Changing Unlimited Condo Trustee Term of Service to Limited

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M.C. from Massachusetts writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our condo docs provide for an unlimited Trustee term of service. Some owners want to change this to a fixed term (let’s say 24 months). The condo docs require 75% owner approval to do this, if 75% of owners agree and make this change how does it affect the current Board of Trustees that were elected with no fixed term? Are they subject to the change made after they were elected, or does the change only effect newly elected Trustees?

Mister Condo replies:

M.C., modification of condo documents can be a bit tricky as you are experiencing. There may be no better time to consult with your community association attorney than right now. If you enact changes that are not congruent with current state law or not in accordance with your governing documents, the association could easily find itself defending against a lawsuit from an irate owner. This is one area where community association attorneys truly earn their keep and should be thought of as a valuable player on your team. Yes, there will be cost but the cost is nothing compared to the expense of defending against a lawsuit in the future. My non-legal opinion is that once the rule is properly enacted and the by-laws are changed, the new by-laws will dictate the behavior of those Trustees who were in office before the rule was changed. Again, that is my friendly opinion and not a legal opinion. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in my column. Good luck!

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