M.G. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our Association is being told that we must update our bylaws and Declaration to comply with current CT law. Our governing documents were written using the Unit Ownership Act. What changes do we have to make?
Mister Condo replies:
M.G., since I am not an attorney, I can’t offer you a legal opinion on what bylaw changes you may need. I will say that it is quite likely that the laws effecting the governance of your association have changed since the association was formed and that both state and federal laws supersede your documents whether they are updated or not. Many associations have chosen to either update their bylaws or do what is known as a bylaw document overlay, which modifies existing bylaws and adds state laws to the association’s governance documents. Either is acceptable. Even if the association takes no action, please understand that the association is still bound to all applicable laws and that association owners may have new rights under the new laws. The reason the updating of the bylaws is useful to the association is so that it doesn’t find itself in court defending an action it took against a unit owner who actually acted properly under the law even if the law didn’t agree with the association’s bylaws. Consult with your community association attorney for a more legal explanation but understand that updating the bylaws to conform with current state law is likely the best course for your association. All the best!