Although it’s been the law since 2011, the “Kansas Uniform Common Interest Owners Bill of Rights” (aka homeowners bill of rights) is causing confusion for many homeowners associations in the state of Kansas and the Greater Kansas City area. Also known as “Kansas House Bill 2472,” the law affects “common interest communities” and “homeowners associations” that contain 12 or more units. The law sets forth the powers and duties of the associations and became effective on January 1, 2011.
Notable Provisions of Kansas Owners Bill of Rights
Some of the most notable provisions of the act are as follows:
- Homeowner associations’ budgets. The law requires the board of directors to propose and adopt a budget at least annually, and that “unit owners” be given a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed budget prior to the board taking action to approve the budget.
- Authority of the board. The law limits the power of associations to suspend rights or privileges of unit owners that fail to pay an assessment.
- Bylaws requirements. The law requires certain content be included in the by-laws of associations, such as notices of annual meetings, notices for legal proceedings and communication throughout associations.
- Meetings. Notice of meetings must be given at least 10 days and no more than 60 days beforehand. Owners must be given reasonable opportunity to comment during the meeting.
- Rules. Before the board can amend or adopt any rules, the board must notify owners of its intent and the date on which the proposed action will be conducted. After adopting, the board must provide owners a copy of the change.
- Annual meetings. Annual meetings of the board are mandatory, and proper notice must be given to members. Materials distributed in the meeting must be available to all members. The law establishes meeting procedures and protocol.
- Voting provisions. The law specifies requirements for quorums and voting rights; and it conveys procedures for certain actions of the association.
- Retention of records. The law requires that association records be retained for up to 5 years and available for the association’s members to view and copy.
- Dispute resolution. In the event of a dispute, associations can require disputes between the association and unit owners or between two or more unit owners regarding the common interest community be submitted to nonbinding alternative dispute resolution (as a precondition to initiation of a judicial proceeding).
- Board conduct. The law establishes that the standards of performance of associations’ officers and board will be equivalent to that of a trustee.
We at the Tiehen Group believe the law is generally well intentioned. It puts into law many good practices already followed by many homes associations. For example, sound budgeting helps account for members’ funds and is at the heart of fiscal responsibility. It does not mean that the HOA has to rewrite its Bylaws in order to comply. The Kansas law supersedes the Bylaws.
The law does impose a higher level of responsibility on volunteer board members, which may be a disincentive for some homeowners to serve. However, professional management companies can take unnecessary burdens off the board members by their knowledge and expertise with the law.
Please contact us with your questions and comments on homeowners bill of rights and/or home association management.