to give concerned residents a place to voice problems and to reduce the negative behavior from happening in the first place.