Document Hierarchy

So you want to replace one of your living room windows? You’ve heard of the architectural guidelines, but where are they? You retrieve the overstuffed folder of documents you were given when you bought your condo. Now, where to start?

The primary governing documents for your association have a general order of priority and succession, and convey varying degrees of authority and control. This brief summary will help you know where to look.

  1. Recorded Map, Plat or Plan– A drawing of the layout and divisions of the community, showing the locations of the units and the common areas.
  2. Declaration(“of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions”)– The Declaration, or “Covenants” or “CCRs”, creates the obligations, conditions, primary protective restrictions and policies, which are binding upon all members of the association. It defines the membership, the primary assessment criteria, insurance requirements, developer control and the transition process, and establishes the maintenance and repair responsibilities for the owners and the association.
  3. Articles of Incorporation– The “Articles” establish the Corporation, usually as a non-profit corporation under Colorado law. The general purpose, power and authority of the association are defined, as well as the structure of the board of directors and its officers.
  4. Bylaws– These contain the basic rules and procedures for governing the association’s internal affairs, primary objectives and function – voting, elections, terms, meetings etc. The role, authority and responsibility of each board member and officer is further defined.
  5. Rules and Regulations– The “Rules” more specifically set forth and clarify the guidelines and procedures for internal governance, activities and conduct within the community. They also regulate the operation and use of the Common Elements. The Rules present the association’s remedies in the event of a violation, as well as a member’s right to a hearing.
  6. Policies or Resolutions– Specific board actions that create or amend rules, regulations or policies. Currently there are ten governance policies required by Colorado law.

If there is ever a conflict between documents, the higher priority document usually prevails; the language in the lower priority document becoming “unenforceable”. Note that, in Colorado, CCIOA and the Colorado Revised Non Profit Corporation Act prevail over ALL the above documents in the event of a conflict.