How to Find Bylaws

signing a contract image by William Berry from Fotolia.com

Bylaws are used by an array of organizations, including nonprofits, homeowners associations, privately held companies and large publicly traded corporations. Bylaws establish the operational rules and structure within which the owners and officers of a company or association work.

Some people search for bylaws models to use in their own organizations. Others want to read the bylaws of existing organizations. The reason you are searching for bylaws, and the type of organization whose bylaws you are searching for, determine the best method to find them.

Determine your purpose for finding bylaws. The methods you use to find bylaws will differ depending on whether you want bylaws models to use for your own business or want to read the bylaws of a particular group or corporation.

If you are looking for bylaws models to use for your own business, websites such as Onecle contain numerous bylaws from various companies that you can read and use for free.

Search the website of the organization you are inquiring about. Many nonprofit and publicly traded corporations post their bylaws online to comply with state or federal laws. You can also search the Edgar database of the Securities and Exchange Commission's website to find bylaws of public companies.

Contact an owner or board member of the organization to request a copy of its bylaws. Most organizations require you to have some sort of relationship to the organization to receive a copy of the bylaws. Qualifying relationships include being an owner, board member, homeowner or creditor of the company or association.

Call the secretary of state's office. Some states require organizations to file their bylaws with the secretary of state. These filings are public record, and you can request and receive them for a nominal fee.

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About the Author

Michael Scarn is a legal, automotive, fitness, business and aviation writer. He has been a professional writer since 2006. Scarn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University as well as a Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate—both from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Photo Credits

  • signing a contract image by William Berry from Fotolia.com