The Garrett’s purchased their property in the HOA in 2001.  The CCR’s required an owner to obtain the approval of the architectural control committee (“ACC”) before doing any construction on the property.  The Garrett’s submitted plans to build a pool in their backyard, but the original plans were rejected by the ACC because the plans “were too vague and because professional plans are required for such a large project.”  The Garrett’s then resubmitted professional plans for the pool only which the ACC approved.  When the Garret’s built the pool, the pool equipment was on the common element and they built far more than just a pool.  The Board sent the Garrett’s a cease-and-desist letter, and after an executive session advised the Garrett’s to move the pool equipment within their property and return the common element to its original condition (they had lowered the height of a fence).  Although Mr. [Brett] Garrett attempted to engage a board member in a conversation, the board member advised that “he would not meet with the Garretts … [and that he] would discuss the matter only in the company of the board at a proper meeting.”  In reality, the Garret’s project “had blossomed into a complete backyard renovation with retaining walls, stairs, a drainage system, patio pavers, and planter beds,” none of which were part of the approved plan. Continue Reading Building in HOA Common Area – MUCH More Costly Than Owner Thought (Because of Association Attorney Fees)

Two of the three lot owners in a subdivision had a dispute over a driveway easement and boat slips.  Lot 2 was contracted to be sold first and it included a driveway easement on Lot 1 and Slip A (the one with the boat lift).  When Lot 2 was deeded, however, Slip C was on the deed (no boat lift).  Lot 2 used Slip A, but when Lot 1 was later sold, that deed stated Slip A.  Despite what was on the deeds, after Lot 1 was sold its owner used Slip C, as he was apparently aware of the error on the Lot 2 deed.  Later a dispute broke out over whether the driveway easement was simply for ingress or egress or included the right of Lot 2 to park vehicles on the driveway.  This resulted in Lot 1 filing suit for the court to determine the extent of the driveway easement and who owned which boat slip. Continue Reading Driveway Easement and Boat Slips – Expensive Fighting

2021 Senate Bill 283 is being proposed to create Section 710.20 of the Wisconsin Statute relating to the maintenance and repair of private roads with access easements.  Essentially the bill, if passed into law, would require all persons that have a right to use a private road or driveway to contribute to the maintenance and repair costs.  If the parties have a written agreement as to how the costs should be shared, that written document would control.  In the absence of a written document, or the written document does not address the costs, the costs would be shared based on the amount and intensity of each person’s actual use.  Continue Reading Wisconsin 2021 Senate Bill 283 – Maintenance and Repair of Private Roads

Attorney Daniel Miske recently shared his expertise on a variety of topics with readers of www.HOAleader.com, a resource for HOA and condo board members nationwide.  To read the full articles, click the links below:

Attorney Daniel Miske was recently quoted in a Community Association Management Insider Article, “‘Continuous Operation’ Language Declaration Requires Association to Keep Lift Working“:

Lessons for Community Associations

Associations would be wise to review their governing documents to determine whether the documents impose similar strict obligations.

“If the declaration and bylaws put a duty on an association – which they do — make sure you plan for that duty by either complying or having the document amended to something the association can accomplish,” says Daniel Miske of the Milwaukee, Wis., law firm Husch Blackwell LLP. “In the Indiana case, an emergency back-up generator might have been required considering the use of the word ‘continuous.’”

To read the full article click HERE.

Please join Husch Blackwell’s Condominium & HOA Law Team on September 17, 2021 as we outline some frequently encountered legal challenges and issues that can prove time-consuming and costly when mishandled.

Topics

  • Condominium legal document review
  • Collections from a debtor’s perspective
  • Handling disruptive unit owners and residents
  • Arbitration
  • Hoarders and foreclosures
  • Rentals and smoking
  • Construction issues]

Continue Reading Association Academy: If it Weren’t for the People, Association Living Would be Perfect

Many of you may have seen the June 7, 2021, Milwaukee Sentinel story about a Milwaukee area home that was flying two flags: one the US flag and the second a Pride flag.  According to the story, the owners were told to take down the Pride flag because the association only allowed the US flag.  The residents, one of whom was a board member, “decided to adhere to the rules and take the flag down” but then installed “a bright display of rainbow-colored Pride lights to highlight the house.”  The story tells us that the residents had no intent to become adversarial, that they “don’t feel targeted or attacked in [their] community” but rather to illustrate with humor ways to get around rules. Continue Reading Seeing Injustice is Easy – Solving Problems is HARD

Thank you to all who attended our virtual Association Academy on May 26 – Condo and HOA Zoning, Cyber Crimes, Fine Collection, and Emotional Support Animals.  No need to worry if you missed it, we recorded it for you, and you can access at any time.

To view the recording click HERE as we review fine collection, common zoning regulations and practices, the importance of cyber insurance, and recent updates from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on emotional support animals.

Facts

Plaintiffs are property owners in what were originally three separate planned communities known as Mystic Lands.  Defendants are the developer/declarant and its sole shareholder, Shinitzky.  In October of 2006 the Plaintiff and his wife entered into a contract with declarant to purchase Lot 28 in Mystic Ridge.  The Property Information Sheet stated “the streets throughout Mystic Ridge are private and shall be maintained by the … Association.  The initial capital expense for the streets, including the asphalt, shall be bourne (sic) by the Developer.”  Shinitzky said this statement represented the intention of the Developer and that other similar representations meant “asphalt paved roads.”  However the deed described the lot by reference to the plat which stated “ALL INTERIOR ROADS ARE 14’ GRAVEL.”  Developer did pave some of the roads in Mystic Ridge as the development progressed, but in 2013, for the first time, Shinitzky stated in a Property Disclosure Statement that the roads “would be gravel.” Continue Reading Developers/Declarants Breached Contract by Failing to Pave Roads

Facts

In 2016, a Master Association adopted seven amendments to its declaration.  The amendments addressed the Master Association’s authority to approve proposed uses of certain buildings, increased assessments on them, and imposed additional restrictions on those buildings’ tenants.  In response, the building’s prior owner (“Building Owner”) filed suit against the Master Association and eight individual directors and officers, seeking six forms of relief: (1) a declaratory judgment concerning the legality of the amendments; (2) damages for tortious interference with a business relationship; (3) damages for breach of fiduciary duty; (4) an accounting; (5) a temporary injunction; and (6) a permanent injunction. Continue Reading Amendments to Condominium Documents MUST be Reasonable to be Valid