The association sent a letter stating I will have to pay $400 to help pay for decks in the community to be repaired. Then they also want to raise our dues for 3 years to continue to pay for the deck repairs. Can they do this? What happens if I don't pay? Is there a LAW that says I have to pay for decks?
The best way to check if they can create these assessments is to check the bylaws in your association agreement. You should have received a copy when you moved in. If you don't have a copy, you may want to check the Oakland County Register of Deeds. They Condo HOA should have filed a copy of the rules and regs with the master deed. Michgan law really doesn't address these types of agreements, aside from civil rights issues. Essentially, the bylaws are a contract that you entered into when you moved in. The association itself has the right to enforce the regs, as does any other homeowner in the association. If I had to bet, I'd say they have the ability to do what they're doing and they'll be able to make you pay. It stinks, but it is what it is.
EVERY case is different. The answers provided here are general and not related to the specifc facts of your case. I am not your attorney and if necessary you should seek legal counsel. This answer is NOT to be considered legal advice and there is NO attorney client relationship implied from this answer.
I practice in Washington State so this may not apply; hopefully an attorney from MI will respond, too. In WA, owners pay assessments based on their percentage allocation in the community. Common elements and limited common elements may be the responsibility of the Association to maintain and repair, and quite often ALL owners split that expense (based on the percentages referenced above) regardless of whether their particular unit uses/shares the element. One example I can think of is when a building has an elevator, clearly it only "services" the units on the upper floors, but because it is a common element maintained by the association, ALL unit owners pay a share of the maintenance cost.
This may also be true for your scenario, but the short answer to your question is that (a) you should check with a lawyer who can interpret the governing documents for your association for you, which will tell you if the association is acting properly in assessing ALL owners for the deck repairs and (b) if they association IS acting in accordance with the documents, then yes, you have to pay.
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