Robert M. Meisner: The existence of HOA surprises the real estate buyer | Company


Q: The developer in our community started a homeowners association about 20 years ago, but went bankrupt shortly after selling only a few homes. Subsequent purchasers of lots, including myself, never received incorporation documents and had no idea an HOA existed.

Now a few owners have suddenly nominated themselves to the board and are trying to enforce the restrictions in the statement against me. Can they do this? Can we get rid of the HOA?


A: On the face of it, this power grab you describe doesn’t make sense, and I highly doubt any judge would consider the actions taken by this self-appointed council to be legitimate or enforceable.

Even setting aside the question of whether the restrictions themselves are enforceable after they haven’t been enforced for so many years (which I doubt), the whole of the so-called “advice” hasn’t was elected by anyone.

It is also likely that the association’s corporate status has been dissolved, as it is reasonable to assume that no one has filed annual returns with the state for many years.

Thus, the association probably does not exist as a legal entity. This further complicates any efforts that might be made against you.

I encourage you to review the Articles of Incorporation, including the Declaration, Articles (if they can be located), and the Articles of Incorporation in their entirety before pursuing a vote or legal action to void the declaration.

There are many benefits to living in a community association, and most of the provisions of the governing documents may benefit you.

There may be a compromise that could be reached with the other owners regarding your alleged “violation” so that you can support the re-establishment of the HOA.

You must obtain representation from an experienced community association lawyer without delay so that you can defend yourself against these aggressive and undemocratic tactics adopted by these individuals and determine the best course of action for you and your neighbors.

Robert M. Meisner is the lead attorney for the Meisner Law Group, based in Bingham Farms, Michigan. The group provides legal representation for condominiums, homeowners associations, individual condominium owners, and developers throughout Michigan, including Grand Traverse, Emmet, and Leelanau counties. His book “Condo Living 2: The Authoritative Guide to Buying, Owning and Selling a Condominium” is available at He can be reached at 800-470-4433 or [email protected].


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