There are three primary sources of law:
- The association’s governing documents. These may include the declaration, plat, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules and regulations, and design guidelines.
- There are a variety of state statutes that may apply to any given situation, as well as the federal Fair Housing Act, FCC regulations governing satellite dishes and antennas, and the federal law governing the American Flag.
- In addition to the association’s governing documents and applicable law, there is case law (which are decisions by the court on topics affecting associations). Case law is often the most important source of law, because, through court cases, the courts interpret the statutes and provisions of an association’s governing documents.
When the association is facing a particular question, it needs to evaluate all three of these sources before making a decision.