Need to Know:

  1. Unit Owners and association members often say mean and rude things about Board members, even though those Board Members are volunteers. 
  2. For a Board Member to have a viable claim for defamation the Board member must recognize that the courts view them as limited public figures, which means they MUST be able to allege and prove that.
    • The defendant published a false and defamatory statement about the plaintiff, and
    • The statement was made with actual malice, i.e., with knowledge the statements were false or with what amounts to conscious disregard of their falsity.
Continue Reading Defamation Claims by Directors and Officers Against Members – What you Need to Know

Facts:

The plaintiffs, the Channons, planned to sell their condominium unit.  The Illinois Condominium Property Act required them to obtain specific disclosure documents from the Association or its agent prior to a sale, and to provide them to potential buyers on request.  The Channons then entered into a “standard sales contract” with a potential buyer who asked for the disclosures.  The Channons obtained the disclosures from the property manager, Westward Management, for a fee of $245.  After obtaining the disclosures, the Channons filed a class-action lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that the property manager charged “unreasonable fees for the statutorily required documents” and that the property managers conduct “violated the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (“Fraud Act”).”

Continue Reading Fee Limits for Statutory Mandated Documents – How Much Can the Association Charge?

As we approach the new year, Husch Blackwell’s Condominium & HOA Law Team is excited to launch a fresh new approach to our Association Academy. Join us for the first installment of our new series, Lunch with Lawyers, as we dive into legal trends to watch in 2023. Grab your lunch, log in and set the stage for a successful 2023.

Continue Reading Association Academy | Lunch with Lawyers: Legal Trends to Watch in 2023

We are excited to announce a new format for our Association Academies in 2023: Lunch with Lawyers.  Although we will miss seeing you in person, we are excited to see you virtually. This new format will be more interactive, with plenty of time for Q&A.  Luncheons will be held every other month from noon to 1:00.  Save the dates and start planning for 2023.  Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you.

Lunch with Lawyers 2023 Program Dates
Save the dates below for upcoming programs in 2023. Additional details, including registration, will be provided closer to the program dates.

  • Thursday, January 19
  • Thursday, March 9
  • Thursday, May 18
  • Thursday, July 20
  • Thursday, September 21
  • Thursday, November 16

Facts

In early 2019, the Golden West Patio Home Owners Association (“Association”) implemented a plan to have units tented and fumigated to eliminate a terminate infestation. During fumigation, Artedi Cortez (“Owner”) refused to cooperate, as he believed there were other viable treatment methods which did not require tenting. The Association disagreed and sought a court order requesting the temporary removal of the Owner from his property to allow for fumigation to occur. The court granted the order for temporary removal in May 2019 and this decision was not immediately appealed by Cortez.

Continue Reading Attorney Fees and Associations

Facts

Montana Developer of three condominium-hotels at Big Sky Ski Resort sold units subject to Declarations that required “all unit owners to use [Developer], or an agent designated by [Developer], as their exclusive rental agents,” when renting out their condominiums.  The Declarations also provided that “Unit owners may decline to renew the rental management contract with [Developer] after three years, but only if 75% of unit owners vote to end the contract with [Developer].”  Of course, Developer also owned all of the commercial units, which constituted 22% of the voting units, and several residential units, practically making it impossible for 75% of the unit owners to do anything that the Developer didn’t want.

Continue Reading Claims for When Developers Have TOO Much Control of Association

Facts

A 50-unit association with multiple buildings had a fire in Building Five in December of 2018.  The interior and exterior repairs were estimated at about $1.4 million. Insurance proceeds were only $933,000, meaning there were insufficient proceeds of about $500,000 to make the needed repairs.  The board voted not to obtain a loan to cover the short fall.  As a result, one of the unit owners filed suit alleging, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty and violation of the applicable statute and governing documents by “failing to maintain the requisite insurance coverage.”  The unit owner ought summary judgment and argued the association was required to promptly repair his unit and the building.  The association argued it only had to insure the building exterior and that the condominium documents were ambiguous.   

Continue Reading Insufficient Insurance Costs Association LOTS!!!

Facts

The Kittingers moved into the Sleepy Hollow Subdivision in 2016, a planned community, and kept four hens in a coop located in their backyard. At the time, Sleepy Hollow had a restrictive covenant in place which specifically stated:

No animals, livestock or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept on the building site, except that dogs, cats or other household pets may be kept, provided that they are not bred or maintained for any commercial purpose.

Their neighbors, the Bryans, commenced legal action against the Kittingers and alleged the hens’ presence in their yard was in violation of Sleepy Hollow’s restrictive covenant. The trial court ruled in favor of the Bryans in late 2019, agreeing that the hens violated the restrictive covenant as a matter of law and therefore the Kittingers could no longer have the hens at their home. In making this determination, the trial court relied on the simple language of the covenant: “no… poultry of any kind” is allowed.

In early 2020, Sleepy Hollow recorded an amendment to their covenants, allowing for up to five (5) hens for non-commercial use. Based on this amendment, the Kittingers sought relief from the court’s prior ruling which restricted their ability to have hens.

Continue Reading Chickens and Covenants

In 2022, the Wisconsin legislature adopted additional provisions to the Condominium Ownership Act that affect all Wisconsin condominium associations.  Because the new statutes require condominium associations to take affirmative action, your association needs to be aware and get prepared.

The changes are found in Wis. Stat. Section 703.20, primarily.  The language regarding the financial and operational records condominium associations were required to keep per Section 703.20 used to be very general in nature, so much so that for our condo association clients who were nonstock corporations, we would look to provisions in the Nonstock Corporations Act (specifically, Sections 181.1601-.1603) for greater detail and guidance on the records that associations should keep.  With the recent changes to Section 703.20, this is no longer the case; in fact, Section 703.20(5) now states that those nonstock corporate records statutes (Sections 181.1601-.1603) no longer apply to condominium associations.

Continue Reading Recent Changes in the Wisconsin Condominium Ownership Act that Affect Your Association: Record Keeping, Financial Records, Audits, and Website Requirements