B.M. from Oakland County, Michigan writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have bylaws that are very old and there are some that need to be changed to keep with current times. The presidents and some of the board members feel that it is too expensive to change some bylaws versus amending some of the bylaws. I feel this has to be done by an attorney and the Board thinks the costs are very prohibitive. I disagree. I believe this could be rewritten or amended by either a board member or member of the Association and have an attorney look it over to be sure that it is legal and to use certain legalese in order to confirm that the particular amendments or new bylaws are, in fact, appropriate. Is there anything else I need to know so I can bring this up again to the board? We do have our own attorney that represents our association. I have not asked him about what he would charge to help re-write or amend certain bylaws. Please share your thoughts. Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
B.M., modern times do require a modern solution, don’t they? Your association is certainly not alone in having by-laws that are old and out of date. Many condominium associations were formed before email and the internet were even available so, of course, these modern communication methods weren’t provided for. Even ACH and direct deposit for common fees weren’t readily available in the day. You are wise to seek the counsel of a locally qualified attorney, preferably one who specializes in Michigan community association law. Better yet, work with an attorney who is also a member of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and/or the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). These attorneys have dedicated their practice to working with associations just like yours. There are several solutions to the issue. To do nothing is not a good strategy. Talk to your attorney about the costs associated with a full document rewrite (may be expensive) or a document overlay (less expensive) where the attorney reviews the documents and suggests an overlay to those items that are out of date and/or in conflict with state law. This solution may be best for your association as it not only helps the Board make better (and legal) decisions but it also alerts unit owners to changes in the law that have an effect on them. My guess is that this expense will pay benefits for years to come. All the best!