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Can condo association board and property manager change by-laws?

Posted on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 @ 07:40 AM
Our Board of Directors has changed what is in our condo association's by-laws. The property management co. and board say they can change these. That they are only changing the rules and regulation. What is the difference between the by-laws and the rules and regulation? They also said they can change anything, that they do not need a vote by the co-owners?

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They are correct. End of story. Take the time to read your governing documents and state laws pertaining to condo associations.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:12 AM by Susana Murray

I should have included that this is in Michigan.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:12 AM by Leah Kulin

Why do co-owners even have a vote?

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:13 AM by Leah Kulin

Having the same problem with our Board. My husband was on the board until they started talking about taking out sections of the by-laws that tell what the association's reponsiblies are, and putting them on the backs of the owners. (i.e) Fixing cracks in the foundation, tuck pointing, some landscaping. After some heated discussion, my husband resigned. 
He reads the by laws differently than the other members. He reads you must have a vote from the owners, then our lawyer should write up the changes,lastly, it should be recorded with the county. All they want to do is scratch out, and write in. 
Where does one go when you can't afford $200 an hour for a lawyer to settle this? 
Good luck.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:33 AM by nana

To Nana: It depends on where you live as to who you contact. 
In Florida, you can contact the Florida Ombudsman. They can be reached at myflorida.com if you go to the condo section there is a question submission form and also their phone number in Tallahassee. Otherwise, if you dont live in FL check to see if your state has a condo ombudsman. They are very helpful, I've dealt with them on a couple of occasions. Good luck

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:41 AM by Katerina

It all depends where you live. In Alberta, Canada, in order to change the bylaws you need to have a general vote, where I believe you need 70% of owners to be in favour of the change.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:47 AM by Rafal

We just has a lawyer speak at outr annual meeting. If I understand him correctly, as long as the rules and regulations reflect the intent of the by-laws, then these rules and regulations can be changed. For instance, our by-laws state no overnight parking on the street. The rules and regs were changed to no parking between 2:00am and 6:00 am. perfectly leagl because they reflect the intent of no parking overnight.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:55 AM by Ellen

Thank you Ellen for your input.  
But the difference here is the brick on our buildings, the foundation, and the landscaping does not belong to us, the unit owner. That is for the Association to take care of. . Everything from the walls out is the Association's responsibility . They are trying to put everything on us to take care of. 
I live in Illinois. Condo living is fairly new in our town. It is not like Fl, where we had a condo and know what the by-laws are because the first thing we did when we moved there was to read the by-laws. Most of the Board hasn't lived in a condo until now. They have no idea how things work. My neighbor just found out he doesn't own the brick on his condo or the land it sits on, and was livid because he paid too much money for what he got. 
The whole point here is, they can not change the by-laws without a vote or the legal parts taken care of first. 

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:09 AM by nana

Sorry, I missed that. Yes, you own from inside unpainted wall to inside unpainted wall. The rest is HOA owned property and the dues paid to the association are for the upkeep of that property. 
Asking the homeowner to be responsible is like asking me to be responsible for taking care of the guy down the street's house.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:31 AM by ellen

Hey just react like the tenants in one of our condos (which is bank owned) when we told them they were breaking the rules & regulations they ripped up a copy and wrote on the envelope I don't give a s@#$! And their is nothing we can do but call the bank who in turn said what do you want they are only renters

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:38 AM by Maggie

I would very much like to know the answer to this1 At our last meeting I asked about changing something in the by-laws from making a rentee responsible for paying the condo dues when the owner fails to pay them. We have 3 people far behind and I was suggesting a way to keep our money in our account intead of people failing to pay. Also we want something written into the laws that if an owner falls behind (I mean more than 6 months) and the rentee moves out, we want to stop him from rening again until they become current with their dues. I was told I would have to have 85% of the votes and also must have a lawyer to draw this up into the by-laws. Now were they talking state by-laws or our house by-laws I have a copy of both and I am taking it that you must have this put into both in order for the owner and rentee to comply. Who is right?

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:09 PM by s

There are several comments in the inquiry and responses that needs to be addressed. 
Of initial importance, there is a specific difference between a condo and an HOA. Almost all states have different laws (codes) that reflect the major differences between the three types of communities: condo, hoa, coop.  
All owners should identify the State law that applies. In almost all states, condos are highly regulated which includes the proper recording of the legal instruments (master deed or declaration, bylaws, articles of incorporation) governing the condo. This legislation most often addresses how to amend the legal instruments. Then the condo's bylaws may add language regarding notice, quorum, and voting requirements. Almost all condo documents must be submitted to the individual mortgage holders for anything other than very insignificant changes in the documents.  
Rules & regulations, depending upon the State, may be amended by the board - usually requires notice to owners prior to approval of changes.  
The State Attorney General's office may be of assistance in these matters. 

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:30 PM by Nancy Jacobsen

The bylaws and the rules & regs are two different things. The requirements for amending the bylaws will be outlined in the bylaws. Sometimes the board can do this w/o a vote of the members. As for the rules; most assn CCRs give the board the authority to adopt rules and they also have the authority to amend them w/o a vote of the members. However there are some states that requires the proposed rules to be voted on by the members and may requires the members to vote to amend them also. Check out your bylaws and your state laws for the correct answers to your questions.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:56 PM by mary

In HOA governing documents by-laws are largely addressing administrative and enforcement issues. Your CC&R's define much more significantly how the entire association was established and what the terms would be when you took ownership. If changes to your bylaws are in conflict with your CC&R's that is a red flag. Stand on your CC&R's - they are the life-blood of your association and except for minor changes they need to be preserved. They are your protection from autocratic self-serving changes such as you are describing. Good luck!

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 3:17 PM by Pamela

In what state is your association located. With that info I can provide you with a factual answer to your questions.

posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 5:07 PM by Charles Adler

To Charles. My comments and questions are from nana. I live in Illinois. If you can help, it would be appreciated.

posted @ Friday, October 29, 2010 7:34 AM by nana

Download The Illinois Condominium Property Act. Refer to Sectio7 17. Although I have not read this reference most state condominium acts require a majority of votes from 2/3 of unit owners to approve a change in their bylaws. I know of no state that permits managers and Board of Directyors to effect such changes on their own volition. You should also look for procedures that must be followed by board to establish rules. Normally a majority of approval by 50% of unit owners is reqired to establish such rules. This law takes precendence over any provision in your bylaws which is in conflict with it.

posted @ Friday, October 29, 2010 8:46 AM by Charles Adler


posted @ Monday, November 01, 2010 12:38 AM by BOB

Leah-- Much bad ibnfo on this board. Please download the Michigan Condominium Act. Then look at par 2 in section 559.190 and you see that amendment of condo documents requires a 23 majority vote of owners. The Board and the property manager have no perogative to do so on their own. READ THE LAW!!!

posted @ Monday, November 01, 2010 7:06 AM by Charles Adler

should have read 2/3 ,ajority

posted @ Monday, November 01, 2010 9:14 AM by Charles Adler

My husband and I own a condo in Florida. We use to get copies of the budget before it went for a vote. Now the board does not send out the budget before they vote on it and also they are voting for these budgets at a time when very few people are there. (Off Season) instead of Jan. through April. Is this legal?

posted @ Tuesday, November 23, 2010 3:59 PM by JoAnne Rudow

JoAnne--not it is not legal. Florida Condominium Act prescribes the procedure to be followed in adopting a budget. Download your state law and read it.

posted @ Tuesday, November 23, 2010 4:47 PM by Charles Adler

Reasonable rules and regulations CONSISTENT with the Act, the Master Deed, and these By-Laws, concerning the use of the COMMON ELEMENTS may be made and amended from time to time by the Board of Directors of te Association. For example: The co-owners voted not to allow any signs in the complex, for sale, polictical,for rent, etc. The board changed it so that you can put signs out. This is not CONSISTENT with the By-Laws.

posted @ Monday, December 27, 2010 9:45 AM by l

Please download a copy of your state's condominium act. You'll find provisions governing the procedures to be followed in changing bylaws and in establishingn rules. The difference between these two areas is that a change to bylaws requires a 66.67% plurality of the council of unit owners to approve while establishing a rule requires a 50% plurality. 
The Board of Directors and the management company have no authority to effect either change.If they do so they can be cahrged with violating state law and could face legal penalties.

posted @ Monday, December 27, 2010 11:43 AM by Scott Adler

I know they have no right. They know they have no right. The secretary told me to sue them if I didn't like what they are doing. That I would have to pay for my attorney and the association attorney. I don't think I would have to pay for their attorney. But I would have to pay for mine.(at least to start) I can't aford to sue them everytime they do what they want. Everyone else is scared of the board.(over 80% of residets are 65 and older (mostly older) widows)

posted @ Monday, December 27, 2010 2:18 PM by l

Mary, Procedures for changing bylaws are not contained in the bylaws. Rather those procedures are defined in the state condominium act and require an approval by the council of unit owners in excess of 66.67%. A board which ignores this state law can be held legally liable for violation and the hold harmless clause protecting them in the by laws is not applicable to this situation since violation of law is involved.

posted @ Monday, December 27, 2010 3:41 PM by Scott Adler

Thanks Scott. I have shown them along with one other co-owner that they cannot do this. The management company has lead the board to believe that no can touch them. I am waiting until after the new year to try again to see the condo books. It took 5 e-mails and the mention of legal counsel to see copies of checks. I have been keeping copies of every e-mail. I will not talk to the management company or board as they lie about everything. I want erverything in writing. I have a few other owners ready to hop on the board to. But you never know, cuz the board with give them a hard time. All I know is I can't live like this. I am going to give it one more try before I hire an attorney. I have also contacted my politician in my district for help.

posted @ Monday, December 27, 2010 9:38 PM by l

The Attorney General of your state is charged with enforcing your state laws. If your Board refuses to adhere to the provisions of your state's condominium act call that office. IOn most states there is an ombundsman who will assist you. Further ,lthough your bylaws probably hold the Board of Directors gharmless for their action such protection does no protect them if they engage in illegal acts. Failing to ober the provisions of the state condominium act could subject the Boared and its members with legal penalties. Make sure you Board is aware of this risk they are taking. Of course the ideal solution to the problem you fgace is to force the old board out at your next election by putting forth a strong set of candidates and conduct an active campaign to get them elected.

posted @ Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:45 AM by Scott Adler

Your lawyer failed to tell you the whole story. The rules and bylaws can certyainly be changed, But the Board of Direcxtors does not have the authority to do so unless the Coucil of Unit owners has formally voted to deligate that authority to them. Your state condo act superceeds the bylaws. To change a rule you'll have to obtain a majority vote of thye council of unuit owners and for a bylaw change you'll have to get 2/3 majority of the council of unit owners to approve. It is simpler to get the coucil to deligate these responsibilities to the board. Such an action must be reflected in the minutes of the Board meeting where the acceptance vote of this proposal was announced. Without this formal delegation any action the board could take in regard to rules or bylaw changes could be deemed to have been illegal. As such the hold harmnless clause in your bylaws in respect to actioons of your baord could be judges to be a violation of dtate law. Such a violation would remove the hold harmless protection and possibly subject the Board as a body and the individual members of the board to face legal penalties.

posted @ Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:39 PM by Scott

The Shiawassee condo association (Southfield, MI) attorney, Jeffrey Vollmer associated with Wegner and Associates, P.C. (St. Clair Shores, MI) in his 11/15/2010 correspondence stated the Shiawassee Condo Association on November 02, 2010 foreclosed and purchased Unit 108 addressed at 25340 Shiawassee. The Shiawassee Condo Assoc on November 02, 2010 did not purchase the mortgage debt and did not purchase Unit 108. This is a direct violation of Michigan law statues MCL 559.101 and MCL 600.3204 and amounts to FORECLOSURE FRAUD, a rather serious matter. Michigan law statue, MCL 559.101 under the Michigan Condo Act (1978) gives condominium liens "superior priority" EXCEPT over first mortgages and/or tax liens. This requires Michigan condo associations to pay off any first mortgage and/or tax lien BEFORE not after foreclosure. Also, the party foreclosing a mortgage must own the mortgage debt. This is a Michigan law statue, MCL 600.3204. The Shiawassee Condo Association (Southfield, MI) on November 02, 2010 did not own the mortgage debt and did not own the right to foreclosure on Unit 108. This is FORECLOSURE FRAUD and the law firm, Wegner and Associates, P.C. (St. Clair Shores, MI) sad to say specializes in condominium law. It is professional misconduct for an attorney [Jeffrey Vollmer} to violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce others to do so, or to do so through the acts of others. Reading from the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.4 (a). It is professional misconduct for a lawyer [Jeffrey Vollmer] to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepretation, or violation of a criminal law, where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawer. Reading from the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.4 (b). A lawyer [Jeffrey Vollmer] licensed to practice in this jurisdiction [Michigan] is subject to disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction. Reading from the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.5

posted @ Friday, January 21, 2011 2:22 PM by

Shiawassee Condo. Another example of the old saying,"Our legislatures are made up mostly by lawyers. Once elected these lawyers,afetr insuring their reelection then spend their time passing laws for the benefit of other lawyers!.

posted @ Friday, January 21, 2011 4:46 PM by Scott

My townhouse association in Illinois change the by-laws using a hand vote. I was told it takes 2/3 of the unit owners to change our by-laws. Is this change legal. They did inform all unit owners by certified mail, but the minutes do not say who voted for the change. Does the voting need to be in writing or is a hand vote acceptable.

posted @ Tuesday, November 15, 2011 4:37 AM by greg

i live in Pa. The baord is cahnging the regulation " NO yard Sales" and allowing community yard sales at specific times.  
The board believes they can change without vote. 
I believe No yard sales better for the community, Safety wise. 
Any similar issues someone might respond to me.

posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 10:08 AM by bob traylor

Under the Pa Condo Act the yard sale provision could be considered as a rule change or a by law change. In either case the law requires that a vote of the council of unit owners be conducted to determine the will of the owners. It requires a proportional majority vote. If it is classified as a by law change it requires 2/3 proportionate vote for approval.  
The property belongs to the unit owners and not the board of directors nor theier management company. Any change in the rul;es and by laws must be approved ny the unit ownrts. Should the board refuse to comply they could be judged to be in violation of dtaste law and the immunity granted in the by laws would therefor become ineffective in protecting them. If the unit owners won a law suit the individual board members could face severe finacial penalties. 
The management company activity is supposed to be managed by the Board and their failure to do so and allow the management company to be involved in any way in this dispute also constitutes a violatuion of state law.

posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 1:06 PM by Charles Adler

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