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Can a condo association change their mind on parking spaces available per unit after living there for almost 5 years?

Zeeland, MI |

We bought when the builder was still in control of the association. We have a 3 bedroom and 2 of our sons live with us, we have 4 vehicles, which we have had since day one here. When the condo owners took over the association, the parking rules were changed to 3 parking spaces per unit, we were told that we were grandfathered in, not to worry, they knew we had 4, however, we never got anything in writing. Now, alomst 5 years later, there is a new president on the board and he is insisting that we can only have 3 spaces and the other board members are agreeing, including 2 whom told us not to worry b/c we were grandfathered in. Can they do this to us? Is this legal? By laws were changed after we moved here, we argued about that specific change but were reassured over and over again all was good. Well, now there is alot of arguing going on. Is there anything we can do or are we out of luck, b/c we trusted people?

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Filed under: Real estate
Attorney answers 1


Whether a specific amendment of your condominium documents is permissible depends upon the specific limations on amendments contained in your condominium documents themselves, and also upon the provisions of the Michigan Condominium Act. In most cases, condominium documents may be amended with the consent of not less than two-thirds of the votes of co-owners and mortgagees, even if the amendment will materially alter or change the rights of co-owners and mortgagees. Co-owners must be notified of any proposed amendments ten days before they are recorded, and a copy of each recorded amendment must be delivered to each co-owner. In certain cases, amendments to condominium documents require a unanimous vote.

You should consult with a real estate attorney well versed in condominium law to determine whether the change you refer to was in fact an amendment of the condominium documents, and if so, whtether the amendment was properly enacted. If the change was an amendment of the condominium documents, the proper procedures for amendment should have been followed.

Whether a change constitutes an amendment of the condominium documents, rather than simply a rule or regulation promulgated by the Association Board of Directors in managing the affairs of the Association, is a question of law. If the condominium documents provide that the Association Board of Directors shall be responsible for implementing parking regulations, and the Board of Directors decides to change the number of cars allowed per co-owner, such a change could be considered to be a rule change rather than an amendment, in which case the procedured required for adoption of amendments may not apply. However, in many cases, even rules are subject to ratification by the co-owners.

Michigan Courts have stated that "It is well settled that individual interest must often yield to the interest of the condominium community." In your case, you should consult with an attorney to review your specific situation to determine whether you have any recourse against your Association with respect to your situation.

Stefan J. Scholl, Attorney at Law
Stefan J. Scholl, P.C.

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