Associations should be very careful when amending their documents.
First, there may be a different amendment process for each particular document. Thus, one must not assume that the amendment process with respect to the declaration is the same as the amendment process with respect to the bylaws. There is no substitute for reviewing each particular document.
The exact wording of the amendment provision must be analyzed very carefully. For example, there is a difference between “75% of the owners” and “owners of 75% of the lots.” If a person owns multiple lots, he or she would still only have one vote if you are counting owners, but he or she would have multiple votes if you were counting lots.
Also, be aware that certain terms may have a legal meaning. For example, if the owners need to “acknowledge” the amendment, then the signatures need to be notarized. We have seen several associations spend a significant amount of time collecting signatures only to find out later that the amendment was not valid because the signatures were not notarized.
In summary, amending the declaration may, in some cases, make the community a better place. However, before embarking on the amendment process, the association should fully understand the process and the legal ramifications.