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Michigan Association Fees: Do I Have to Pay?

Michigan Association Fees: Generally Part of the (Ownership) Deal

michigan association fees

Michigan Association Fees: The Documentation Tells the Tale

Michigan association fees and dues and, sometimes, penalties are a way of life for those who purchase property that is subject to a condominium or homeowners association.

While not every property one might purchase is part of a formal association, properties that have been platted and developed according to a common developer’s vision are often likely to be. A condominium develop nearly always is.

Condo and homeowners associations (HOAs) are established to make the properties in the development attractive to investors and potential buyers. The associations mandate rules and property use restrictions that are generally conceived of to maintain a certain appearance, maintenance-level, and property value. They are purposed for the common good of the purchasers of the properties within the development.

However, the advantages of an association do not come free of charge. Regular maintenance, improvements, and repairs cost money. For the regular maintenance performance, monthly or annual dues usually travel hand-in-hand with association membership. For repairs, improvements, and upgrades, you may, as homeowner, encounter a dues increase, fee, or one-time assessment.

That is, a bill you have to pay that may be on the high side and which you perhaps did not expect to receive.

What do you do when you believe that the association does not have the right to request such a payment?

Michigan Association Fees: Can They Be Changed?

The first important to thing to remember is that everything your association does must be supported by the governing documents that were drafted to create the association or by way of proper association board procedure at its regular meetings.

What are these governing documents? They are:

  • Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs):
  • Bylaws
  • Rules & Regulations

CC&Rs are a binding document covering legal, insurance, property use, and other obligations of the association and are filed with the state. They can be changed only by a vote of a the full association membership.

Bylaws establish the procedural guidelines for the operation of the association: how often board elections are held, how members are voted in, and so forth. These also require a vote by the full association membership to revise.

Rules and regulations, on the other hand, cover all of the other topics that the CC&Rs and bylaws do not. They can be changed by an association board vote.

The second important thing to remember is that every restriction or rule can be changed, generally, one way or another. 

That does mean an assessment or other demand is proper in every instance.

Michigan Association Fees: The Bottom Line

If you have received a request for an assessment or notice of a dues increase and are concerned that it is improper or is not authorized by the governing documents or a pertinent membership or board vote, an experienced Michigan real estate attorney can review the governing documents and the minutes of the board meeting or meetings where the vote was alleged to have been cast to determine if the request for your payment has the proper foundation.

If you are a Michigan resident and would like to discuss your dues increase or homeowners association or condominium association assessment with an experienced Livonia Michigan real estate attorney, please contact us at (866) 674-2317 or click the button below to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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