The Michigan Court of Appeals recently had the occasion to reinforce the rule that condominium associations are governed by their bylaws. Those bylaws dictate the right of the co-owners in the condo complex.
In Tuscany Gove Association v. Peraino, Docket No. 320685 (July 14, 2015), the condominium board sued a co-owner who was violating restriction against fences. The condominium bylaws required the board to obtain approval from 66 2/3% of the co-owners before incurring any legal expenses with respect to any litigation. The lower court never had to consider whether the defendant was actually violating the fence restrictions. Instead, the defendant had the case thrown out because the board did not get the required approval of the co-owners BEFORE filing suit. Even though the board later got 73.7% of the co-owners to approve the filing of the lawsuit, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the lawsuit.
The Court of Appeals pointed out that requiring the Board to get approval of 66 2/3% of the co-owners is "nothing more than a reasonable effort to protect the [condo] owners' financial interests." If the condo owners believed that this requirement restricted the board's ability to enforce the bylaws, the Court of Appeals suggested that the "co-owners ... amend the bylaws to their liking."