Give us a call! 954-316-1339

Real Estate Law Articles

Is the Grandfather Clause a Myth?

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Nov 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

No! The Grandfather Clause is a useful tool that allows communities to update their rules without driving current residents away

Many community associations are aware of the potential benefits of the grandfather clause. As environments change, regulations may often change with them. It is not always easy to implement role changes, even when they're necessary. Property managers in community associations should understand best practices for implementing new rules in the community and how to deal with residents who are dissatisfied with the new changes. Grandfather clauses can help keep your residents happy and avoid conflict while also ensuring that the new rules reflect the true interests of the association.

Basics of the Grandfather Clause

A grandfather clause allows an older rule to apply to particular situations currently in existence, while a separate version of the rule will apply to all cases in the future. Any individual who has permission to ignore the new regulations is within grandfather rights to do so. Usually the exemption is limited.

One such example could be a no-pet policy. If a homeowner is already living in a unit and was previously permitted to have a dog but the community association ultimately decides that the entire area should be a no-pet community, it is certainly reasonable for the association to expect new residents to be in compliance with these rules. But it may be unfair to expect current condo owners to move or rehome their pets. This is one situation where a community association may decide to grandfather residents who already have pets.

When to use the Grandfather Clause

The above is just one example of when it makes sense to grandfather someone in. While change is certainly inevitable in some aspects, it's not really fair to expect one or more owners of units to completely change their way of life. This can actually anger residents and cause unnecessary problems for the board. Usually, having a clear scenario about how situations like this will be handled is the best approach to dealing with the need to phase out old policies.

While it is often necessary to make changes that will improve the community and appeal to new buyers, these changes are not always easy and can frustrate current owners. Grandfather clauses help ease the transition, keeping current residents happy and clarifying rules for the future as well.

If you have a legal question regarding grandfather clauses in your community, contact PeytonBolin today and let one of our knowledgeable association attorneys guide you

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Feel Free To Contact Us

The PeytonBolin team is here to help. We handle real estate matters but if you need another type of attorney, we will do our best to point you in the right direction with referrals.