Evan McKenzie on the rise of private urban governance and the law of homeowner and condominium associations. Visit evanmckenzie.wikispaces.com for my published articles and services.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Robert Meisner Says Condo/Homeowners Associations Beware: The Michigan Legislature Has Dealt You a Severe Blow
I don't usually reproduce press releases, but I think in this case it bears repeating. I will be looking into the legislation in question, but for now, here is the word from attorney Robert Meisner:
BINGHAM FARMS, Mich., March 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert Meisner, founder of The Meisner Law Group, PC, and nationally recognized as one of the premier community association lawyers in the country, is issuing an alert to anyone living in or thinking about buying a home in a condominium, homeowners association, or a cooperative. In a lame duck session this past December, the Michigan Legislature quietly made sweeping changes to the Michigan Nonprofit Act.
"Here's the hitch," says Meisner. "Every condo, homeowners/cooperative association is a nonprofit corporation, so the new laws apply to them. Among the things these homeowners need to know is that their boards of directors, officers, and others may already be virtually immune from liability and accountability to the association, even for gross negligence and certain intentional acts."
Meisner says that he is also concerned that the changes in the law take away much of the traditional democratic participation of the members of non-profits and make it easier for entrenched directors to remain in office. He says this allows directors to be elected without a meeting, eliminating open debate, passing matters at membership meetings without prior notice and even holding membership meetings without notice to the members. The law even allows the board to turn over complete control of the association to non-members who have no stake in the community.
"It is not just community associations that are affected," Meisner says. "The amendments have the potential to make non-profits of all kinds the tools of fraud and profit for the unscrupulous. I understand that the Michigan Legislature was trying to make the operations of non-profits more streamlined and efficient, but it seems that this legislation was rushed through without careful thought and analysis and without any input from those most affected."
Meisner is advocating that the legislature either modify or revoke the new legislation.
A nationally respected community association law specialist for over 40 years, and adjunct professor of community association law, Meisner has authored numerous legal articles, pamphlets and two books: Condo Living 1 and 2: Authoritative Guides to Buying, Selling, and Operating a Condominium.
For more information on the potential pitfalls of this new legislation, contact Robert Meisner at 248.644.4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.