By Robert M. Meisner
The CAI – Michigan Chapter retains a lobbying firm to assist it in either promoting or objecting to proposed legislation pertinent to community associations. Unfortunately, in this writer’s opinion, the Chapter’s recent track record in advocacy leaves much to be desired. First, while some may believe there are benefits to the 2015 amendments to the Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act, any attorney knows that a statute that imposes a burden in excess of gross negligence to hold a paid director liable is unconscionable. Frankly, it is now easier to sue a government official by showing gross negligence than it is a paid director of a condominium association or other nonprofit corporation. Next came the passage of SB 610 (Public Act 233 of 2016, effective 9/21/16) amending the Michigan Condominium Act, which specifically takes away vested property rights of co-owners in condominium projects where the developer has not constructed the “need not be built” items listed in the Master Deed ten years after the recording of the Master Deed. Again, the Chapter, while technically opposed to it, did very little, if anything, to stop its passage. The legislative committee Chairman wrote an extensive article about SB 610 questioning its constitutionality in the recent edition of the Chapter’s magazine, one of three articles from his firm that was highlighted in the magazine (which has been accused by many as being self-serving to certain members of CAI). But it leaves us all to question, how could the legislative committee fail to convince a single member of the legislature to vote against the bill?
Simply stated, it is important that people who reside in condominiums and condo association boards band together on their own to exercise political influence in Lansing, and this fall is great time to deal with changes to the composition of the Michigan House of Representatives to elect a more even-handed group of legislators who will not be subject to donors such as insurance companies, the Chamber of Commerce and other moneyed interests who are adverse to consumers. It appears that only then will meaningful legislation which does not take away the rights of condo and community associations will be enacted to right some of the wrongs that have been committed. If you are interested in joining the cause, you are encouraged to contact us so that we can direct you to making a meaningful contribution to changing the laws which have been so egregiously applied against the best interests of community associations and their members.