Virginia Supreme Court focuses on authority of Association Board to impose charges or suspensions

Recently in a Fairfax County case involving the Shadowood Condominium Association the Court examined whether or not the board could assess charges against an owner for failing to submit a unit owner status report required by the Association and for violations of rules by the unit owner’s tenants.  It appears that this association’s documents had not adopted the provisions provided in the Virginia Condominium Act authorizing the assessment of charges for rules violations. In fact the Master Deed provides that “no common expense or other sums shall be assessed….other than for the maintenance, repair, replacement or improvement of the general common elements….”

The Board was apparently relying on the omnibus powers clause found in many documents authorizing the Board to take such actions as are needed to operate the association. The Supreme Court upheld the Circuit Court’s determination that the Shadowood board had exceeded its authority in levying the charges against the unit owner.

Lesson to be learned; action required - The lesson to be learned here is that each association needs to make sure that it has provisions in its governing documents which adopt the language set forth in Sections 55-79.80:2 of the Condominium Act or Section 55-513 (B) of the VA Property Owners Association Act.  To be free from challenge this must be done by declaration amendment pursuant to the amendment provisions in the documents.  This is especially important for older documents that predate the statute which was passed in 1993. If you need for us to review your documents to make a determination for your association we are pleased to do so for a minimal cost.  Hopefully you will not need an amendment but, if you do, we can assist you in working through that process.

 

Should you have questions about the above information please do not hesitate to email us or give us a call.

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