Can a co-owner withhold assessment payments if they are dissatisfied with their condominium association?

Condominium assessments are the lifeblood of any condominium association. A condominium association cannot function and provide essential services to co-owners unless assessments are collected. Unfortunately, dissatisfied co-owners often threaten to escrow or withhold assessments as a means to get what they want. Examples of situations where co-owners commonly threaten to withhold assessments and/or withhold assessments […]

Access Denied! . . . Or is it? The Condominium Association’s Right to Request Entry to a Unit to Inspect for Default

An association of co-owners within a condominium project is responsible for enforcing the condominium project’s master deed, bylaws and any rules and regulations. In many instances, the association will be able to determine whether an alleged violation warrants a declaration of default as soon as the allegations are brought to its attention. At times, however, […]

Michigan Land Division Act (HOA’s)

Act 288 of 1967 AN ACT to regulate the division of land; to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare; to further the orderly layout and use of land; to require that the land be suitable for building sites and public improvements and that there be adequate drainage of the land; to provide for […]

Condominium and Planned Unit Developments in Michigan: Creating the Potential for Walkable Towns and Cities

Michigan utilizes a variety of land use laws and the delegation of certain authority to local governments to regulate the development and use of land while also fostering creativity and innovation among developers and local governments. Condominium Developments and Planned Unit Developments are two different types of approaches which can be used together to create […]

What can and can’t I do in my homeowners association?

Homeowners associations are generally referred to as community associations or common interest communities – terms that include residential subdivisions and condominium developments. The common thread across terms is a residential development that includes deed restrictions on individual lots or units that limit the use of property and often create shared rights to communal facilities and […]

When and How to Amend Your Michigan Condominium Documents (Part One: When to Amend)

Michigan condominium associations are governed by various documents: the Articles of Incorporation, the Master Deed, the Condominium Bylaws, the Association (Corporate) Bylaws and any Rules and Regulations meant to implement the Bylaws. In order to avoid confusion, many condominium attorneys in Michigan combine the Condominium Bylaws and the Association Bylaws into one document, however many […]

Does the Board Have a Duty to Enforce the Master Deed, Bylaws…..As Written?

In Michigan, the terms of a master deed, bylaws or other restrictive covenants are contractual in nature. See Rossow v. Brentwood Farms Dev, Inc, 251 Mich App 652, 658, 651 NW2d 458 (2002). The Michigan Courts have generally held that a master deed, bylaws or other restrictive covenants are to be enforced as written. Specifically, Read […]

Facially Neutral Bylaws/Rules/Regs May Subject an Association to Liability Under the Fair Housing Act

On June 25, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Texas Dep’t of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, __ US __ (2015), a decision that affects community associations throughout the country, including in Michigan. In a surprise to many court observers, the Supreme Court endorsed the disparate impact theory of liability under […]

Seven Instances When a Michigan Condominium Association Requires Mortgagee Approval to Amend

The Michigan Condominium Act, MCL 559.101, et. seq., contains various provisions related to the manner in which a condominium association may amend its master deed, bylaws and condominium subdivision plan (the “Condominium Documents”). Excluding special rules pertaining to developers, under most circumstances an amendment to the Condominium Documents simply requires 2/3 co-owner approval.   Read the […]

How Recent Changes to Periodic Garnishments in Michigan Affect Condominium Collection Practices

The Board of Directors for condominium associations are often faced with delinquent co-owners who fail to pay assessments or fines. Typically, the Association seeks voluntary compliance with the co-owner to obtain payment, but sometimes the Association is forced to pursue a judgment against the delinquent co-owner. If that happens, the Association may pursue collection efforts […]

Is Your MI Condo Assn. Prepared to Handle a Co-owner’s Request to Inspect Its Books and Records?

In Michigan, MCL 559.157 requires that the “…books, records, contracts, and financial statements concerning the administration and operation of the condominium” be available for examination by the co-owners at convenient times. Most condominium documents also contain provisions that require the books and records of a condominium association be made available for inspection by a co-owner. […]

Religious Freedom and Community Associations: How does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Impact Condominium and Homeowner’s Associations?

In 1993, the federal government enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). The purpose of the RFRA was to allow a person to avoid complying with any law that interfered with the exercise of their religious freedom unless there was a compelling governmental interest behind the law and the least restrictive means of furthering that […]

Marijuana in Condominiums: Nuisance and Legal Consequences

Until recently, many co-owners were concerned about secondhand smoke issues relating to tobacco products in the condominium project and how to limit its impact and/or eliminate the smoke entirely. However, attitudes regarding the acceptable use of marijuana are changing. More co-owners are becoming concerned with marijuana use within their condominium project and considering whether reasonable […]

Condominiums and Renters: Does Your Condominium Association Need a Rental Cap?

With the exception of vacation condominiums or condominium hotels, residential condominiums are created with the intention that the co-owners will be owner occupants. However, the glut of foreclosures that occurred from 2007 to 2012 led many investors to purchase condominium units for rental purposes. Moreover, the recovery of the housing market has also led many […]

Lake Associations Beware: Access Lots Pose Liability Issues

Lake associations often have control of lots which permit lake access by back-lot owners. Those lots are typically undeveloped, overgrown and only sporadically maintained.  Most lake associations are  managed by volunteers and have little structure. While that relative informality may be understandable, it can also be costly.     Read more………     Read case (PDF)………

Six Major Revisions to the Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act: Should Your Condominium Association Revise Its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws?

In Michigan, two primary statutes govern the affairs of a condominium association: the Condominium Act and the Nonprofit Corporation Act. The last major revisions to the Nonprofit Corporation Act took place in 2008 through Public Act 9 of 2008, which permitted voting by electronic means, amongst other things. Effective January 15, 2015, Governor Rick Snyder […]

Stripping Community Association Liens in Bankruptcy: Is Your Community at Risk?

As the housing market continues to slowly recover from the foreclosure crisis in Michigan, and other areas of the country, many community associations are still facing significant challenges with unit owners who file for personal bankruptcy. Numerous unit owners are beginning to utilize an old technique, previously used primarily against second mortgages and other junior […]

CAI Best Practices: Ethics

Simply put, when someone is employing ethics, he or she recognizes what is right and what is wrong and is choosing to do the right thing; however, as a great deal of business ethics literature will attest, “the right thing” is not always straightforward. For example, most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply […]

Should Your Michigan Condominium Association Obtain FHA Certification?

The Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) is a government-owned and operated insurance company which was established by the National Housing Act of 1934. FHA insures home loans for buyers who typically cannot afford a conventional down payment. To be clear, FHA does not lend taxpayer money and is not the originator of mortgage loans.     Read […]

MCL 559.157 – Has Your Michigan Condominium Association Had It’s Books, Records and Financial Statements Reviewed By a Certified Public Accountant?

The Michigan Condominium Act was amended in 2014 to impose additional requirements on condominium associations with respect to financial record keeping and encourage transparency. Prior to 2014, the annual audit or review of an association’s books, records and financial statements did not need to be certified.   Read more………

Emotional Support/Companion Animals – Are People Claiming Disabilities to Get Around Pet Restrictions?

In the past 5 years, community living associations, such as condominiums, co-operatives and homeowner associations, are increasingly being inundated with requests for accommodations for emotional support and companion animals. Many board members and co-owners feel that their neighbors are claiming a disability simply to get around pet restrictions in their communities.     Read more………

The Future is Now: Is Your Condominium Association Prepared to Handle these 6 Technological Advances?

The last significant revisions to the Michigan Condominium Act took place in 2001 and 2002. While many Michigan condominium associations have amended their governing documents to address the 2001 and 2002 amendments to the Michigan Condominium Act, those amendments often fail to account for the numerous, recent technological advances which have arisen after those revisions. […]

Transitioning From Developer Control to Non-developer Control Co-owner Control: Five Practical Steps Every Associations Should Take

Every community association in Michigan undergoes a transition or “turnover” phase whereby the control of the community association changes from developer control to owner control. In Michigan, the transition process for condominiums is governed by the Condominium Act, MCL 559.110, et al. Unfortunately, homeowner associations are not included in the Condominium Act and are solely […]

Delinquencies, Collections and the Need for a Collection Policy

Community associations are nonprofit corporations, which are funded solely by dues/assessments paid by members. Unfortunately, when one member fails to pay his or her fair share, the rest of the members must make up the difference. As a matter of equity, it is simply unjust for the other co-owners—who typically have not done anything wrong […]

Free Speech and your Community Association: Will the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling in Dublirer v 2000 Linwood Avenue Owners, Inc impact campaigning in Michigan Condominium Association elections?

In Dublirer v 2000 Linwood Avenue Owners, Inc the New Jersey Supreme Court considered the issue of whether or not an owner in a cooperative had a right to distribute campaign materials in seeking election to the co-op’s board of directors. The Co-Op had a house rule that barred soliciting and distributing any written materials […]

A Board of Directors’ Guide to Resolving Common Element Construction Defects in a Michigan Condominium

Michigan condominium associations are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the general common elements. While many condominium associations budget for repairs and maintenance of the common elements over an extended period of time, most associations are unprepared to address common element construction defects caused by a developer’s inadequate design, use of defective or substandard […]

Michigan Court of Appeals rules that a Governmental Entity is not liable for Condominium Assessments after Tax Foreclosure

In Harbor Watch Condominium Association v Emmet County Treasurer, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Emmet Country Treasurer was not obligated to pay $97,366.09 in condominium assessments, late fees and interest to the Harbor Watch Condominium Association. In 2011, the Emmet County Treasurer acquired 37 units in Harbor Watch after foreclosing on […]

Why Property Managers are Not the Enemy: A Value Proposition

Association Boards, attorneys, accountants, contractors, consultants and, yes, even property managers are integral to the proper function and operation of community associations. Association Boards hire a plethora of services and those individuals and companies should have the same goal:    Read more……….

What Happens if a Sheriff’s Deed is Transferred? Who Pays Association Assessments?

In a recent, unpublished opinion, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the transfer of a purchaser’s interest in property that was acquired through a sheriff’s sale is not governed by Section 111 of the Condominium Act (MCL 559.211), and therefore, the transferee is not required to obtain a written statement of unpaid assessments to […]

We have a sheriff’s deed, but who pays association assessments? (MI)

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that a purchaser pursuant to a sheriff’s sale was responsible for condominium association fees due from and after the date of the sale. In Wells Fargo Bank v Country Place Condominium Association, the bank acquired title by virtue of foreclosing its mortgage on a condominium unit and obtained […]

We Have a Sheriff’s Deed, But Who Pays Association Assessments?

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that a purchaser pursuant to a sheriff’s sale was responsible for condominium association fees due from and after the date of the sale. In Wells Fargo Bank v Country Place Condominium Association, the bank acquired title by virtue of foreclosing its mortgage on a condominium unit and obtained […]