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 Vernon Park Association v Chantelle Clark, Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 323445 (December 29, 2015) (Unpublished) and The Mt. Vernon Park Association v Patricia Williams, Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 323482 (December 29, 2015) (Unpublished), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a Michigan Condominium Association could not create rules and regulations that were inconsistent with the maintenance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) 478-1800 or kevin@hirzellaw.com.