One of the most troubling events for a homeowners association is the potential expiration of the governing documents, typically identified as Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions or some derivation thereof. Just like a carton of milk in your refrigerator, governing documents of your homeowners association have an expiration date. Generally, homeowners association documents are “good” for a period of thirty (30) years, with a differing application of this time period lot by lot based upon the title history to one’s property. This thirty (30) year guideline stems from an obscure law known as Florida’s Marketable Record Title Act. Why is this meaningful? Governing documents for one’s homeowners association is akin to the constitution for the community and is a “contract” between the homeowners association and the owners/members within the community. Association Boards of Directors, property managers, and attorneys rely upon the language in these governing document to enforce basic procedures throughout the community such as the collection of assessments, use restrictions, and everyday procedures. Expired aged out governing documents become unenforceable potentially putting a homeowners association without any contractual right to mandate assessments be paid, leases be approved, individual homeowners property be properly maintained, etc. However, all may not be lost as there are ways to save a community’s governing documents from expiring, called “preservation” or springing your governing documents back to life after the thirty (30) year mark, called “revitalization” which is a more involved, difficult, and expensive process to navigate for a homeowners association. Thus, if you are without an evening activity one night, dust off your community’s governing documents and glance at the date of the governing documents to see if your homeowners association’s governing documents have reached their thirtieth birthday. If they have, don’t have a birthday party, but bring it to your Board of Directors attention so an attorney well versed in community association law can advise your homeowners association appropriately.