Priority Amendments to Governing Documents

Many Michigan condominium and homeowner association directors want to know how their governing documents might be improved. In our experience, it’s highly likely that just about any community association’s governing documents would benefit from full amendment and restatement. This holds true even for newer developments because developers that draft the governing documents have little incentive…

Details

Free Webinar on 12/12/17 – Pets in the Community Association

Please register for Pets in the Community Association on Dec 12, 2017 12:00 PM EST at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4203370667913962755 It’s everything you need to know about creating and enforcing pet restrictions in your Michigan condominium or subdivision. Are your current restrictions actually enforceable if challenged, and what accommodations might you have to make to comply with fair…

Details

Guns in the Condominium: Rights and Restrictions

We recently examined an interesting question – can an association prohibit co-owners from bringing firearms to meetings of members held in the common elements? There is no case law specifically confirming the answer to this question, but this kind of rule or restriction would likely be defensible if challenged in court. The published legal scholarship…

Details

Don’t Forget Which Months Have 31 Days

Your condominium’s or subdivision’s governing documents likely contain many provisions setting forth certain windows of time or deadlines by which certain actions must be taken, for example, giving notices of member meetings, taking action without a meeting, or responding to architectural modification requests. These deadlines will be enforced strictly by the courts in litigation, so it’s…

Details

Oppose HB 4446 – Unfair to Condo Associations

As regular readers of our blog will recall, we have provided extensive analysis of HB 4919 (2015), which was introduced in the prior legislative session. While the initial version of the legislation was positive, unfortunately it was later amended such that the bill actually represented a threat for certain Michigan condominium associations. Now, that amended version…

Details

Defining “Replacement”, “Addition”, and “Maintenance”

A new unpublished Michigan Court of Appeals decision provides an instructive example of how courts will sometimes use a simple dictionary in order to determine what words mean. In MJ Development Company, Inc. v. Inn at Bay Harbor Association (Not reported in N.W.2d, 2017 WL 726591), the decision was based on the following bylaw provisions: (a) Should…

Details

Appeals Court Interprets “Residential Use” to Exclude Transient Leasing

An interesting case was recently decided by a Texas Court of Appeals in the matter of Tarr v. Timberwood Park Owners Association, Inc., No. 04-16-00022-CV (Tex. App. Nov. 16, 2016). Timberwood Park’s governing documents stated that the homes in the subdivision were to be used exclusively for residential purposes but did not contain any specific prohibition…

Details

$500 Limit for Incidental Damage Applied in District Court Ruling

Attorney Brian Harris of The Meisner Law Group recently appeared at trial on behalf of one of our long-standing community association clients, and he successfully argued for application of a $500 limit on “incidental damage” set forth in the condominium’s Bylaws. The judge correctly applied the limit to the plaintiff’s damages. Incidental damage is usually defined, as in…

Details
Political Signs

Can a Michigan Condominium Association prohibit political signs?

Election season is upon us and political signs are popping up everywhere. While many co-owners believe they have a first amendment right to put up political signs in a condominium, they should think again as a condominium association is not a governmental entity that is required to afford first amendment rights to its co-owners.  While…

Details
Ethics

Condominium Boards and Ethics: The top 5 reasons that your Association needs a Code of Conduct

Condominium associations are largely governed by volunteer directors that receive little training with respect to their fiduciary duties and potential ethical issues that they may face. Each director has a fiduciary duty of care and duty of loyalty to act in the best interest of the association.  Unfortunately, many directors blur the lines between what…

Details
Bylaws

What are the top 5 signs that your Condominium Documents need to be amended in Michigan?

It is the responsibility of the Board to enforce the Master Deed and Bylaws. MCL 559.190 allows for the Condominium Bylaws to be amended based upon a vote of 2/3 of the Co-Owners.  In certain circumstances identified in MCL 559.190a, mortgagee approval is also required to amend the condominium documents.  Many Associations run into problems…

Details
Condo Hotel

Don’t take a vacation from the additional regulations that apply to Condominium Hotels

Michigan has been blessed with the Great Lakes which has resulted in numerous condominium projects being developed on or near the water that are intended for daily or weekly use by temporary occupants. These condominium projects are often referred to as “Condominium Hotels”, “Resort Condominiums”, “Condotels” or “Vacation Condominiums” despite the fact that the Michigan…

Details