A Maryland Court recently ruled on the extent of powers a Condominium Board had in dealing with a unit owner who was delinquent in assessments (Elvation Towne Condominium Regime II, Inc. v. Rose, 162 A.3d 1027). The Association at issue adopted a policy by which delinquent unit owners would be deprived of their right to enjoy certain common elements – namely the pool and parking of the Association. When they suspended those rights for the delinquent unit owner, the unit owner filed suit alleging the policy was unlawful, since the Association’s declaration did not provide for the Board to withhold common element use rights. Continue Reading Delinquent Owners – Withholding Access to Common Elements
A Court in Arizona recently provided one more reason for your association to have a fine schedule and late fee policy (Turtle Rock III Homeowners’ Association v. Fisher, 2017 WL4837821 and 2017 Ariz. App. LEXIS 187). This particular Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) required their owners to maintain their property in various ways relative to cleanliness and attractiveness, via the HOA’s declaration. The declaration allowed the HOA to assess daily fines if the violations were not corrected. The HOA sent a particular owner 90 separate notices but started fining the owner less than 30 days from the relevant notice. Continue Reading Does Your Association Need a Fine Schedule and Late Fee Policy? Yes!
A Court in Louisiana recently took up the issue of what to award in interest, late fees, attorneys’ fees and costs when a Unit Owner paid the underlying assessments, but refused to pay anything more. (English Turn Property Owners Association v. Contogouris, 228 So.3d 793 (2017)). In this case, a Unit Owner and its Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) were embroiled in litigation concerning four years of unpaid assessments, along with interest, late fees, attorneys’ fees and costs, the latter being authorized by the Association’s governing documents. The parties agreed to a payoff concerning the regular assessments, and that a trial would decide what other amounts were owed as a result of the Unit Owner’s failure to regularly and timely pay assessments. Continue Reading Delinquent Owner Pays Assessments, But Refuses to Pay Interest, Late Fees or Attorney Fees. NOW WHAT?
A big thank you to all that attended our recent Spring 2018 Association Academy and made the event a success. For those of you who were unable to attend, don’t worry, you can still catch us on YouTube!
We’ve made our Association Academy available for viewing. Click on the links below to learn more.
- Part I: Association Collections and 2018 Law Updates – Do you track the income and expense of each collection matter and know the net recovery? If not, why? And what your Association needs to know about the 2018 condo law changes.
- Part II: The Times They are a-Changin – Demographic shifts and the new problems facing associations. Millennials are moving in. New people – new problems. What your Association needs to be aware of.
- Part III: Document Refresh: Changes You Should Make NOW – Dust off your governing documents! Learn what policies your Association needs now.
As always, if you have questions on any of these topics, do not hesitate to contact the Husch Blackwell LLP Condominium and HOA Law Team.
This issue arises more than one might suspect. Because of association apathy, many committees go unfilled and often even boards don’t have members. The results of this apathy could be much different than you would expect.
Facts. In a 2017 case, the relevant property “was subject to a 1996 restrictive covenant that required the approval by an architectural control committee [‘ACC’] before any building … could be erected.” The ACC consisted of two named persons within the documents, one of which was dead and the other refused to act. The owner of the property filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to have the court declare the covenant unenforceable based on impossibility of performance. Other property owners objected, claiming the covenant could be made enforceable by modification. The documents did not provide a means by which new members could be added to the ACC. Continue Reading What Happens When All Committee Members Resign, Refuse to Act or Move?
Facts. The documents required the consent of the first floor unit owner if the second floor unit owner wanted to erect a terrace above a first floor unit. When the first floor unit owner refused to give consent, the Board waived the consent requirement and allowed the second floor unit owner to construct a terrace, after determining that it would have no impact on the value of the first floor unit. The first floor unit owner sued to annul the board’s decision. Continue Reading Who Says the Board Can’t Favor Resident Owners?
A recent case in Florida (MacKenzie v. Centext Homes, 208 So.3d.790 (2016)) was not bashful about holding a developer to the same rules as other property owners in a Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”). The HOA in this case was still largely under developer’s control during the period in question. The developer controlled Board included a reserve line item in its budget and collected reserve funds from its members. Despite initially contributing $32,000.00 to the Association, the developer, Centext, ceased contributing to the operating expenses and assessments, instead opting to fund operating deficits (when assessment income failed to exceed operating expenses). Continue Reading Developer Held to Same Rules as Other Owners
Time and time again we hear that one of the biggest challenges in conducting annual Association meetings is simply achieving a quorum (in other words, getting enough butts in the seats). Without a quorum, business cannot be conducted, votes cannot be taken, and the Association’s operations are virtually stymied. The Association is forced to adjourn the meeting, and start the painful process of going door-to-door and begging for proxies all over again. Continue Reading Conducting a Successful Annual Meeting (Through Creative Use of Proxies, and Other Ideas…)
Yes, developers can be lazy, greedy good for nothing con-artists. Developers can also adversely affect the rights of an association by simply doing nothing. Specifically, a developer (owner of the property and declarant of the association) with knowledge of construction defects can prevent the association and/or unit owners, after turnover, from potentially suing the contractor and/or engineer for construction defects. Continue Reading After Turnover Do a Developer’s Actions (or Inaction) Affect an Association’s Construction Defect Claims? YES
Condominium associations and homeowner associations are sued every day. These suits can arise based on construction claims, contract claims, negligence claims and various alleged statutory violations – We all know about the Fair House Act! Or the Wisconsin (or whatever state you are in) Consumer Act! Associations seem to attract people who feel that they are entitled to something because they now live in an association. Of course they are entitled to what the law and documents allow them, but for some that never seems to be enough. Often these types of owners or residents make up stuff or read the internet until they find some article or statement that supports their point of view and then cite it as fact. Yes, we have all dealt with those people. However, despite the validity (or lack of validity) of any lawsuit, there are some basic steps that every association should follow once served or notified of a suit. Continue Reading Sued! What Should Our Wisconsin Condominium or Homeowners Association Do NOW?