If you are the sponsor or are on the board of a community association, you most certainly have legal needs. If the association is a condominium association and it is just being formed, you will need governing documents, including a master deed and bylaws. The master deed will address such things as creation of the condominium, provide definitions of the unit and the common elements, determine how the property is to be managed, obligate unit owners to be members, specify the unit owner’s financial obligations, set forth respective rights and responsibilities of the association and the unit owners and transfer of units, and establish guidelines for transfer. Part of the master deed is the bylaws which govern the administration and operation of the condominium, establishes the relationship between the unit owners and the association and between the association and the board, the rights and obligations of the members and the duties and power of the board and officers of the association, the calling and conduct of meetings, the imposition and collection of the common expense assessments and distributing surplus, and the rules and regulations of the association. If you have existing governing documents, it is recommended that these documents be reviewed and updated from time to time based on prevailing law and the needs of the community.
If the governing body of the community is a homeowner’s association, each homeowner owns his/her land. The homeowner’s association will be subject to the terms of a declaration, which is less extensive than a condominium association, allowing the homeowner greater freedom to maintain and repair their homes since they are individually responsible for the costs, thereby lessening the need for the association to be significantly involved in aesthetics and operational issues. Common areas will be owned by the association.
As a board, you will need to deal initially with transition of control of the association from the sponsor (often the builder of the complex) to the unit owners. You may also have to deal with construction defects. You will also need to address issues such as the duties and liabilities of board members, including fiduciary responsibilities, insurance requirements, compliance with law and regulations affecting associations, collections, contract review and negotiation, and dispute resolution.
We at the Beinhaker Law Firm are available to draft and/or revise the necessary documents for your association. We can also assist with the day to day functions of running a successful association and the legal issues that may arise.