Key Rulings for Condominium Associations in Square Lake Hills Association v Russel Garland and Highlander Group MMC, Inc. (MI)

On March 23, 2023, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided several important issues in favor of Michigan condominium associations. In Square Lake Hills Association v Russel Garland and Highlander Group MMC, Inc et al, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, (Docket No. 360405), the Court of Appeals made the following rulings:   Read the article…………………………….

HOA Transitions from Declarant to Homeowner Controlled Boards

Transitioning an association from a developer-controlled Board to a homeowner-controlled Board can be a complex process with various challenges. However, with careful planning and execution, it can be a smooth and successful endeavor. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps and considerations for the newly elected HOA Board members to ensure a seamless transition,  […]

How to Fix the Roads in your Condo or HOA: Increase Assessments or A Special Assessment District? (MI)

The majority of new residential condominium and subdivision developments in the State of Michigan are established with private roads. When a new condominium project or subdivision is established with private roads, the roads are typically identified as a “common element” or a “common area” and are owned collectively by all members of the applicable condominium […]

MCL 599.211: Who Is on the Hook for Those Unpaid Assessments? (MI)

Imagine this. After weeks, months, or maybe even years of searching, you finally found the condo unit of your dreams and have decided to make it your own. There’s only one issue—unpaid condo association assessments on the unit. Fear not, the Michigan Condo Act provides clarity on matters of this sort.   Read the article…………………………….

Court Rules that Restrictive Covenant Banning Sex Offenders is Enforceable

Can your HOA’s restrictive covenants or condominium documents ban sex offenders? The ability to ban sex offenders from homeowners associations has become a controversial issue in recent years. Until recently, many attorneys across the country believed that some type of ban on sex offenders was permissible. This was largely based on a New Jersy case, […]

The 2018 Amendment to the Michigan Marketable Record Title Act Goes Into Effect on March 29, 2024: Does Your HOA or Condo Association Need to Record a Notice?

Michigan’s Marketable Record Title Act, MCL 565.101, et seq. (the “MRTA”), has been around since 1945, yet many homeowners associations are unaware of the MRTA and its potentially devastating impact on their communities. This article provides a brief background on the MRTA and its 2018 amendment that opened the door to the possible extinguishment of restrictive covenants […]

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: A New Era of Transparency for Homeowners

In a significant shift towards transparency, Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association, has recently announced that it will make its once-secret “Condo Unavailable Projects and Phases Report” accessible to the public. The decision to make this report publicly available reflects a broader industry trend towards transparency, acknowledging the pivotal role that information plays in […]

Deck the Halls, Mind the Rules: Navigating Association Decorations Restrictions with Holiday Cheer (MI)

‘Tis the season to stow away the skeletons, pumpkins, and witches, and usher in the festive spirit with twinkling lights, wreaths, and snowmen. As the allure of multicolored lights and decorations brightens the early darkness, residents of condominium associations need to align their festive expressions with community rules. For association boards and property managers, enforcing […]

Navigating the CTA: A Guide for Condos and HOAs to comply with the Corporate Transparency Act (MI)

The Corporate Transparency Act is a federal law that was enacted in 2021 to stop individuals in foreign countries from illegally moving money into the United States. The Corporate Transparency Act creates new reporting requirements for certain types of corporate entities in the United States. The Federal Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), is the federal agency […]

Can A Michigan Condominium Association Collect Attorney Fees for Bylaw Violations?

In Michigan, the responsibility for attorney fees and costs in litigation typically lies with the parties involved. Following the ‘American rule,’ attorney fees are not recoverable unless expressly allowed by statute, court rule, common-law exception, or contract. Dessart v. Burak, 470 Mich. 37, 42, 678 N.W.2d 615 (2004); Grace v. Grace, 253 Mich.App. 357, 370–371, […]

What Every Condo or HOA Needs To Know About Emotional Support Animals (MI)

Over the last several years, emotional support animals have been a continuous source of speculation and confusion for many Michigan condo and HOA boards. We all have seen the news stories of individuals attempting to bring animals such as squirrels and even alligators into places of public accommodation under the claim that they are emotional […]

What You Need to Know About Handling Conflicts of Interest on Your Michigan Condo Board

A condominium association is governed by its board of directors. In Michigan, it is common that members of a board of directors are uncompensated volunteers. It is also common that co-owners elect board members who have a particular set of skills or knowledge relevant to running a condominium, whether that be knowledge of accounting, construction, […]

Michigan Condominium Act Amendments: Enhancing Financial Transparency and Security for Condo Associations

In an effort to strengthen the financial stability of condominium associations in Michigan, the state legislature has introduced a bill to amend the Condominium Act of 1978. This amendment, specifically targeting section 105 (MCL 559.205), aims to enhance the financial accountability and security of condo associations across the state.   Read the article……………………………

Condominium Association Funds and Capital Projects: Walsh v Hawthorn Hills Owners of Rochester, Inc. (MI)

Boards of Directors of community associations are often charged with the responsibility of maintaining the capital assets of the corporation and administering the community itself. This responsibility involves difficult decisions regarding the spending and raising of association funds, especially when it comes to capital improvement projects.    Read the article…………………………….

Is Your Community Association Prepared for the Corporate Transparency Act? (MI)

Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) in January 2021 to provide law enforcement agencies with further tools to combat financial crime and fraud. The CTA requires certain legal entities (each, a “reporting company”) to report, if no exemption is available, specific information about themselves, certain of their individual owners and managers (“beneficial owners”), and […]

The Impact Of The Corporate Transparency Act On Condominium Associations, Homeowners Associations, And Management Companies

In a world where transparency and accountability have become paramount in both public and private sectors, the U.S. government has taken significant steps to address financial secrecy and prevent illicit activities through the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA, signed into law in January 2021, is primarily aimed at increasing transparency in […]

New Proposed Michigan Bill Will Require Condominiums Conduct Reserve Studies

HB 5019 is a new bill pending in the Michigan House that will require condominium associations in the state to conduct periodic reserve studies to help plan for future repairs and replacements. The Community Associations Institute’s Michigan Legal Action Committee fully supports this bill and is undertaking efforts to gain legislative support.   Read the article………………………………

Slip & Fall Case at the Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) will hear oral arguments in 12 cases on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, and Thursday, November 9, 2023, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on both days in the 6th floor courtroom at the Michigan Hall of Justice at 925 W. Ottawa, Lansing.  Oral arguments will be livestreamed from the MSC website.  Wednesday, November […]

HB 5028: Solar Energy Bill And Michigan’s Community Associations

The Homeowners’ Energy Policy Act was recently introduced in the Michigan State Legislature as HB 5028. This bill would force community associations to accept installation of energy-saving devices like clothes lines, heat pumps, insulation, rain barrels, reflective roofing, efficient appliances and windows, electric vehicle charging equipment, etc.   Read the article……………………………….

How To Deal With The Rogue Board Member (MI)

The Board of Directors is charged with making the important decisions of the association. Whether it’s hiring a management company to deal with the day-to-day affairs of the association or making the tough decision to pass an additional assessment to cover the cost of an improvement, the actions of the Board affect every member of […]

Red Flags in Green Legislation: SB 558 and HB 5028 may ban Michigan HOA’s from regulating Solar Panels and other Energy Saving Improvements

The Michigan legislature has recently introduced two bills that would limit the ability of condominium and homeowners associations to exercise architectural control authority within their communities related to energy-saving improvements. SB 558 was introduced on October 4, 2023, and it may prohibit certain Michigan community associations from banning solar panels, except in cases where the […]

Til Death Do Us Part, Or Do We?: Collecting Community Association Assessments from a Deceased Owner in Michigan

As the population of their communities age, Community Associations will be faced with the question of who is responsible for payment of Association assessments when an Owner passes away. This article examines the various scenarios when an Owner passes away and the steps an Association should and can take to recover unpaid assessments.    Read the […]

Master-Planned Communities Associations vs. Sub Master Associations: Understanding the Differences

Master-planned communities are large housing developments that typically feature various neighborhoods, sub-divisions, recreational facilities, amenities, and possibly multiple builders. They also usually represent a blend of lifestyle, convenience, and quality living, offering residents a variety of housing options.    Read the article……………………………..

Should Your Condo Association Allow Ring Doorbell Cameras? (MI)

For better or for worse, we live in a society where security cameras are everywhere. With the rise of technology companies such as Amazon and Google, security cameras are now available to the average consumers. For under $200.00, anyone can now buy a doorbell camera that can record high-definition video (day or night) and audio […]

Guidelines for Preparing Your Association Budget

Preparing an annual budget is essential for the financial stability of community associations. However, not all associations know how to effectively create an association budget. To help you with this task, here are some guidelines that will make preparing your budget a straightforward process:   Read the article………………………..

Reconsidering The “Open And Obvious” Doctrine: Implications Of The Michigan Supreme Court’s Landmark Decision

In a significant ruling that affects property owners throughout the state, including Michigan’s community associations, the Michigan Supreme Court substantially altered premises liability law. On July 28, 2023, the Court ruled in the cases of Kandil-Elsayed v. F & E Oil, Inc. and Pinsky v. Kroger, overturning the long-established “open and obvious” doctrine.   Read the […]

Enhancing Community Safety and Financial Planning: New Reserve Study Standards

Community Associations play a vital role in managing and maintaining the shared assets of their members. However, ensuring the safety and longevity of these properties requires meticulous planning and budgeting. In response to the tragic incident at Champlain Towers South, the Community Associations Institute (CAI) has taken decisive steps to promote safer and financially sound […]

What your Condo Association Needs to Know About the New Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Lending Guidelines

The Surfside condominium collapse led to significant reform in the condominium lending industry. In Lender Letter LL-2021-14, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac implemented temporary lending guidelines in 2021 for condominium purchasers that desired to secure a mortgage as was previously discussed in Prepare your Condo for the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Lending Requirements. […]

Primer on Fines and Suspension in Covenant Enforcement

Enforcing violations in a community association can be cumbersome, contentious and unneighborly. Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, the association may be able to exercise self-help and cure a violation such as overgrown grass. Alternatively, in severe situations, the association may be forced to pursue an emergency injunction.   Read the article………………………..

Is a Michigan Condo or HOA Liable for Criminal Acts of Third-Parties?

Whether there is an increase in violent crime or an increase in reporting and coverage of crime, it seems that our lives are constantly being inundated and interrupted with reports of violent activities. Your home is your castle, your safe space. But imagine the worst-case scenario where a crime occurs and that sense of safety […]

Can You Pay Directors and Officers of a Michigan Condominium or Homeowners Association?

It is common for a condominium association’s master deed and bylaws or a homeowners association’s declaration to address compensating board members. Usually, such a provision will either expressly disallow any compensation or only allow compensation if approved by a specified percentage of the community association’s members. Apart from the general notion that board members should […]

Your Accountant Wants You To Know About Section 57 Of The Condo Act (MI)

Condominium associations with annual revenues exceeding $20,000.00 should take specific note that Section 57(2) of the Michigan Condominium Act provides that an independent certified public accountant must perform an annual review or audit of the association’s financial documents, including its books, records, contracts, and financial statements.    Read the article………………………..

Delayed Decisions On Accommodation Requests Lead To Trouble

A recent federal court decision in U.S. v. The Dorchester Owners Association, No. 20-1396 (E.D. Penn. Jan. 25, 2023), is instructive as to how boards of directors can put their associations at risk when they fail to make timely final decisions on accommodation requests or impose unreasonable conditions in granting those requests. In this case, […]

How to Address E-Bike Fire Risks in Community Associations (MI)

E-bikes have become a widely used means of transportation in the United States, especially in metropolitan areas. There are a number of advantages to e-bikes, including their ease of use, affordability, and the reduced amount of carbon emissions as an alternative to gas-powered vehicles. E-bikes can make large portions of a metropolitan area accessible in […]

Your Accountant Wants You To Know About Section 57 Of The Condo Act (MI)

Condominium associations with annual revenues exceeding $20,000.00 should take specific note that Section 57(2) of the Michigan Condominium Act provides that an independent certified public accountant must perform an annual review or audit of the association’s financial documents, including its books, records, contracts, and financial statements. Specifically, Section 57 provides as follows:    Read the article………………………..

HOA Board Member Roles

As a homeowner in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA), commonly referred to as a Community Association, you may be curious about the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors are elected by the association members to serve as their representatives and make decisions on behalf of the […]

Underfunded Reserves? How your Condominium Association Can Qualify for a Community Association Loan (MI)

Nearly 2 years after the Surfside collapse, the New York Times recently reported that a 35-unit condominium in North Bay Village, Florida was ordered to be evacuated after an engineer deemed the condominium to be structurally unsound. The engineering report provided to North Bay Village officials indicated that the Majestic Isle Condominium had serious structural […]

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

At times, serving on an association board can leave members feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. To keep an association operating smoothly, board members must continually address both new and timeworn challenges with vision, diplomacy, efficiency and financial ingenuity.   Read the article………………………..

Michigan Court Rules Condo Association Did Not Wrongfully Foreclose

A necessary component of running a functional condo association is the collection of delinquent maintenance assessments. While many condo associations can yield account resolution through a demand letter and/or recording a lien against the unit, some delinquent accounts may require the initiation of foreclosure, which is provided for by Michigan Condominium Act, MCL 559.101, et […]

Delayed Decisions On Accommodation Requests Lead To Trouble

A recent federal court decision in U.S. v. The Dorchester Owners Association, No. 20-1396 (E.D. Penn. Jan. 25, 2023), is instructive as to how boards of directors can put their associations at risk when they fail to make timely final decisions on accommodation requests or impose unreasonable conditions in granting those requests.  Read the article………………………..

Michigan Court of Appeals Reaffirms that Right to Construct “Need Not Be Built” Units Can Be Lost Under MCL 559.167

Since 2016, one particular section within the Michigan Condominium Act has been the source of repeated litigation in Michigan trial and appellate courts – Section 67, or MCL 559.167. When initially enacted, MCL 559.167 was designed to curtail the problem of Michigan condominium projects that began construction but, for one reason or another, never ended […]

Real Property — Water leak — Condominium (MI)

The owner of a condominium unit asserted claims for breach of contract and negligence arising from damages to his unit from a water leak and the condominium association’s refusal to allow him to store a boat on the condominium premises; he failed to establish a question of fact whether the leak resulted from a breach […]

Should your Condo or HOA use ChatGPT to reduce legal expenses? (MI)

A recent survey by the Community Associations Institute’s Foundation for Community Research reported that 91% of community association managers and HOA board members reported seeing unexpected increases in operating expenses due to inflation. While cost increases are inevitable, it appears that condominium and homeowners associations are dealing with the increased expenses in different ways.    Read […]