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Michigan Court of Appeals Rules that Condominium Rules and Regulations Cannot Supersede the Master Deed and Bylaws

In The Mt. Vernon Park Association v Chantelle Clark, Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 323445 (December 29, 2015) (Unpublished) and The Mt. Vernon Park Association v Patricia Williams, Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 323482 (December 29, 2015) (Unpublished), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a Michigan Condominium Association could not create rules and regulations that were inconsistent with the maintenance responsibilities set forth in the Master Deed and Condominium Bylaws.  Specifically, the Mt. Vernon Park Association adopted a rule and regulation that required all co-owners to paint their front doors dark brown.  The co-owners argued that the Master Deed and Bylaws placed the responsibility for the cost of maintenance, repair and replacement of the door on the Association, even though the door was a limited common element.  The Court of Appeals held that the clear and unambiguous language of the Master Deed placed responsibility for the cost of maintenance, repair and replacement of the door on the Association even though the door was a limited common element.  The Court of Appeals held that the Association was free to adopt a rule indicating that all doors must be painted dark brown, but that the Association could not alter the responsibility to pay for the painting costs of the doors in a manner that was contrary to the Master Deed and Condominium Bylaws.  The Court of Appeals cited Meadow Bridge Condo Ass’n v Bosca, 187 Mich App 280, 282; 466 NW2d 303 (1990), which had previously held that “a rule or regulation is a tool to implement or manage existing structural law” and that a rule could not be inconsistent with the existing Master Deed or Bylaws. Accordingly, Michigan Condominium Associations should only adopt and enforce rules and regulations that are consistent with the Master Deed and Bylaws or amend the Master Deed and Bylaws if they are seeking to alter maintenance responsibilities.

 Kevin Hirzel is the Managing Member of Hirzel Law, PLC and concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, community association law, condominium law, Fair Housing Act compliance, homeowners association and real estate law. Mr. Hirzel is a fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers, a prestigious designation given to less than 175 attorneys in the country.  He has been a Michigan Super Lawyer’s Rising Star in Real Estate Law from 2013-2018, an award given to only 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. Mr. Hirzel was named an Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly in 2015, an award given to only 30 attorneys in Michigan each year. He represents community associations, condominium associations, cooperatives, homeowners associations, property owners and property managers throughout Michigan. He may be reached at (248) 480-8758 or kevin@hirzellaw.com.

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kevin@hirzellaw.com

Kevin Hirzel is the Managing Member of Hirzel Law, PLC. Hirzel Law has offices in Farmington, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City and services clients throughout the State of Michigan. Mr. Hirzel focuses his practice on condominium law, homeowners association law, and real estate law. He is a fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers (“CCAL”), a prestigious designation given to less than 175 attorneys in the country. Mr. Hirzel formerly served on the CCAL National Board of Governors and is a former member of the Community Associations Institute’s (“CAI”) Board of Trustees, an international organization with over 40,000 members worldwide that is dedicated to improving community associations. Mr. Hirzel has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Michigan by Leading Lawyers, a distinction earned by fewer than 5% of all lawyers licensed in Michigan. He has been named a Michigan “Rising Star” in real estate law by Super Lawyers Magazine, a designation is given to no more than 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. Mr. Hirzel was also named as a “Go-To-Lawyer” in condominium and real estate law by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly. Hirzel Law was also voted the best law firm in Metro Detroit in the Detroit Free Press Best of the Best awards. He is the Co-Chairman of the State Bar of Michigan’s Real Property Law Section Committee for Condominiums, PUDs & Cooperatives. Mr. Hirzel has authored numerous articles on community association law for publications such as the Michigan Community Association News, Michigan Real Property Review, Macomb County Bar Briefs and the Washington Post. He is also the author of “Hirzel’s Handbook: How to operate a Michigan Condo or HOA”, which is available for purchase on amazon.com. Mr. Hirzel has been interviewed on community association legal issues by various media outlets throughout the country, such as CBS, CNBC, Common Ground Magazine, Community Association Management Insider, the Dan Abrams Show on SiriusXM Radio, the Detroit News, Dr. Drew Midday Live on KABC Radio, Fox Business News, Fox News, HOALeader.com, the Law & Crime Network, Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly, NPR, WWJ News Radio and WXYZ. Mr. Hirzel is a dynamic speaker and frequently lectures on community association law throughout Michigan, as well as nationally at the CAI National Law Seminar, and is a two-time winner of the best manuscript award at the CAI National Law Seminar.

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