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Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court Ruling That Homeowners Association Membership Requirement Expired

Aug 7, 2017

Phillip J. Neuman, a partner at Couzens Lansky, represented the plaintiffs in the case

On June 22, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a unanimous per curiam decision affirming the ruling of the Oakland County Circuit Court that membership in a homeowners association became voluntary when the recorded restrictions requiring membership expired by their terms. The plaintiffs in the case sought a declaratory judgment that they were not required to join the homeowners association when the recorded restrictions expired in 1986. The homeowners association contended that the restrictions were actually renewed in the context of various association corporate documents, including a Certificate of Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation of the association. The trial court rejected this argument and the Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. The Court of Appeals also rejected the association’s claim that the doctrine of reciprocal negative easements applies to enforce the covenants regarding membership and maintenance fee requirements. The Court noted that the recorded restrictions expired and were never renewed, and therefore none of the homeowners are subject to the covenant to be fees-paying members of the association after that time.

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