Condominiums are a very viable real estate and living option for many people. Most standard real estate contracts either have language in them about condominium property, or there are specific condo riders. It’s recommended that the contract provide that buyer and/or their attorney be permitted to review the condominium association’s bylaws within a specific period of time so that the contract can be declared null and void if the bylaws aren’t satisfactory.
The Condominium HOA
Every condominium has a homeowner association (HOA) that’s often referred to as a condominium association. That HOA is a legal entity, and it can sue or be sued. It collects HOA assessments, makes day to day business and maintenance decisions, enters into contracts, enforces rules in the bylaws, asserts liens for unpaid assessments and can even bring an action for foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments. All powers of the HOA and its limitations are embodied in the HOA bylaws.
HOA bylaws are legally binding on the members of the HOA. Those members are condominium owners. They vote on bylaws at condominium association meetings. Bylaws expand on the declaration of condominium that was registered or recorded by the developer of the property. What the declaration of condominium doesn’t address is controlled by the bylaws. They set forth the benefits to and obligations of the owners and what power the board of directors of the HOA has in its purse. Once you buy condominium property, you have a legal duty to comply with the bylaws of the HOA. Whether you’ve reviewed the bylaws or not, at the time you take ownership of that condominium property, there’s a presumption in Oklahoma law that you’ve reviewed them and will comply with them.
The Fiduciary Relationship
Those serving on the board of the HOA have a fiduciary duty of trust to work in the best interests of the HOA and the owners. In short, they must act with care and in good faith while avoiding any conflicts of interest. If the common elements of the condominium property are neglected or fall into disrepair the HOA must follow its own rules. A judge can order the HOA to do so.
Remember that the condominium law is complex, and lawsuits can get expensive. Have us review a current set of the bylaws for any condominium property before you buy. Contact Robert Robles today at 405-232-7980.