Happy New Year! Hopefully you weren’t too hungover after New Year’s Eve. 2017 is behind us, and 2018 is ready to rock and roll. 2017 was a busy year, and the Condo and Homeowners Association world did not slow down in December. In the December 2017 Condo Association news roundup, we revisit the D.R. Horton case, cover an interesting court case analysis by Kevin Hirzel in Michigan, and get an overview of the Condo Authority of Ontario’s mediation process by Michelle Kelly in Ontario. Enjoy the December 2017 Condo Association news roundup!
Michelle Kelly, Sutherland and Kelly Law Blog, 12/4/17
The Condo Authority of Ontario is a new governing body which is designed to facilitate the resolution of a variety of issues within Ontario, Canada. One of the more interesting aspects is the creation of a mediation board, or the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT). Michelle Kelly provides an easy to understand primer on exactly what the CAT does and what it costs.
In a brief summary, the CAT offers a multi-step process for mediating with Condo Associations. While there are fees for each step (in the $50 – $125) range, these appear to be reasonable compared to lawyering up. Many of the steps of the CAT should be unnecessary if a Condo Association is doing its job). However, since there are rogue Condo Associations, the CAT process offers an alternative to going full lawyer to resolve disputes.
Anyone who lives in Ontario would be well-served by reading the source article. The CAT may be a useful tool for Ontario Owners.
Court Rules in Favor of Michigan Condo Association Related to the Amendment of Bylaws, Compliance with Parliamentary Procedure and Director Compensation Related to Website
Kevin Hirzel, Michigan Condo Law, 12/7/17
Michigan has a number of interesting issues related to Condo laws, such as their taxation structure for short-term rentals. This latest legal analysis by the Kevin Hirzel continues to be of interest. This latest analysis covers a fight between an Owner and an Association in the Saline Northview Condo Association.
There are several topics addressed in this court battle, but there was one that was particularly interesting. The Condo in question had struggled with quorum issues at their annual meeting, so they voted – as a Board, not as an Association – to lower quorum requirements. The Owner alleged this was improper. However, the court found that the lowering of quorum was needed because there was an “…insufficient number of co-owners desiring to exercise any rights at all.”
In a conversation with Kevin Hirzel, he explained that what happened is that since the Board could not get a quorum, they created a rule that if a quorum didn’t exist, they could reconvene with a lesser quorum in order to conduct Condo Association business. This is absolutely fascinating and pragmatic. On the one hand, Bylaws requirements exist to protect Owners from rogue Boards, and the quorum numbers are an important barrier against rogue Boards. On the other hand, if Owners are so apathetic that you can’t conduct business, the Association can’t do its job.
Heron’s Landing community still waiting on millions in settlement money from homebuilder D.R. Horton
Kevin Clark, Actions News Jax, 12/27/17
Last year, big news was made in the Homeowners Association world when a community won a large defect lawsuit against one of the country’s biggest homebuilders, D.R. Horton, for a sum of $9.6 million. The lawsuit alleged a plethora of issues related to substandard construction materials and work. It was an unusual case because typically such lawsuits are settled outside of court, but this was a very public victory.
Unfortunately, 18 months later, the homebuilder still hasn’t paid the Association. This has prevented the Association from making the needed repairs to windows and roofs, as well as the remediation of mold from leaks in the aforementioned windows and roofs. This is a frustrating story for a community that has already been through a substantial amount of hassle. Hopefully D.R. Horton does the right thing and pays up soon so the community can begin repairs and close out this issue.
That’s all for the December 2017 Condo Association news! Did you know that you can get even more news articles by signing up for our mailing list? Mailing list subscribers get monthly bonus news stories and analysis. Join the list today!