In New Jersey, the United Stated Bankruptcy Court held in In re. Smiley, 569 B.R. 377 (2017) that a Unit Owner/Debtor can modify the Association’s lien and strip off all but the six month super lien allowed under the state’s condominium act. The facts at the time were that the Association was owed $9,000 for filed liens and another $4,700 that it recognized as unsecured. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, the monthly assessment was $250. The fair market value of the property according to the bankruptcy schedules was $142,000, but it was under water because of a $174,000 first mortgage on the property. Based on these facts the Unit Owner/Debtor claimed, and the court found, that despite the proper lien filings, the Association only had security for $1,500 ($250 x 6 months). Continue Reading Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – Can the Association’s Lien for Unpaid Assessments be Stripped Off? YES
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.
The principal purpose of 2017 Wisconsin Act 303 was to set limits on the amount of fees that an association can charge its unit owners. Those fees are the following:
- The actual cost of, but not more than $50, for providing the Sec. 703.33(1)(1m) & (2) Wis. Stat. disclosures from a Seller to a Buyer (See, Sec. 703.20(2)(a) Wis. Stat.);
- The actual cost of, but not more than $15, for providing any change to item 1 above as required by Sec. 703.33(3m) Wis. Stat. (See, Sec. 703.20(2)(a) Wis. Stat.); and
- No charge for a payoff statement, but if a second one is requested in a 2-month period, then not to exceed $25 (See Sec. 703.335(4)(a) Wis. Stat.).
The sole exception to these limits is if the association has a unit owner meeting where a greater fee is approved and the appropriate notices are provided both before and within 48 hours after the meeting. (See Sec. 703.205(2) Wis. Stat.).
There is no limit on the amount that may be charged as a transfer fee, but the new law does require that these amounts be disclosed in the Executive Summary. Continue Reading 2017 Wisconsin Act 303 – New Law on Fees and What You NEED to Do
A recent case in Colorado (Tyra Summit Condominiums II Association, Inc. v. Clancy, 2017 COA 73) held an Association trying to amend its Declaration to the strict standards for timing and details contained in state statute. The law in question required a Condominium Association attempting to amend its declaration to send out notice of the meeting at least 10 days in advance, along with the general nature of any amendments to the declaration.
In this case, the Association sent out one notice a month prior to the meeting, but only mentioned that an amended declaration was being drafted. Continue Reading Compliance With State Laws is Important
Important Notice: Our May 10, 2018 post, Notice to Wisconsin Community Association & Property Managers, advised unit owners, boards and property managers of the three new laws that passed on April 18, 2018. In that post, we described how one of those laws provided that any association looking to charge a fee in excess of $50 for complying with the disclosure requirements of Sec. 703.33 Wis. Stat. or to charge any fee for providing the first pay-off statement to a unit owner needed to comply with the new law. (See, Sec. 703.205 Wis. Stat.). At the time, we did not advise specifically how this compliance could be achieved. We are now providing that information. Continue Reading Notice to Wisconsin Community Association & Property Managers – IMPORTANT UPDATE
As a result of the new legislation that passed, in three different bills, for each of your condominium associations you need to deal with the following:
- Disclosure Requirement Fees. If your association currently charges or intends to charge a fee for complying with some or all of the disclosure requirements under Sec. 703.33 Wis. Stat., despite the $50 language in the statute amendment, we recommend that the association do all of the following: Continue Reading Notice to Wisconsin Community Association & Property Managers
In 2018 three separate acts amended Chapter 703 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Chapter 703 is Wisconsin’s Condominium Ownership Act. The amendments mostly took effect on April 18, 2018, but some will go into effect later in the year. (For an in-depth review of the actual laws: 2017 Senate Bill 131, 2017 Assembly Bill 518 and 2017 Assembly Bill 818.)
Only a few of the changes will affect most associations, but it never hurts to have an idea of what the legislature spent its time on. Continue Reading The Good, Bad & Boring – 2018 Amendments to Wisconsin’s Condominium Law
Under the law in most states, and certainly in Wisconsin, the Board of your condominium association controls any changes to the exterior appearance. This is generally based on a statute that can’t be changed even by the governing documents. However, things are changing. Across the country many laws are being passed that require the Board of Directors of various condominium associations to approve certain changes to the exterior. This can range from artificial turf to solar panels. In addition, the world is changing relative to emotional support animals, sexual harassment and security. Continue Reading 2018 Condo & HOA Issues
It has been said that insurance is the only product that both the seller and buyer hope is never used. That certainly rings true when it comes to community Associations’ insurance policies, but it does not diminish the need for Associations to protect themselves and their unit owners from an ever-widening array of damages they could suffer. Wis. Stat. § 703.17 requires Condominium Associations to obtain insurance against potential hazards, but only discusses scope by saying that the Association must acquire insurance “for not less than full replacement value of the property insured against.” Continue Reading It’s Never Too Late to Ensure Your Association is Properly Insured
In Wisconsin condominium associations are required to insure all of the property (other than the personal property) of the unit owners. (See, Sections 703.17(1) and 703.02(14) Wis. Stat). Many unit owners worry (needlessly I would contend) that their neighbors have improved their unit more than they have and then argue that they don’t want to pay the insurance for those improvements. Ignoring for the moment that those improvements also likely increase the value of their neighbors unit and therefore increase the value of their unit, which they are more than happy to accept, this argument simply misses how insurance companies actually insure condominiums in Wisconsin. The law requires all of the property to be insured. The law requires that the insurance be paid as a common expense. (Section 703.17(1) Wis. Stat). Accordingly, arguing over who has to insure what, considering the clear language of the statute, wastes both the time and resources of an association. However, there is something a board of directors can do to increase the insurance it provides unit owners without any material cost to the association. To adequately explain where these savings can be obtained, I first need to explain how insurance companies currently charge premiums and pay condominium claims in Wisconsin. Continue Reading Free Money from your Association Insurer