Cats wearing pink booties: the rule of law
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 09:52:57 -0700 (PDT)
Robert Heinich quoted me from some ancient email that says house rules have
the same standing as any law passed by a government. This is only true in
such case as the house rule you pass does not conflict with an established
local, state or federal law. In such cases, the governmental law has
precedent. So in terms of gun control, any house rule you created which got
challenged in court, would be tossed if it was not in accordance to other
law.  So you could pass a house rule requiring cats to wear pink booties,
but you could not take away the cats guns.  

This notion of course is in many ways, irrelevant. As a community of people
you want to work on what makes sense for you and your living situation, and
you may decide to create rules about any number of things which suit you,
and their legal status only matters in the case of a lawsuit, which in
community world is pretty unusual.  As was stated by someone else, if you
have a policy excluding guns from your community, a prospective member will
simply not join you if they are disagreement. 

It is therefore important to make sure you have all of your agreements in
some kind of document that prospective members can review and understand
prior to buying a home. You might also find, that if banks get a hold of
such document, they might refuse a mortgage based on what they consider an
untenable agreement. We used to require incoming new owners to read the
cohousing book.  We were informed by a bank lawyer that this requirement
would cause their institution to deny a mortgage to any prospective client.
We removed the requirement and made it a recommendation instead.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Resident
In woods of Snohomish County, WA

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