Alert to Business Owners: New Law Requires Disclosure of Information

In 2021, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act, 31 U.S.C. Section 5336 (the “Act”) which requires the reporting and collection of beneficial ownership information for applicable entities. Beneficial ownership information refers to identifying information about the individuals who directly or indirectly own or control a company.   Read the article………………………………

Helping Your Association With Vendor Management

When working with your community association, vendor management needs to take center stage to ensure the smooth operation of vital services like landscaping, maintenance, and security. Your role as a community member entails overseeing these essential functions. By effectively managing vendors, you guarantee that your community thrives     Read the article………………………………….

Annual Meeting Time: Making a Case for Assessments Increase (MN)

Proper financial planning is the bedrock of every community association’s sustainability. It ensures that the association can continue to provide essential services, maintain property values, and enhance the overall quality of life for its residents. One critical aspect of financial planning is the periodic assessment of whether it’s necessary to increase dues. In this blog, […]

Can our Association Restrict or Prohibit Solar Panels? (MN)

Until very recently, the answer to this question was a resounding “YES”. However, legislation that was recently passed in Minnesota will change the way that some associations look at solar panels and solar energy. This change to Minnesota Statutes was intended to promote the use of solar energy as well as provide homeowners with the […]

Tips to Set Up Your Community Association Budget for Success (MN)

As a community association board member or property manager, you know that effective budgeting is vital for your community to function smoothly. Your budget serves as a financial plan, outlining anticipated revenues and expenses and guiding day-to-day operations, long-term planning, and decision-making. Check out some frequently asked questions and best practices for a well-structured budget!  […]

Updates to MCIOA Homeowners Associations Need to Know About: Part III (MN)

As discussed in earlier in this series, there were some significant changes to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B, commonly known as the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”) adopted in the recent session of the Minnesota legislature. Part I focused on the ability to assess attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in conjunction with a homeowner’s violation […]

What Homeowners Associations Need To Know About Decriminalization of Cannabis in Minnesota Part III: Prohibitions on Use of Cannabis in Multi-Family Buildings

The decriminalization of adult use and sale of cannabis will have a significant impact on Minnesotans, including those who live in homeowners associations. Part I of this article provided a broad overview of what the decriminalization means for associations. Part II focused on nuisance claims and the potential consequences for associations responding to such claims. […]

What Homeowners Associations Need To Know About Decriminalization of Cannabis in Minnesota Part III: Prohibitions on Use of Cannabis in Multi-Family Buildings

The decriminalization of adult use and sale of cannabis will have a significant impact on Minnesotans, including those who live in homeowners associations. Part I of this article provided a broad overview of what the decriminalization means for associations. Part II focused on nuisance claims and the potential consequences for associations responding to such claims. […]

Updates to MCIOA Homeowners Associations Need to Know About: Part II (MN)

As discussed in Part I of this series, there were some significant changes adopted in the recent session of the Minnesota legislature affecting Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B, commonly known as the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”). Part I focused on the ability to assess attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in conjunction with a homeowner’s […]

Updates to MCIOA Homeowners Associations Need to Know About: Part I (MN)

Tucked into a “kitchen sink” bill were some significant changes to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B, commonly known as the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”) focused on collection of attorneys’ fees and costs in collection matters, and specific disclosures that must be made in violation notices. We’ll take a look at these changes over the […]

What Homeowners Associations Need to Know About Decriminalization of Cannabis in Minnesota Part II: Use of Cannabis Defined as a Nuisance

The decriminalization of adult use and sale of cannabis will have a significant impact on Minnesotans, including those who live in homeowners associations. Part I of this article provided a broad overview of what the decriminalization means for associations. Part II focuses on nuisance claims and the potential consequences for associations responding to such claims.  […]

Updates to MCIOA Homeowners Associations Need to Know About: Part I (MN)

The regular session of the 93rd Legislature of Minnesota was a busy one! The legislature passed laws adopting paid sick leave and family/medical leave, declaring certain noncompete agreements unenforceable, and establishing paid breakfast and lunch for all Minnesota’s K-12 students.   Read the article………………………..

Sharing Community Financials

As a community association board member or manager, you are ultimately responsible for managing the finances of a business – your community. The association members are all stakeholders in that business, so sharing financial information with them is essential to building and maintaining trust and credibility.   Read the article………………………..

Justices remand homeowners association covenant case (MN)

Ambiguous language in restrictive land use covenants can now be interpreted by consulting extrinsic evidence. In Windcliff Association, Inc. v. Aaron Breyfogle, Et al., decided April 19, the Minnesota Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the district court for a jury to determine the meaning of the restrictive covenant.   Read the article………………………..

Community Associations and Tax Returns – Yes, You Need to File!

You may have heard rumors that because your community association is a non-profit organization, you are not required to file a tax return. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Even though your association may not owe any taxes, you still need to file federal and state (as applicable) tax returns.  Read the article………………………..

Updating Your Association’s Governing Documents: An Overview (MN)

The decision to amend a community association’s governing documents begins with an understanding of the community association and its governing documents; progresses through the formulation of goals for any new documents, identified based on weaknesses in or issues with the existing governing documents; and ends with an understanding of the amendment process required to accomplish […]

Where to Find What and Tips on Amending Governing Documents

Community associations are controlled by a set of governing documents. The three main governing documents are the Declaration, the association’s Articles of Incorporation and its Bylaws. The governing documents relate to the community association in its dual role as a non-profit corporation and a community association (with restrictive covenants, conditions and easements controlling the real […]

Balancing the Need for Privacy vs. Transparency

Homeowners’ associations are established for the benefit of all of the owners and residents within the community. A board of directors that is charged with managing the affairs of the association has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the association as a whole. Part of that duty entails being open and […]

Minnesota Supreme Court asks: What’s an action?

A homeowners’ association in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park served its insurance company with a summons and complaint in 2019, on the last possible day to commence a suit seeking coverage for damage done by a 2017 hail storm. The insurance company, Hiscox Insurance, responded with an answer shortly afterward, but the association did […]

Can They Change the Rules Like That? A Look at Amendment of HOA Restrictions

It is very common for subdivisions and planned communities to be governed by homeowners’ associations – often referred to as “HOAs”. The lots in these subdivisions are also typically subject to covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CCRs”) contained in the “declarations” that invest the HOAs with the power to govern those communities. Homeowners in these communities […]

Good Neighbors Make Good Fences: A Neighborly Approach to Shared Amenities

They say, “Good fences make good neighbors,” but I would posit that good neighbors make good fences.  Many associations share fences, pools, driveways and sometimes even buildings. While many shared amenities are subject to easement agreements or covenants that describe what each association’s rights and responsibilities are, those agreements – if they do exist – […]

Know Your Boundaries: A Guide to Understanding Unit Boundaries in an HOA (MN)

We all know that community association living means shared walls and common areas, but how many homeowners truly understand where the boundary lies between their unit and whatever is on the other side? Understanding and knowing where the unit boundaries are and what is and is not part of an owner’s unit is essential to […]

Know Your Boundaries: A Guide to Understanding Unit Boundaries in an HOA (MN)

We all know that community association living means shared walls and common areas, but how many homeowners truly understand where the boundary lies between their unit and whatever is on the other side? Understanding and knowing where the unit boundaries are and what is and is not part of an owner’s unit is essential to […]

Proxy, Proxy, Who Needs a Proxy? A Primer on the Use of Proxies in Associations (MN)

Recently, I had a conversation with the president of an association about an upcoming Board meeting that was expected to be contentious. The president casually mentioned that one director would be traveling internationally for work and would not be able to attend the meeting—”but it’s OK, we have her proxy.”  Cue the sound of tires screeching […]

Proxy, Proxy, Who Needs a Proxy? A Primer on the Use of Proxies in Associations (MN)

Recently, I had a conversation with the president of an association about an upcoming Board meeting that was expected to be contentious. The president casually mentioned that one director would be traveling internationally for work and would not be able to attend the meeting—”but it’s OK, we have her proxy.”  Read the entire article……………………………….

Weeding Out Marijuana in Your HOA (MN)

There has been a lot of talk in the past few years about the possibility of Minnesota legalizing recreational marijuana. While this has not happened yet, Minnesota has taken another step in that direction by legalizing medicinal marijuana in all forms. Effective no later than March 1, 2022, Minnesotans will be able to use medicinal […]

Dine In, Take Out: Can Board Members Socialize? (MN)

Over the past week, I have had several association presidents contact me to ask if it is permissible for directors to socialize outside of Board meetings. On one case, the president and two new directors have been close friends for over a decade, and meet for lunch monthly. In another, the Board wanted to host […]

Who is Responsible for Assessments when a Homeowner Passes Away? (MN)

The American population is getting older. It is an unfortunate aspect of life, however, aging is one of life’s few certainties. The United States Census Bureau estimates nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be age 65 or older by 2030. This is somewhere in the realm of 70 million people. The Foundation for Community Association […]

Tips from Your HOA: How to Choose a Vendor for Your Maintenance Projects (MN)

For the most part, the idea of actual “maintenance free living” in a homeowners association is just that – an idea. In reality, people living in associations still have some maintenance responsibilities. When it comes time to perform maintenance on your home, here are some tips from the association’s perspective to keep in mind:    Read […]

A Breath of Fresh Air: Banning Smoking in Homeowners Associations (MN)

Smoking is a controversial issue within homeowners’ associations. Members who have owned their units for years proclaim their right to smoke just as they always have, while other owners object to the smell and adverse health effects. Because of the universally-recognized health hazards of second and third-hand smoke, associations across the country have begun regulating […]

Open Meeting Requirements – do they apply to Committees? (MN)

Under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”), which governs essentially all associations formed on or after June 1, 1994[1], as well as older condominiums and any older townhome or cooperative associations that have amended their governing documents to “opt in” to MCIOA, meetings of the board of directors must be open to the members, […]

“You Can’t Make Me!” Vaccination Considerations for HOA Boards and Common Interest Communities (MN)

COVID-19 vaccines are now readily available to any Minnesotan who wishes to be inoculated. In fact, Minnesota is one of the most highly-vaccinated states, with approximately 45% of the state population fully vaccinated at the beginning of May 2021. With the widespread availability of the vaccine, it is important for common interest communities and homeowners’ […]

What Records Must the Association Keep? For How Long? (MN)

The snow has finally melted. Flower beds are exploding with color. The sunny days aren’t quite so rare. The next item on your to-do list is “Clean boxes out of garage.” You take a deep breath and open the first box: association records. The second box: association records. Third box…Ugh!! Do you really have to […]

Is your HOA in Compliance with Fair Housing Laws? (MN)

April is National Fair Housing Month. What a great time to review your association’s rules, policies and procedures to make sure you are in compliance with state and national fair housing laws, which prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of a person’s membership in one or more of the protected classes.  Read the entire article……………………………….

Short-Term Rental Restrictions Gaining Popularity in Minnesota

Over the past few years, short-term rentals – often vacation rentals through sites like Airbnb.com, vrbo.com, and HomeAway.com – have become extremely popular. For the short-term tenants, it’s an easy way to get lovely accommodations, generally in less-commercially-focused areas of a town or city. For the short-term landlord, it’s another “side hustle” that has become […]

Who Pays for Repairs When Ice Dams Cause Damage to a Unit? (MN)

In Minnesota, we often run into issues with ice dams on homes. Ice dams form when snow and ice on the roof melt and then refreeze at the edges and on the gutters, causing large dams of ice to build up along the edge of the roof. This, in turn, prevents melting snow from properly […]

COVID-19: Can Your Homeowner Association Conduct Virtual Board and Member Meetings? (MN)

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people never made use of the built-in cameras in their laptops, tablets and cell phones. Now, the world has changed. It seems that everyone is using video capabilities and connecting remotely, whether it is for social, family or work events. So, what about your homeowner association?   Read the article……………………………………

Can a Director Take a Leave of Absence from the Board of Directors? (MN)

Recently, the president of an association asked me how her association’s Board of Directors should deal with quorum and voting when there are five directors and two are on a leave of absence from the Board for a couple months. I try not to interrupt my clients when they are speaking (with only modest success, […]

Homeowner Association Management Agreements: The Top Ten Issues

As legal counsel to a large number of homeowner associations, we are often asked to review management agreements proposed by association management companies. This article examines the top legal issues that we regularly see in management agreements with homeowner associations. Your board of directors should always consult with experienced legal counsel prior to entering into […]

Did you know that Owner Bankruptcy Filings Do Not Discharge Association Assessments or Pre-Petition Liens?

During these challenging economic times, many owners are failing to pay assessments and may even threaten to file, or actually file for bankruptcy protection. Many associations mistakenly believe that unit assessments are fully discharged when an owner files for bankruptcy protection. Pursuant to Section 523 (a) (16) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (cited as 11 […]

COVID-19, Chapter 3: Re-opening Amenities of an Association (MN)

On June 5, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-74, which outlined parameters regarding the gradual re-opening of various facilities, including pools and fitness centers. This post updates my prior post on the topic.  Under Order 20-74, all pools and fitness centers may open, but only in accordance with the guidance outlined on the Stay […]

COVID-19, Phase 3: Re-opening Amenities of an Association (MN)

On June 5, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-74, which outlined parameters regarding the gradual re-opening of various facilities, including pools and fitness centers. This post updates my prior post on the topic.     Read the article……………………………