Associations typically have five different documents that very much affect association living and governance. In addition to CC&Rs ( Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), most associations have Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, operating rules and either a condominium plan or subdivision map. Unfortunately, most homeowners in common interest communities do not read these documents before they close escrow.
A corporation is created when articles of incorporation are filed with the state. In earlier years, articles of incorporation often contained significant limitations on association and board powers. However, all common interest development associations are not incorporated, and those will not have articles. Not all incorporated associations use their legal name. The bylaws will usually on the first page state the association’s correct name and indicate whether it is a corporation. The Secretary of State can provide a duplicate copy of articles, and its web site will indicate if the corporation is still in good standing – visit www.businesssearch.sos.ca.gov.
Bylaws, unlike articles of incorporation, are not filed with any public agency. Bylaws address governance topics such as the powers and limitations of the board, information on membership meetings, and board eligibility. Bylaws should not address the property, but how the corporation governs.
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