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PREEMPTION! The FCC’s Adoption of the OTARD Rules and their Application to Condo’s and HOAs

In Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”), Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to adopt rules concerning Over-the-Air Reception Devices (“OTARD”) in order to provide limitations and guidance on governmental and non-governmental restrictions on viewers’

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MCL 559.139: Transferring limited common element parking spaces in Michigan Condominiums

In densely populated urban areas in Michigan, it is not uncommon for a co-owner to sell another co-owner a parking space at a premium when parking space is limited. However, condominium associations and co-owners often confuse the process of selling

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What is a Disclosure Statement and what is Required?

In Michigan, condominium developers are required to provide several documents to prospective purchasers of a condominium. Pursuant to MCL 559.106, “Developer” is defined as “a person engaged in the business of developing a condominium project as provided in this act”.

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Slip and Falls on the Condominium Premises and the Open and Obvious Doctrine

A few years ago, I wrote an article titled “Legal Update: Slip and Fall on the Condominium Premises: Does the Condominium Owe a Statutory Duty to Its Co-owners?” The article centered around a 2015 published decision by the Michigan Court

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HB 4446 allows Michigan Condominium Associations to enforce restrictions and defend lawsuits (MI)

On March 30, 2017, Representative Klint Kesto introduced House Bill 4446, which would modify the Michigan Condominium Act, MCL 559.101, et. seq. House Bill 4446 (2017) would amend MCL 559.160, MCL 559.207 and MCL 559.215 as follows:   (See article)

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Paris Meadows, LLC v City of Kentwood: Objecting to the Taxation of Common Elements (MI)

In Michigan the question of whether the common elements of a condominium are taxable appears to be well-settled. In Paris Meadows, LLC v City of Kentwood, 287 Mich App 136; 783 NW2d 133 (2010), the Michigan Court of Appeals held

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Autonomous Vehicles: Coming to a Condominium or HOA near you!

An autonomous vehicle, also known as a driverless car, self-driving car, or robotic car is a vehicle that senses its environment and operates without human input. On December 9, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed 2016 PA 332 into law and

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Condominium Association’s Right to an Easement (MI)

In today’s day and age, it is almost unheard of to own a parcel of real estate that is not in some way encumbered by an easement. An easement is an ownership interest in real property that grants the holder

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What Happens When Condominium Documents Conflict?

When purchasing a condominium unit in Michigan, buyers are often surprised at the number of legal documents governing not only the condominium project itself, but also the association tasked with administering, managing and maintaining the condominium. Given the length and

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MI Court Validates Foreclosure Sale Under the Doctrine of Substantial Compliance

On February 14, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in the matter of Miehlke v Bayview Condominium Association of Manistee, et al. The Miehlke case is important as a reminder that a defect in a foreclosure

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IRS Revenue Ruling 70-604 and MCL 450.2541(2)(b): The Value of Expert Advice

Many individuals and corporations, including community associations, are currently preparing their tax returns. For associations with excess revenue this process most likely involves a determination of whether to exercise an election under IRS Revenue Ruling 70-604. A proper election under

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No Looming Oroville But Michigan’s Aging Dams Pose Real Flood Risks

More than half of the state’s dams are privately owned, often mom-and-pop-type organizations — maybe a condominium association that had a dam installed for their lake, said the DEQ’s Lane. The cost of dam repairs, often exceeding $100,000, is a

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Michigan court rules in favor of condominium association in interpreting newly amended MCL 559.167 (SB 610)

The Oakland County Circuit Court held that the MCL 559.167, as amended by 2016 PA 233, does not recreate “need not be built” units that were eliminated under the prior version of MCL 559.167. The ruling will have an impact

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MCL 559.184: When can a purchaser withdraw from an agreement to purchase a new condominium?

Purchasing a new construction condominium is an exciting prospect for many people. However, condominium purchasers are often provided with a large amount of information and requested to make numerous decisions in a short period of time. In many instances, potential

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Why Every Condominium and Homeowners Association Should Trademark its Name and Logo

Over the past decade, the popularity of living in a common interest community, particularly condominium and homeowners associations, has risen significantly. According to recent statistics provided by Community Associations Institute, there are over 340,000 community associations, over 26 million housing

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How to Revive a Defunct Michigan HOA

When a developer starts a project in Michigan, often it is easier/cheaper to create a site condominium or a homeowner’s association (“HOA”) rather than platting single family homes. As the developer sells enough units, control of the site condominium or

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Condo Co-owner Magician Failed to Impress in Icy Slip-Fall Case (MI)

Although Michigan’s winter of 2016-2017 has been relatively mild so far, this is usually the season when attorneys see an increase in slip and fall accident claims due to snow and ice. However, Michigan case law that developed over the

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Is it Time to Revisit Restrictions on Home-Based Businesses in Condominium Associations?

What do Apple Computer, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company all have in common? These corporations all started out as home-based businesses. With recent technological gains, more individuals are not only working from home but, in fact, more

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MI HB 4015: Unfortunately Not the Dumbest Thing to Come Out of the MI Legislature

Representative Peter Lucido (R), from the 36th District (Macomb County), decided to start off the new legislative session with a whole slew of bills, among which are proposed changes to the Condo Act.  I won’t be commenting on the other bills,

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Michigan House Bill 4015 (2017): Bad News for Michigan Condominium Associations

On January 12, 2017, House Bill 4015 (2017) was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives and would make significant changes to the Michigan Condominium Act. The bill is a reincarnation of former House Bill 5655 that had failed to

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Should your Condominium Association be VA Certified? (MI)

One out of every 11 citizens in Michigan is a veteran and may receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA may help service-members, veterans, and certain qualified surviving spouses of service-members and veterans become homeowners

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Transparency breeds Legitimacy: 3 Tips for your Condominium Association to avoid a Lawsuit

Many condominium board members volunteer to serve their condominium association for altruistic purposes. While often well-intentioned, it is not uncommon for board members to not have any training that would make them aware of potential pitfalls that commonly entangle a

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An Important Lesson for Condominium Developers (MI)

On December 15, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in the matter of Woodland Estates, LLC v. City of Sterling Heights and County of Macomb. Woodland Estates, LLC (the “Developer”) filed a lawsuit against the City

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Michigan Court rules that MCL 559.132 does not allow for a Condominium to be expanded to add units after 6 years

On December 1, 2016, the Grand Traverse County Circuit Court ruled that units could not be added to a condominium after the expiration of the six (6) year time frame contained in MCL 559.132 in Irish v Scheppe Investments, Inc.,

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MI Ct of App Rules That Deed Restrictions Recorded Outside of the Chain of Title are Unenforceable

In Petersen Financial LLC v Twin Creeks LLC, issued November 22, 2016 (Docket No. 329019) (Published Opinion) the Michigan Court of Appeals held that deed restrictions that were not within the chain of title were not enforceable. In 2000, Twin

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Turkey Deep-Fryers in Condominiums: Crispy and Delicious but Bad for You Financially

Deep fried turkey combines the deliciousness of a well-cooked turkey with the crispiness of deep-fried goodness. Thanksgiving is one of the few opportunities many families have to enjoy a deep-fried turkey because of the time and attention needed to use

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New FHA Certification Guidelines to Land Soon, Ending a 5-Year Holding Pattern

On June 30, 2011, the Condominium Project Approval and Processing Guide (“Guide”) was published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). The Guide was designed to provide Federal Housing Administration (“FHA) condominium project approval processing requirements. Since

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Is a co-owner entitled to a reasonable accommodation to use medical marijuana under the Federal Fair Housing Act?

On November 8, 2016, Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas joined 25 other states and the District of Columbia in approving the use of medical marijuana. Now that medical marijuana is legal in more than half of the states in the

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Just Keep Swimming: Navigating the Waters of a Co-owner’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

Bankruptcy matters can be treacherous waters for Condominium Association Boards to navigate. Such issues should, in most cases, be referred directly to the Association’s legal counsel, who should be experienced in handling Condominium collection cases in the bankruptcy context. Nevertheless,

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Proposed Amendment to the MI Condo Act: House Bill 5980 would require mediation of disputes prior to initiating litigation

Michigan House Bill 5980 was introduced on October 19, 2016. House Bill 5980 would amend MCL 559.154, Section 54 of the Michigan Condominium Act, and require that all disputes between co-owners and/or the Association, including those that involve the interpretation

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Can Clearly Unenforceable Deed Restrictions Create Potential Liability for your Association?

Earlier this year, Channel 7 WXYZ did an exposé on a Bloomfield Township homeowners association called Wing Lake Farms, which had a 1948 deed restriction that states: Second: That no lot, or any part thereof, shall be sold, conveyed, rented,

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The Michigan Condominium Act: Time for a Change

The Michigan Condominium Act was enacted in 1978 and is now over thirty-five years old. While significant amendments were made to the Michigan Condominium Act in 2001 and 2002, the Michigan Condominium Act does not currently meet the needs of

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What every Condominium Association needs to know about Parking Restrictions

The enforcement of parking restrictions is one of the most common problems that condominium associations and property managers are forced to deal with. Parking spaces are often at a premium in densely packed urban areas and issues arise when co-owners

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Of Condominium Associations and Pocket Monsters (Pokemon)

During Summer 2016, the Pokémon GO game for smartphones took the world by storm – leveraging novelty and nostalgia to get millions of Americans up off the couch and out of doors in ways that create important legal issues for

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Are You Observing Constitutional Rights in Disciplinary Hearings?

Boards of directors of community associations (and, unfortunately, even the attorneys advising them) will sometimes mistakenly believe that co-owners are not entitled to certain Constitutional rights of due process with respect to disciplinary hearings. They might warn a co-owner not

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When the Inmates Take Over the Asylum and a Good Board Loses Control

Those of us who have been involved in representing community associations (in my case, for over forty-five years) have, no doubt, experienced a situation where so-called dissidents in a community association, for clearly irrational reasons, strive to seize control of

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Factors to Consider in Maintaining and Maximizing the Value of Your Condominium

One of the most important aspects in determining the value of a condominium complex to a prospective purchaser is the upkeep of its common elements. A well run condominium will make capital improvements as they become necessary, address maintenance issues

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Michigan Court rules that recreational use of a camper violates deed restrictions

In Vansteenhouse v Winslow, issued June 28, 2016 (Docket No. 326224) (Unpublished Opinion) the Michigan Court of Appeals was required to determine whether a property owner violated deed restrictions by having a camper on their property. The deed restrictions indicated,

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Pet Size or Weight Restrictions in Michigan Condominiums

When drafting or amending condominium bylaws, the Restrictions section—typically Article VI of the Condominium Bylaws—often garners the most feedback, review or modification. One of the key provisions within the Restrictions section addresses pet restrictions including: the registration of pets with

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Hot Topics in Community Association Law: Attack of the Drones

Given the ever-changing world in which we live, it is important for community associations to at least try to keep up with, if not stay ahead of, the latest trends. This can seem like a daunting task for even the

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MI Legislature Amends Sec. 67 of the Condo Act – “Big Developer” Wins Big, While “Average Joe Co-owner” is Left Holding the Bag (Again)

On June 22, 2016, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill No. 610 into law, amending Section 67 of the Michigan Condominium Act. The Michigan Legislature had a prime opportunity to effect real change in the law to benefit the many thousands

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(Condo Act:) Modifications and Improvements to Protect Persons With Disabilities

Persons with disabilities who reside in condominiums have several statutory protections available to them designed to prevent discrimination against the disabled. These protections include the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (“FHAA”), 42 USC 3604, and its Michigan equivalent contained in

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What Community Associations Should Know About the Fair Housing Act and its Impact on Pool Rules and Regulations

With the summer heat wave in full force, it is nice to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool to cool down. Also, pools are not only good for cooling down but also provide numerous other benefits, including family time

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MI Court of Appeals Rules That (County) Treasurer Cannot Foreclose on Common Elements

In Carola Condominium Association v Dustin Chappell, issued July 19, 2016 (Docket No. 325851) (Unpublished Opinion) the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the Wayne County Treasurer could not foreclose on common elements that were identified as “garage spaces” in

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POKÉMON GO: What Does Your Condo or HOA Need to Know?

Pokémon Go is a free mobile video game that is taking the world by storm. Pokémon Go was released on July 6, 2016 in the United States and has already has more than ten million downloads. Pokémon Go is different

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Oppose HB 5655 – “Annual Budget Meeting” of Co-Owners and More (MI)

This bill would amend the Michigan Condominium Act to add a requirement that a condominium association must obtain majority co-owner approval of the annual budget at an “annual budget meeting” of the co-owners. The result of the co-owners’ refusal to

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Architectural Control: Sculptures, Statues, Lawn Ornaments, Birdbaths and Other Items on the Common Elements or Lots

Numerous condominiums in Michigan restrict (or outright ban) sculptures, statues, lawn ornaments, birdbaths or other items pursuant to the condominium documents. Many of these provisions were drafted by the developer when creating the condominium in order to provide uniformity during

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Senate Bill 610 Passes: Is the amendment to MCL 559.167 of the Michigan Condominium Act constitutional?

On June 22, 2016, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 610 after it underwent several amendments in both the house and senate. Senate Bill 610 will become effective as of September 21, 2016 and will amend MCL 559.167 to read as

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MCL 559.212: How to handle unruly renters in a Michigan Condominium

Co-owners desire to rent units for a variety of reasons. By way of example, many co-owners desire to rent condominium units as they are underwater on the mortgage and cannot sell the unit, they inherited the unit, their job was

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What Do I Need to Know About a Conversion Condominium Under the Michigan Condominium Act?

Michigan law allows the creation of a condominium project under terms and conditions set forth in the Michigan Condominium Act, Act 59 of 1978, MCL 559.101, et seq. (the “Act”). For the most part, the Act contemplates the creation of

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