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Electronic Signatures Can Now Be Used to Amend Restrictive Covenants (MI)

The legislative history of MCL 450.835a demonstrates that Michigan House Bill 5591 (2016) was originally introduced to deal with an extremely large Michigan Homeowners Association that was having difficultly amending its documents. The Lakes of North Association in Northern Michigan

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6 Big Reasons Why Your Assn. Should Consider Amending Your Documents (OR, 6 BIG REASONS WHY YOUR BYLAWS ARE PROBABLY TERRIBLE)

(Or, 6 Big Reasons Why Your Bylaws are Probably Terrible)   There are a myriad of reasons why it may be in the best interests of an Association to amend its governing documents, which include the Association’s Articles of Incorporation, Master

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Late Charges and Interest

Q: Is it acceptable for a condominium association to charge a co-owner both late charges and interest on unpaid assessments? Yes. The Michigan Condominium Act, MCL 559.206 (c), authorizes an association to impose late charges on a delinquent co-owner’s account

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Michigan Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of HOA in Short-Term Rental Ban

Short-term rental websites such as AirBNB, Booking.com, FlipKey, HomeAway, Homestay, House Trip, Roomorama, Tripping.com, Trivago, VBRO and VayStays have become an increasing concern for Michigan condominium and homeowner’s associations that are populated by full time residents. The rise of short-term

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What is the bank’s obligation to pay assessments under the Michigan Condominium Act after a foreclosure?

MCL 559.169 allows for a Michigan condominium association to impose assessments against all co-owners in order to pay for the common expenses that are necessary to operate the condominium. When a co-owner fails to pay assessments, it places a strain

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Prohibiting and Handling “Dangerous Animals” in an Association

Pet restrictions are a perennial topic of interest in Michigan and consistently one of the most discussed, debated and reviewed provisions in the condominium bylaws. For example, some condominium bylaws prohibit “dangerous animals” from being brought to the condominium or

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How to handle unauthorized co-owner modifications to the common elements (MI)

Michigan condominium associations are often forced to deal with co-owners that are unfamiliar with condominium living, or in some instances, are not even aware that they live in a condominium that is governed by a master deed, bylaws or rules

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HB 4503 and SB 329: Recent Skirmishes Regarding Short-Term Rentals and Their Effect on Community Associations

Tourism is a major part of the Michigan economy and its significance continues to grow. From 2010 through 2014 tourism employment growth even outpaced overall state employment growth. Further, for each month between 2015 and 2017, Michigan’s visitor occupancy rate

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The Difference Between General and Limited Common Elements in Traditional and Site Condominiums in Michigan

In Michigan, condominiums consist of either units or common elements. Common elements are further subdivided into two categories: general common elements and limited common elements. Under most Michigan condominium documents, the difference between general common elements and limited common elements

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Court rules that Michigan HOA cannot collect assessments after restrictive covenant expires

In Deghetto v Beaumont’s Seven Harbors White and Duck Lack Association, issued June 22, 2017 (Docket No. 330972) (Unpublished Opinion), the Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that a homeowners’ association could not continue to collect assessments after the restrictive

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Security Cameras in Michigan Condominium Projects

Whether inside a grocery store, at a gas station or even in your neighborhood, security cameras are everywhere in modern society. As technology evolves and cheaper and better cameras come onto the market each year, Michigan condominiums are experiencing an

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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Keep your Condominium Association current!

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity throughout the United States and create unique challenges for Michigan condominium associations, especially those that were created before electric vehicles were even contemplated. Experts project that by 2040, at least thirty-five percent of all

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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

House Bill 5980 would amend …. the Michigan Condominium Act, and require that all disputes between co-owners and/or the Association, including those that involve the interpretation of the condominium documents, be submitted to mediation

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

Such deed restrictions are clearly unenforceable as a racial discrimination and have no place in today’s society

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The Michigan Condominium Act: Time for a Change

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 various stakeholders as it is outdated and disorganize

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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 condominium associations

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Are You Observing Constitutional Rights in Disciplinary Hearings?

So, what exactly does “procedural due process” mean? In 1975, Judge Henry Friendly’s article Some Kind of Hearing was published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, which remains the modern legal standard for procedural due process. It comprises the following:

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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

The Court held that Defendant’s camper is a motor vehicle registered with the Secretary of State.

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