Alleged violation of condo bylaws, a master deed, & applicable policy rules; MCL 559.153; Tuscany Grove Ass’n v. Peraino; MCL 559.206(a); Property owners’ freedom to attempt to enhance the value of their property by contract; Terrien v. Zwit; A covenant as a contract; Village of Hickory Pointe Homeowners Ass’n v. Smyk; Nature of the injunctive relief sought; Whether plaintiff-condo association had the authority under the master deed, bylaws, or the entrance door policy to make its demands; Principle that defendant became subject to the requirements when she purchased her unit; MCL 559.165; Whether the violations were waived; Whether discovery had a fair chance of uncovering factual support for defendant’s position; Caron v. Cranbrook Educ. Cmty.; Attorney fees & costs incurred on appeal; MCL 559.206(b); Windemere Commons I Ass’n v. O’Brien
Concluding that plaintiff-condo association (FPA) had the authority under the master deed, bylaws, and entrance door policy to make the demands it made, and that the features of defendant’s door were inconsistent with FPA’s requirements, the court held that when she refused to make the requested changes, she violated the policy. Thus, FPA was entitled to injunctive relief as a matter of law. Further, whether she made any of the alterations or modifications herself was irrelevant. The court also rejected her waiver argument and found that she failed to show discovery stood a fair chance of turning up factual support for her position. Finally, it held that FPA was entitled to remand for a determination of the attorney fees and costs it incurred on appeal. The policy “requires ‘door handles’ to ‘be polished or bright brass in color.’” Thus, FPA was authorized to demand that defendant’s door handle be brass in color. The handle she “installed was pewter colored” and not in compliance. The policy also stated that “there must be approval of any modifications or alterations to a door, ‘including but not limited to locks, door numbers, handles . . . .’ This language effectively gives FPA the authority to dictate specific requirements regarding the shape of a lock, the size and style of address numbers, and the color of a door through the application and approval process.” The expressed purpose of the policy was “to ‘maintain the aesthetic appearance’ of the development.” FPA had the authority to require that defendant’s entrance door match others in the condo project in order to maintain the development’s aesthetic appearance. There was no dispute about the inconsistencies between defendant’s door (the shape of the lock, the color of the door, and the style and size of the address numbers) and FPA’s requirements. Further, while the master deed permitted an owner “to make improvements or alterations that do not impair or diminish the appearance of” the condo project, neither defendant “nor the former owner went through the required procedure of seeking FPA approval.” While she did not make any “changes to the color of the door, the address numbers, and to the lock” after buying her unit, when she bought it “she became subject to the requirements of the master deed and the bylaws, and the entrance door policy was not even adopted until after” her purchase. Summary disposition for plaintiff was affirmed.
Full Text Opinion
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012