Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When should you call your association attorney?

No one is interested in spending unnecessarily or unwisely in this economy but the old axiom "penny wise and dollar foolish" still holds true. Most people resist calling their attorney in all but the most dire circumstances but your board can't afford not to get your association attorney involved early when taking any of the following actions:

1. Disapproving potential buyers, tenants or other guests;

2. Responding to an accommodation request for an alleged disability;

3. Amending the governing documents;

4. Materially altering the common elements (yes, something as simple as changing the hallway paint color is a material alteration requiring membership approval);

5. Levying a special assessment;

6. Creating rules that will impact an owner's use of his or her unit/home and/or the common elements/areas;

7. Levying a fine;

8. Responding to a complaint filed with the Division against the association;

9. Signing any contract (even the seemingly inexpensive ones may contain hidden clauses obligating the association for more expensive services for years to come);

10. Pursuing a delinquent owner;

11. Pursuing an owner for a violation of the governing documents;

12. Purchasing or leasing property on behalf of the association;

13. Granting, altering or terminating easements;

14. Filing an insurance claim;

15. Exercising emergency powers;

16. Borrowing money;

17. Waiving Reserves;

18. Attempting to preserve or reinstate the governing documents; and

19. Creating and sending out the annual meeting and election notice package.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive. Each association's need for legal counsel differs but a general rule of thumb is that if you think it might be a good idea to call your attorney to confirm that what you are contemplating is legal then it is a good idea!

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