Are owners failing to comply with condominium bylaws? Let us help enforce your community association’s bylaws.
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Michigan Condominium Lawyers
Michigan Condo Lawyers Enforcing Michigan Condominium Association Bylaws
Condominium bylaws help Michigan condominium associations operate in an orderly manner, uphold community aesthetics, preserve property values, and protect co-owners health, safety, and welfare. Enforcing these regulations is a very important job but is often time-consuming and complicated. Our Michigan condominium lawyers can help enforce the violation of condo bylaws.
The board of directors of a condominium association has a duty to enforce the condominium bylaws as written unless a legal justification exists for not doing so. The condominium association board of directors must enforce the bylaws in a consistent and uniform manner.
In most cases, the condominium bylaws allow for the condominium association to recover attorney’s fees and costs for having to take action against the violation of condo bylaws. The Michigan condominium lawyers at Hirzel Law, PLC routinely assist Michigan condominium associations with enforcing rules when a violation of condo bylaws occurs.
What Obligation Does a Condo Have to Enforce the Documents?
A condominium association must enforce the documents when there is a violation of condo bylaws. When an individual joins a community that is governed by a condominium association, they agree to follow certain rules and standards. Below are some of the reasons why it is so important for a violation of condo bylaws to be enforced to avoid selective enforcement.
Equity. Rules and regulations only work when enforced consistently and fairly. A condominium board of directors should not selectively pick which rules it will enforce and which rules it will not.
Community mistrust. Once a board selectively enforces the bylaws or fails to enforce them at all, it will lose trust and credibility among its owners and its ability to govern the association. Once the trust is lost, it may be difficult for the condominium board of directors to regain it.
Risk of Litigation. Failure to fairly enforce the condominium bylaws opens the entire association to legal actions that could result in lawsuits.
Obligation. As a condominium association board member, you agreed to abide and enforce all the rules of the condominium association. This is your duty as a board of directors when a violation of condo bylaws occurs.
Financial responsibilities. Condominium association members pay association dues, special assessments, and fines. Rules for non-payment must be enforced for the condominium association to fund its daily operations and reserves.
How To Enforce Condo Rules
Enforcing condominium association bylaws is the responsibility of the condo board of directors. The association must enforce the violations of condo bylaws fairly. Below are some tips on how a condominium association can enforce the rules and regulations within its community. However, please keep in mind that the remedies vary depending on the governing documents.
- Issue a warning: The first step to enforcing condo rules is to issue a warning, even if the issue was a meaningless mistake. The warning should be in writing and include details of the violations.
- Imposing Fines: If a co-owner breaks a rule, they can face a monetary penalty. Imposing fines may be a consequence for non-compliance to condominium association rules and regulations. However, fines are not an appropriate remedy for every bylaw violation.
- Suspend Rights and Privilege: The condominium association could suspend the co-owners rights and privileges if they violate the condo bylaws.
- Place a Lien: For violations involving non-payment of assessments or other damages, the condominium association may be forced to place a lien on the homeowner’s property to secure payment. If the lien is not paid, the condominium association may foreclose on the lien.
- Bylaw Enforcement Policy: Enforcing the rules and regulation is not easy, and that is why the process could be made simpler by adopting a more streamlined procedure. We recommend a bylaw enforcement policy to ensure efficient enforcement of your bylaws. Contact your Hirzel Law condo attorney before putting your plan into action so that you can make sure you are legally covered.
- Say No to Selective Enforcement: Ensure that uniform and equal enforcement is given throughout the entire community. As a member of the condominium board, it is your job to enforce the rules consistently and fairly.
Is It Illegal to Violate the Condo Bylaws?
Violating condo bylaws is illegal under most circumstances, as they are legally binding and enforceable. However, there are some exceptions to this statement. Some rules can be unenforceable. Rules are deemed unenforceable when they fall under one or more of the following categories:
- Violates rights or breaches laws: Federal and state laws, including constitutional rights, take priority over all the association’s governing documents. Therefore, when a rule violates the law, it becomes unenforceable.
- Enacted incorrectly: After purchasing your property, the rules and regulations within the condominium association may change. It is not uncommon for a condominium association to amend its governing documents. Many associations change or add to their rules. However, there is a proper way to enact the procedure within state laws and the association’s governing documents. If the condominium association changes the rules or makes a new one without following the proper procedures, then it becomes unenforceable.
- Enforced inconsistently or selectively: If your condominium association is not enforcing the rules equally and fairly or failing to follow the proper procedures and prerequisites when enforcing a rule, then there is a good chance that those rules are unenforceable. State laws and the condominium association governing documents outline the procedural requirements that associations must comply with when enforcing condominium association rules. When the requirements are not met or applied inconsistently, the co-owner can challenge the enforcement of the rule. Selective enforcement is an issue that many associations face. Boards will apply a rule to one co-owner, but not another. However, condominium associations can combat selective enforcement though uniform enforcement of the condominium association rules or through a well drafted anti-waiver clause in the governing documents.
How Our Condo Lawyers Help Enforce Michigan Condominium Bylaws
If a co-owner is in violation of the bylaws, several actions may be taken. First, the condo board may meet with the disputing parties to discuss the issue or send a warning letter. If an informal meeting or warning letter is not successful, then the board may start formal proceedings to resolve the dispute and enforce the bylaws.
After a violation of condo bylaws is turned over to our firm, we typically start by sending a demand letter, unless there is an emergency that requires immediate court involvement. If the violation of condo bylaws is not resolved, the most common method of enforcement is seeking an injunction to require the owner to comply with the bylaws. The experienced Michigan condominium lawyers at Hirzel Law, PLC can help you take the correct steps to enforce rules and bylaws while considering the rights of all involved parties.
Do Your Michigan Condominium Association Documents Pass Muster?
One of the most common obstacles that condominium associations face is that they often require legal assistance on a year-round basis. Frequently working with contracts and vendors can necessitate the help of a well-qualified lawyer who has years of experience working with Michigan’s condominium association laws, which is why Hirzel Law, PLC offers a Premium Service Plan for condominium associations.
The comprehensive Premium Service Plan from Hirzel Law, PLC allows representatives of condominium associations to have peace of mind by providing them with consistent and ongoing legal services. Utilizing our Premium Service Plan unlocks benefits and resources that include:
- Preparation of a condominium association Report Card to evaluate your governing documents
- Review of any condominium association Board Meeting minutes
- Access to our Online library of standardized condo and HOA forms
- Access to our Online collection portal to view the current status of your condominium association’s collections
- Attendance for all board members to ask general questions
- Attendance for all board members at Hirzel Law webinars that are presented throughout the year
- Hirzel Law will serve as the Resident Agent for the condo or HOA, upon request of the board
- All board members will receive a copy of Hirzel’s Handbook: How to Operate a Michigan Condo or
Having a condominium lawyer that you can trust is necessary to the success of any association that deals with Michigan condo laws. With our Premium Service Plan, you can trust that your condominium association is protected throughout the entire year.
Contact Our Condominium Lawyers for Help with Enforcing Condominium Association Bylaws
Enforcing condominium bylaws is not enjoyable for condominium association Board Members, but it is necessary to keep a well-maintained community. At Hirzel Law, PLC, our Michigan condo lawyers can help your condominium association review governing documents and enforce the bylaws. We stand by our clients, offering the highest quality legal representation and promptly responding to our clients’ needs.
Contact Hirzel Law online or call 248-986-2921 (Farmington) or 231-486-5600 (Traverse City) or 616-319-9964 (Grand Rapids office) to see how our Michigan condo attorneys can help enforce a violation of condo bylaws on your Michigan condominium association’s behalf.