Community associations perform similar functions to municipalities, sometimes providing a higher level of services and amenities. As a result, regardless of the size of an association, operations may be fairly complex. Winer & Bennett’s skilled team of attorneys are well-suited to provide guidance and assistance in every aspect of operations.
Condominium Instrument Enforcement
The governing board of an association has a fiduciary duty to enforce the association’s documents and each unit owner or resident has a legal obligation to abide by those documents. Unfortunately, through mistake, lack of knowledge or the occasional willful defiance, members of the community do break rules and engage in misconduct. While the types of misconduct that occur seem limited only by the human imagination, Winer & Bennett can assist associations with establishing in-house policies and procedures for handling such situations with due concern for efficiency and fairness. Should more formal legal action be required, our team of attorneys are available to quickly address issues and to bring them to resolution short of litigation or, if necessary, in the court system.
The creation and enforcement of rules and regulations is a topic that our team of attorneys not only publishes articles on, but also teaches at industry-related seminars and events. Should our clients need such assistance, our attorneys can afford a private audience for the review of comprehensive programs on this subject as well as tailoring the information to create the particular rules, regulations, policies and procedures desired by the association. In accord with our overall philosophy of problem avoidance, our rules and policies will be designed not just to comply with law but also to provide a route to resolution and not further controversy.
The enforcement of the condominium instruments sometimes highlights the “mini-municipality” aspect of associations. For instance, a unit owner’s misconduct may also implicate or violate criminal law or the local regulations in the health, building or zoning codes. Our attorneys have experience utilizing the assistance of municipal officials, where applicable, to assist the association in achieving its goals of enforcing the restrictions on the property. Although not all municipal officials are willing to be involved, they should not be overlooked as their assistance is a potential asset. Conversely, we have experience in protecting our association clients in instances in which the municipality becomes over involved and seeks to hold the association responsible for the actions of a unit owner.
The condominium instruments place responsibilities on the association as well as the unit owners. Typical instruments contain provisions relating to required board actions on topics such as: annual meetings; special meetings; budgets; assessments and collection of assessments; rules enforcement and fines; and hiring of vendors. The Winer & Bennett condominium team can assist your association with compliance regarding proper notice and procedures for accomplishing meetings and other tasks. Our attorneys are available to moderate meetings of all sizes and types and have experience maintaining the proper decorum while efficiently attending to the business on the agenda. We can provide guidance regarding development of the budget as well as the best strategies for levying and collecting assessments to maximize results. Through years of experience in dealing with a variety of professionals in the industry, we can provide multiple potential references for vendor services from accounting to contracting to property management and more. We can also review and negotiate contracts to ensure proper protection of the association’s interests.
Our attorneys can also quickly and cost-effectively prepare many administrative documents needed by associations including 6(d) certificates, certificates of account balances and certificates of election/appointment of board members, as well as certificates of mailing address for the association. The timely preparation, filing and, where applicable, recording of such documents assists the association in the ability to conduct uninterrupted operations as well as to receive important notices impacting the association’s legal rights.