The Role of Management Companies During Michigan’s COVID-19 Shutdown

As everyone is likely aware, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed EO2020-21. EO2020-21 which prohibits in person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life or conduct minimum basic operations of your business. The violation of this Order constitutes a misdemeanor. That’s great, but what does that actually mean?

In the property management industry those minimum operations could include things like the processing of accounts payable and receivable, responding to incoming telephone calls (especially maintenance calls) and other functions deemed necessary to assist individual managers working from home. The key to minimum operations according to EO2020-21 is “minimum”. The fewest number of people required to maintain the necessary tasks and those people observing the tenets of social distancing.

Property Managers should be working from home. No site visits, no in-person Board meetings, and no annual meetings should be taking place. No projects (i.e. roads, roofs, etc.) should be underway, nor should any contractors be visiting sites to produce bids (if they are, Property Managers should not be supervising or accompanying the contractors and/or workers).

With that said, for every rule there are exceptions. The Governor has deemed certain service providers, such as plumbers, and, of course, emergency personnel, exempt from the “shutdown” aspect of this Order. In other words, if you encounter an emergent situation such as a flood or fire, you should be taking normal measures to handle the emergency and mitigate possible damages.

If you have urgent matters requiring discussion with your Boards, consider using conference call or virtual meeting technology. If there are exigent circumstances leading you to not want to delay a co-owner vote, consider electronic voting measures (as long as they are permitted within the documents). If you need help interpreting the EO2020-21 relating to your concerns or needs, contact us. We will be happy to provide additional guidance.

This is unchartered territory for all of us but we will get through it together. Please stay safe and know that all of us at Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC are here to help you in any way we can.

 

Stacia A. Miller is an associate attorney and joined the Firm in 2017. Prior to her legal career, Ms. Miller served in the United States Navy on active duty from 1994 to 1997 and achieved the rank of Petty Officer Third Class.  From 1997 to 1999, she served in the Naval Reserve as an Aviation Warfare specialized Yeoman.  During her active duty service, Ms. Miller earned a Bachelor Degree from Troy State University in Criminology.  After leaving the Navy, she earned a Master’s Degree in Paralegal Studies/Business Law from Kaplan University (Purdue), followed by a Juris Doctorate degree from Wayne State University in 2015.

Ms. Miller brings a unique perspective to her role as a community association attorney, having previously worked in the field of property management for associations.  She worked in on-site property management for a small company, as well as in an accounting and customer service capacity for one of the largest management companies in Michigan. In her later experience working as a paralegal/law

clerk, Ms. Miller gained significant experience with collections matters, bylaws enforcement, FHA and VA certification, and document amendments.

Ms. Miller is also the director of a veteran-centric non-profit organization, and a published author.  She spends her free time on Lake St. Clair with her husband, five children (including two adoptees), three step-children, and their many friends.  She is an avid Cowboys fan, originally hailing from Dallas, but has joyfully adopted the Lions and Red Wings as her home teams.

Please visit www.zdfattorneys.com for additional information about all of our Firm’s attorneys.

Posted in Condominiums, Education, Firm News, HOAs, Hot Topics | Leave a comment

COVID-19 AND COLLECTIONS – HOW TO PREPARE YOUR ASSOCIATION FOR A POSSIBLE SPIKE IN DELINQUENCIES

By Gregory J. Fioritto, Esq.

Prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Associations were experiencing record-low levels of owner delinquencies.  This is the expected result of a national (and local) economy that improved by leaps and bounds from the dark days of The Great Recession of 2007-2009.  Indeed, prior to the recent unprecedented turn of events, it was not uncommon for many Associations to have no delinquencies at all.

If the expected unemployment forecasts for the next six months hold, the COVID-19 crisis may present a sudden and significant increase in the level of delinquencies for condominium and homeowners Associations across the State of Michigan.

Fortunately, Boards should have at least a few months “lag time” before a potential recession takes firm hold of our State’s economy and starts significantly increasing Owner delinquencies.

We would recommend that Boards take the following steps in preparation for a possible increase in delinquencies:

  1. EXAMINE (AND ADJUST) YOUR 2020 BUDGET AND EXPENDITURES: A COVID-19 recession could hurt an Association in two primary ways – a decrease in the amount of assessments collected (income), and an increase in administrative costs incurred in pursuing delinquencies (expenses).

These sudden (and perhaps drastic) changes in an Association’s income and expenses could put a real damper on its financial health.

In light of this new reality, Boards should consider reducing, deferring or eliminating any unnecessary capital expenditures or costly projects that may have been planned for the year.  The Board will have to exercise its best business judgment in deciding how to re-prioritize such expenditures and projects in view of the changed financial landscape.

Given the dearth of delinquencies in recent years, many Association may have allocated very little funds to collections matters (relatively speaking) in their 2020 budgets.  Boards should review the current allocation of funds to collections matters in their 2020 budgets and consider adjusting the budget to allocate a larger share of funds to collections efforts than was originally planned.   Such re-allocations could perhaps come from excess funds that the Board had planned to put in reserves, or from contingency line items in the existing budget.

The Board, with the support and input of qualified financial professionals, should continue to monitor the COVID-19 crisis and make further adjustments to income projections and expenditures as needed through the remainder of 2020.

 

  1. REVIEW YOUR COLLECTIONS POLICY (OR ADOPT ONE):

We recommend that all Associations have a collections policy in place at all times so that the procedures and standards that the Board will apply in pursuing collections matters are clearly understood by all and fairly administered.

If an Association has not had a policy in place to date, then it should consider adopting one.  If it already has a policy, then it should consider whether or not the policy needs to be amended to best suit the needs of the Board and the Association in the current crisis.

For example, a policy that currently provides for delinquencies to be turned over to the Association’s attorney after 90 days may need to be shortened to require such turnover after 60 days if the Board decides that a more aggressive approach is warranted.

If the Board plans on granting concessions to those Owners who are hardest hit by this crisis, then the standards that the Board will apply in granting such concessions should be laid out in their policy.  For example, the policy could provide that a delinquent Owner whose financial hardship is directly related to the Owner (or one of their family members) contracting COVID-19 is eligible for a payment plan of a longer term, or automatic forgiveness of all late charges on their account.

 

  1. PLAN AND REVISE YOUR 2021 BUDGET:

Again, given the very low overall level of Association delinquencies in recent years, an Association’s 2020 budget may well have been rendered obsolete in many ways, especially in regard to expenditures related to delinquencies.

Boards should plan their 2021 budgets to account for expected decreases in income and increased delinquency-related expenditures.  As we move through 2020, Board should gain a better understanding of just how large these budget adjustments will need to be.

For further guidance on how to plan their 2021 budgets, Boards may be well-served to examine old budgets from years past (say, from 2007-2015) to gauge how their 2021 budgets may need to be adjusted to properly manage the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

  1. REVIEW YOUR RELATIONHIPS AND CONTRACTS WITH YOUR ASSOCIATION’S COLLECTIONS PROFESSIONALS:

It almost goes without saying that (ideally) every Association should already have experienced and qualified professionals in place to handle their collections matters.

If an Association has sustained good financial health through the recent economic recovery, the Association’s Board may not even know which firm or collections agent their Association has used in the past to handle their delinquencies.

Each Board should review the existing relationships (and contracts) with their collections professionals/attorneys and make sure that such professionals are well-versed in handling Association collections issues and that the Board is comfortable with the existing contractual arrangement with such professionals (e.g., how much they charge, which methods of collections they employ, etc.)

 

  1. REACH OUT TO THE MEMBERSHIP AHEAD OF TIME:

As with almost all Association issues, good communication (i.e., open, honest and transparent) between the membership and the Board can go a very long way.

In the collections context, this may mean that the Board mails (or re-mails) a copy of the Association’s collections policy to the membership so that all Owners are aware of how such matters will be handled by the Board and its agents.

It may also mean that the Board keeps the Association apprised on a regular basis as to the total amount of current Association delinquencies, so that all Owners are aware of the impact that the pandemic may be having on the Association’s financial status.

Of course, it bears mentioning that the Board should never disclose specific information about individual Owner delinquencies to the membership at large, as such disclosures could result in violations of the Owner’s right to privacy, generate ill will, and create possible legal liability for the Association and the Board.

In sum:  the bad news is that Michigan Associations are likely to face an increase in Owner delinquencies through the remainder of 2020, and perhaps beyond.  The good news is that there is still time for Boards to take action now to minimize the adverse impact that COVID-19 may have on their Association’s financial health.

 

Gregory J. Fioritto is a partner with the Firm.  He graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with High Distinction in 1997, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and received numerous honors, including Phi Beta Kappa and recognition as an Angell Scholar.  Mr. Fioritto earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School in 2000.  He joined the Firm in 2003 and has spent nearly his entire legal career practicing in the field of condominium, HOA and community association law.

Mr. Fioritto has extensive experience in virtually every facet of condominium and HOA law, including, but not limited to: drafting master deed and bylaw amendments and guiding associations through the amendment process, drafting rental restriction amendments (including rental caps and bans), managing condominium conversions, handling Fair Housing disputes and claims, counseling boards and managers on insurance and casualty loss matters, collecting  assessments, conducting lien foreclosures, assisting associations with bylaw enforcement, and the handling of FHA certification issues.

He is also well-versed in the many developer-related matters that can and do affect associations, including the application of the Condominium Act and other laws to “unfinished” condominium and HOA projects, “transition of control” issues, defect litigation, and the enforcement of association rights in developer disputes.  He has significant expertise in assisting new associations with maximizing and protecting their legal rights and leverage in transition negotiations with new project developers and builders.

Mr. Fioritto has attended literally hundreds of board and association meetings over the course of his career.  His experience has given him a particular interest in educating co-owners and board members on the many benefits of the proper application and use of parliamentary procedure at meetings.

He has lectured on a frequent basis for many years on condominium and HOA-related topics at seminars sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the United Condominium Owners of Michigan (UCOM).

As a partner with the firm, Mr. Fioritto helped pioneer the firm’s exclusive “Condo & HOA B.E.A.T. (Board Education and Training)” program, an ongoing monthly series of free educational sessions held in Canton and Mt. Clemens and which are open to all (not just firm clients).

In further service of the firm’s dedication to the ongoing education of condominium and HOA boards and their association members, Mr. Fioritto recently helped create the firm’s “Neighborhood Know How” educational program.  As part of this program, the firm provides valuable free educational sessions in conjunction with local municipalities.

In addition to community association law, Mr. Fioritto has experience with commercial and residential real estate transactions and small business formation (including corporations and limited liability companies).

Mr. Fioritto currently serves as President of his own condominium association in Canton, Michigan.  His years of service on his own Michigan condominium board give him a unique and more complete perspective among attorneys of the many practical problems and legal issues that are encountered by community association boards on a daily basis.

He enjoys spending his free time with his two sons, attending Michigan football games (Go Blue!) as well as vacationing up north in the state’s “thumb area.”

Posted in Condominiums, Education, Firm News, HOAs, Hot Topics | Leave a comment

Governor Suspends Rental Evictions

With the advent of the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, and all other Executive Orders issued by Governor Whitmer, many folks are finding themselves without a paycheck to pay for necessary expenses, including rent.

The City of Detroit recognized early that the shutdown of business was going to be a problem and the District Court Chief Judge issued a moratorium on all evictions in the 36th District Court in early March, 2020. President Trump took similar action a few days later by suspending all evictions and foreclosures involving the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development properties.

Governor Whitmer announced a State of Emergency in Michigan on March 10, 2020, extended the tax foreclosure deadline in Michigan until after May 29, 2020, and then, on March 20, 2020, issued her Executive Order 2020-19 which temporarily prohibits the eviction of a tenant from their house or mobile home.

Under the terms of the Executive Order, a landlord is prohibited from evicting a tenant from the rental property except in the case where the tenant poses a substantial risk to others or imminent and severe risk to the property. The Order is effective until the end of the day on April 17, 2020. The Order may be extended by the governor at any time.

This Order does not mean that the tenant is no longer obligated to pay rent or comply with all statutes or terms of the lease. It just means that they cannot be removed from the property until the Order expires. It should also be noted that the Order prohibits any attempt to personally serve or deliver a demand for payment to the tenant during the moratorium period. The governor does not want parties meeting face to face at this time or at least until after April 17.

If a landlord has already obtained a writ to take back possession of the property pursuant to a previously obtained judgment, the landlord is prohibited from executing on that order in attempting to remove the tenant from the property. Again, unless the tenant poses an imminent risk to others or the premises. All court officers are prohibited from serving those writs and orders until after April 17. Further, the landlord may not prohibit the tenant from accessing the leased premises during this moratorium.

If a landlord has already filed an eviction action or has served a notice or taken some other action which requires the eviction to move forward, all statutory requirements or limits on the Courts to move forward are adjourned and tolled for 30 days and the deadlines are suspended. This means that if a landlord has already filed an action, the date for the hearing on that action will not occur until after the moratorium has expired and the statutory requirement that the hearing be held within a certain period of time is suspended.

Everyone should understand that a willful violation of any of the terms of the governor’s Order is considered a misdemeanor and will be prosecuted.

This moratorium period is not to be considered a tenant’s rent-free holiday. Once the Order has expired, all proceedings may and are expected to move forward. As such, tenants should, if they can, take this time to try and raise the past due rent or correct the violations which led to the impending eviction. Landlords should take this time to make sure that they have taken all appropriate steps in the eviction process and be prepared to proceed, if necessary, once the moratorium has been lifted.

If you have questions with regard to how the Governor’s Executive Order affects your landlord-tenant relationship, please contact us at your earliest convenience.  Our experienced attorneys are available to assist you through this process during these unique times.

Shane F. Diehl is a senior associate attorney with the Firm and has been with the Firm since 2008.  He has over 26 years of experience in representing condominium, subdivision and co-operative associations in Southeast Michigan and has represented hundreds of such associations in addressing all aspects of community association representation.  In addition, Mr. Diehl has 10 years of experience in the banking industry and is a former instructor for the American Institute of Banking.  He also has extensive experience in estate planning, and has served as an officer, trustee and member of numerous non-profit and civic organizations, including the Four County Community Foundation and the Armada Village Planning Commission. Mr. Diehl resides in Armada, Michigan and works from our Macomb County office in Mt. Clemens.

Mr. Diehl holds an Associate in Arts Degree from Ferris State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toledo, Ohio.  He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1989.  He is licensed to practice in the State of Michigan since 1990, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Posted in Condominiums, Education, Firm News, HOAs, Hot Topics | Leave a comment

COVID-19 Update

We’re here to help.

Our experienced attorneys have always been in the business of problem-solving for condominium and homeowners associations and their members.

This unprecedented pandemic will raise difficult questions for our association clients and their board and managers.  We remain as always at your service during these unique and challenging times. 

Due to Executive Order 2020-21 (Covid-19), our physical office locations in Plymouth and Mt. Clemens will be closed to the general public from March 24, 2020 through April 13, 2020. 

Our attorneys will be checking email and voicemail while they work remotely during this time.  Our telephone system will be operational – we will have minimal staff in our offices to route calls.  

Due to these exigent circumstances, you may experience delays in response times.  We thank you for your patience!

In the meantime, please stay well and be safe.

ZELMANSKI, DANNER & FIORITTO,  PLLC

Posted in Condominiums, Education, Firm News, HOAs, Hot Topics | Leave a comment

Q&A: The Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Community Association Meetings

Q:        Our Annual Meeting is to be held in April or May, 2020 and the Board of Directors is concerned that large group gatherings will still be banned by the government at that time.  When should we reschedule our Annual Meeting?

A:        It is still uncertain whether Governor Whitmer’s temporary restrictions on large events and assemblages of 50 people or more will be extended past April 5, 2020, which makes it difficult to determine when to reschedule your Annual Meeting.  On March 16, 2020, the Trump administration and the federal COVID-19 task force recommended keeping group events and gatherings to 10 people or less.

Pursuant to the Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act (Nonprofit Act), if your Annual Meeting is not held on the date designated for the meeting by the Bylaws, the Board of Directors may schedule the meeting as soon after that date as convenient.  At this time, it is reasonable to inform the Co-owners that the Board of Directors will reschedule the Annual Meeting once the temporary restrictions on large events and assemblages of 50 people or more has been lifted by the government.

Please note that the Nonprofit Act states that if the Annual Meeting is not held for 90 days after the designated date for the meeting or if no date is designated for 15 months after the last Annual Meeting, a Co-owner may petition the Circuit Court to summarily order that the Association hold the Annual Meeting at the time and place ordered by the Court.  We do not expect that a Co-owner would pursue a court order if the Annual Meeting is not held for 90 days after the designated date for the meeting, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Practical thinking and common sense are important as we work through this crisis.

 

Q:        Aside from postponing the Annual Meeting, are there any other options for our Association regarding holding the Annual Meeting while the COVID-19 pandemic is still an issue?

A:        Postponing the Annual Meeting is the easiest and cheapest way to handle this issue if large gatherings are still prohibited when your Annual Meeting is to be held.  Another option is to hold the Annual Meeting by means of remote communication.  If your Association’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws do not specifically prohibit participation at the Annual Meeting by remote communication, it is allowed under the Nonprofit Act.

The Nonprofit Act states that Co-owners and proxy holders that are not physically present at a meeting of Co-owners may participate in the meeting by means of remote communication and are considered present in person and may vote at the meeting if all of the following are met:

  • The Association implements reasonable measures to verify that each Co-owner that is considered present and permitted to vote at the meeting by means of remote communication is a Co-owner or proxy holder.
  • The Association implements reasonable measures to provide each Co-owner or proxy holder a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting and to vote on matters submitted to the Co-owners, including an opportunity to read or hear the proceedings of the meeting substantially concurrently with the proceedings.
  • If any Co-owner or proxy holder votes or takes other action at the meeting by a means of remote communication, a record of the vote or other action is maintained by the Association.

There are means of remote communication that could be utilized by Associations for holding Annual Meetings and voting at Annual Meetings.  You may check with your Community Association Manager or Technology Provider to inquire about the availability of such options for your Association.

 

Q:        Our Board of Directors has important business that it needs to attend to during the COVID-19 crisis, but we don’t want to meet in person.  What options are available for the Board to meet virtually?

A:        Unless specifically restricted in your Association’s Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws, the Nonprofit Act allows Board Members to participate in a Board Meeting by conference telephone or other remote communication as long as all individuals participating in the meeting can communicate with each other.

Posted in Condominiums, Education, Firm News, HOAs, Hot Topics | Leave a comment

2020 Schedule of Free Educational Seminars for Board Members and Property Managers – East side

Board Education and Training
brought to you by
Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC
Experienced Condominium & HOA Attorneys

The Condo & HOA B.E.A.T. (Board Education and Training) program is designed to educate condominium and HOA board members regarding the vast array of legal issues that they may face in serving their associations. This program is open to any condominium/HOA board member regardless of whether their association is currently represented by the firm. Property managers are also welcome. Free of Charge!!

Continuing in 2020, attorneys from Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC will present a one-hour class on a different topic each month. These classes will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Clemens Public Library (150 Cass Ave, Mt Clemens, MI 48043).

Come join us! If you plan to attend, please contact Marsha Williams via email to reserve your spot (mwilliams@zdfattorneys.com), or call us at 734-459-0062 x224.

2020 MOUNT CLEMENS PROGRAMS • 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Mount Clemens Public Library:
150 Cass Avenue, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

Available on Facebook Live!  Visit ZDF’s Event page to attend virtually, give feedback in real-time, and have your questions answered by an attorney for free!

Wednesday, February 26 2020 –  Melissa D. Francis
Elections: How to Generate Community Interest and Create a Smooth Process

This session will explore ways to generate interest in your annual Community Association Board Elections to meet quorum and encourage new recruits.  We will also discuss managing the election process, and what to do if you don’t meet quorum.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 – Stacia A. Miller
Managing Major Projects without Losing Your Mind

You’ve decided that your community needs new roads, so what’s next? This session will go over the steps for planning, getting bids, financing, and managing your major projects leading to a more successful and less stressful outcome.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – Stacia A. Miller
Effective Enforcement for Your Community

Now that you have great documents and rules and regulations that go along with them, how do you enforce all of it? This session will explore options to enforce your documents including equal enforcement, the use of fines, the property manager’s role in enforcement, and when to get your attorney involved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020  – Gregory J. Fioritto
The ABC’s of Creating an Association’s Annual Budget
Guest Speaker: Customized Property Management

One of the most important duties of a community association Board is planning the annual budget. Learn how to plan your Association’s budget from two key perspectives – an experienced community association attorney and a veteran property manager. We will discuss the basics of how Boards should design an annual budget and the important role of including contingency and reserve funding line items. The importance of reserve studies will also be examined. Legal concerns, such as budget shortfalls, additional assessments, and the annual audit requirements of the Condominium Act will also be discussed. This session is a “can’t miss” learning opportunity for Boards looking to improve their annual budgeting and assessment procedures.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 – Edward J. Zelmanski
Managing the Unexpected: How to Handle Fire, Water, and Mold Losses
Guest Speaker: Concraft

Boards do their best to manage maintenance, budget, insurance, and other administrative needs of their communities. Then, losses caused by fire, water, mold, and other unexpected occurrences can threaten to unhinge the best laid plans. This joint presentation by restoration contractor Concraft and ZDF attorney Edward Zelmanski will help community board members understand and manage the process of casualty remediation and restoration. The discussion will emphasize timeliness, efficiency, and thoroughness in responding to casualties so that you can help to get your community back on an even keel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 – Shane F. Diehl
RULES? We Don’t Need Rules!

Do you ever feel like there are gaps in your Association documents?  This session will address the purpose and reason to adopt rules and regulations, what rules and regulations to consider, the process for adopting and implementing them, along with how to enforce them once they have been adopted and disseminated to members.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 – Richard L. Wagner, Jr.
Working Relationships

In this session, we will explore the 3 legs of the Community Association Triangle (Board, Management and Counsel) and their roles in administering the affairs of your Community with particular focus on the role of Association Counsel. Do you need an attorney? Why? When? How? What are the Attorney’s functions or roles in working with the Board and Management? How many hats does or should the Attorney wear? Guard dog or attack dog or Both? Can we afford an Attorney? Where does the Attorney’s loyalty lie? Who do they work for?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – Gregory J. Fioritto
Association Insurance Issues – Some Things that Every Board Should Know
Guest Speaker: Sterling Insurance Group

Handling association insurance issues can be one of the most complex issues that condominium Boards face.  Having adequate knowledge of insurance policies and procedures can be the difference that saves a Board literally thousands of dollars on a casualty loss.  This session will provide an outstanding learning opportunity for Boards regarding insurance matters, directly from professionals who have decades of valuable experience with association insurance policies and casualty losses.  We will lay out the basics of association insurance coverages, such as liability, property, D & O, and workers’ compensation.  Learn the difference between “bare walls” and “single entity” insurance levels, and how to identify the coverage levels in your Bylaws.  We will also discuss key insurance exclusions that Boards should watch out for, and on the proper handling of deductibles by Association Boards.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 – Richard L. Wagner, Jr.
Amending Your Condominium Documents: Preparing for Success

This session will explore the fundamentals of amending Condominium Master Deeds and Bylaws, with a focus on the most effective practices for completing a project.  Specific tips for conducting a successful project through to its conclusion will be offered, including an examination of the best ways to explain proposed changes to both Board Members and Co-owners.  We will discuss tactics, such as Co-owner surveys and informational meetings that are most likely to lead to a successful document amendment project outcome and a satisfied membership.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 – Stacia A. Miller
Interviewing and Choosing your New Property Manager

Have you ever wondered what the best process is for choosing a new property manager? Whether you are self-managed or interested in a change, this session will explore how to find candidates that will be a good fit for your community, how to schedule and conduct interviews, and what to look for in a management contract.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 – Mark B. Davis
The Hit List: Updates and Trends in Marijuana Law

We will delve into recent updates regarding State and Federal marijuana laws, governmental enforcement, recent case law development, and enforcement options for community associations.

Posted in CONDO Beat, Education, Firm News, seminars | Leave a comment

2020 Schedule of Free Educational Seminars for Board Members and Property Managers – West side

Board Education and Training
brought to you by
Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC
Experienced Condominium & HOA Attorneys

The Condo & HOA B.E.A.T. (Board Education and Training) program is designed to educate condominium and HOA board members regarding the vast array of legal issues that they may face in serving their associations. This program is open to any condominium/HOA board member regardless of whether their association is currently represented by the firm. Property managers are also welcome. Free of Charge!!

Continuing in 2020, attorneys from Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC will present to you at the new Community Association Classroom!  These classes will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at our Plymouth Office location (44670 Ann Arbor Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170)

Come join us! If you plan to attend, please contact attorney Melissa Francis via email to reserve your spot (mfrancis@zdfattorneys.com), or call us at 734-459-0062 x233.

The Community Association Classroom
of Zelmanski, Danner, & Fioritto, PLLC
44670 Ann Arbor Rd., Ste. 170 Plymouth, MI 48170

EACH presentation will be on Facebook Live!  Visit ZDF’s Event page to attend virtually, give feedback in real-time, and have your questions answered by an attorney for free!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – Melissa D. Francis
Elections: How to Generate Community Interest and Create a Smooth Process

This session will explore ways to generate interest in your annual Community Association Board Elections to meet quorum and encourage new recruits.  We will also discuss managing the election process, and what to do if you don’t meet quorum.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – Mark B. Davis
Managing Major Projects without Losing Your Mind

You’ve decided that your community needs new roads, so what’s next? This session will go over the steps for planning, getting bids, financing, and managing your major projects leading to a more successful and less stressful outcome.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – Lee S. Schofield
Effective Enforcement for Your Community

Now that you have great documents and rules and regulations that go along with them, how do you enforce all of it? This session will explore options to enforce your documents including equal enforcement, the use of fines, the property manager’s role in enforcement, and when to get your attorney involved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 – Gregory J. Fioritto
The ABC’s of Creating an Association’s Annual Budget
Guest Speaker: Compass Management

One of the most important duties of a community association Board is planning the annual budget. Learn how to plan your Association’s budget from two key perspectives – an experienced community association attorney and a veteran property manager. We will discuss the basics of how Boards should design an annual budget and the important role of including contingency and reserve funding line items. The importance of reserve studies will also be examined. Legal concerns, such as budget shortfalls, additional assessments, and the annual audit requirements of the Condominium Act will also be discussed. This session is a “can’t miss” learning opportunity for Boards looking to improve their annual budgeting and assessment procedures.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 – Edward J. Zelmanski
Managing the Unexpected: How to Handle Fire, Water, and Mold Losses   Guest Speaker: Concraft

Boards do their best to manage maintenance, budget, insurance, and other administrative needs of their communities. Then, losses caused by fire, water, mold, and other unexpected occurrences can threaten to unhinge the best laid plans. This joint presentation by restoration contractor Concraft and ZDF attorney Edward Zelmanski will help community board members understand and manage the process of casualty remediation and restoration. The discussion will emphasize timeliness, efficiency, and thoroughness in responding to casualties so that you can help to get your community back on an even keel.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 – Tracy N. Danner-Bond
RULES? We Don’t Need Rules!

Do you ever feel like there are gaps in your Association documents?  This session will address the purpose and reason to adopt rules and regulations, what rules and regulations to consider, the process for adopting and implementing them, along with how to enforce them once they have been adopted and disseminated to members.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 – Richard L. Wagner, Jr.
Working Relationships

In this session, we will explore the 3 legs of the Community Association Triangle (Board, Management and Counsel) and their roles in administering the affairs of your Community with particular focus on the role of Association Counsel. Do you need an attorney? Why? When? How? What are the Attorney’s functions or roles in working with the Board and Management? How many hats does or should the Attorney wear? Guard dog or attack dog or Both? Can we afford an Attorney? Where does the Attorney’s loyalty lie? Who do they work for?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 – Gregory J. Fioritto

Association Insurance Issues–Some Things that Every Board Should Know
Guest Speaker: Sterling Insurance Group

Handling association insurance issues can be one of the most complex issues that condominium Boards face.  Having adequate knowledge of insurance policies and procedures can be the difference that saves a Board literally thousands of dollars on a casualty loss.  This session will provide an outstanding learning opportunity for Boards regarding insurance matters, directly from professionals who have decades of valuable experience with association insurance policies and casualty losses.  We will lay out the basics of association insurance coverages, such as liability, property, D & O, and workers’ compensation.  Learn the difference between “bare walls” and “single entity” insurance levels, and how to identify the coverage levels in your Bylaws.  We will also discuss key insurance exclusions that Boards should watch out for, and on the proper handling of deductibles by Association Boards.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 – Tracy N. Danner-Bond
Amending Your Condominium Documents: Preparing for Success

This session will explore the fundamentals of amending Condominium Master Deeds and Bylaws, with a focus on the most effective practices for completing a project.  Specific tips for conducting a successful project through to its conclusion will be offered, including an examination of the best ways to explain proposed changes to both Board Members and Co-owners.  We will discuss tactics, such as Co-owner surveys and informational meetings that are most likely to lead to a successful document amendment project outcome and a satisfied membership.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 – Lee S. Schofield
Interviewing and Choosing your New Property Manager

Have you ever wondered what the best process is for choosing a new property manager? Whether you are self-managed or interested in a change, this session will explore how to find candidates that will be a good fit for your community, how to schedule and conduct interviews, and what to look for in a management contract.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 – Mark B. Davis
The Hit List: Updates and Trends in Marijuana Law

We will delve into recent updates regarding State and Federal marijuana laws, governmental enforcement, recent case law development, and enforcement options for community associations.

Posted in CONDO Beat, Education, Firm News, seminars | Leave a comment

Strategic Alliance Agreement Formed Between Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC and Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C.

Plymouth, MI – Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC is excited to announce its new strategic alliance agreement with Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C.  As both firms have a strong presence in the Detroit region, this announcement enhances their participation in the resurgence of Detroit, and continues to strengthen their opportunities in Plymouth, Mt. Clemens, and beyond.

The alliance between the firms provides the potential for direct collaboration between the two firms’ attorneys for the common benefit of the client.  This unique partnership will further strengthen Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC’s ability to deliver efficient, high-quality, and customized counsel on a host of complex issues such as eminent domain, zoning, real estate development and transactions.

Fraser Trebilcock, with its main office in Lansing, is well-known for its strong connections to the legislative arena.  By partnering with Fraser Trebilcock, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC, intends to be a significant part of ongoing legislative efforts to change and improve condominium and HOA laws for the betterment of Michigan communities.

The strategic alliance agreement immediately increases the firm’s geographic footprint to more fully serve clients across the entire State of Michigan.  Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC’s attorneys can meet with clients by appointment in Fraser Trebilcock’s offices located in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Detroit, in addition to availability at the firm’s existing offices in Plymouth and Mt. Clemens, Michigan.

“We are very excited to partner with Fraser Trebilcock through our new strategic alliance, which we expect will provide concrete benefits to both firms and clients in the short-term, and a greater potential for overall growth in the long-term,” says Gregory J. Fioritto, Member of Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC.

“We are pleased to announce this strategic alliance agreement, recognizing that each firm’s expertise and experience can bring together a cumulative success for both firms,” says Michael H. Perry, President of Fraser Trebilcock.

Fraser Trebilcock is one of Michigan’s longest-established full-service law firms. Since 1883, Fraser Trebilcock has been providing preeminent legal services and representation to small and large businesses, individuals, governmental entities, and associations. Through its association with SCG Legal, Fraser Trebilcock has access to a global network of independent law firms. More information is available at fraserlawfirm.com and scglegal.com.

Posted in Firm News | Leave a comment

West side Condo B.E.A.T

Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC Presents

The Condo & HOA B.E.A.T.
(Board Education and Training)

Do you feel you are outside of your knowledge base?

We strive to educate Condominium/HOA Communities by offering our expertise to you in the hub of our Plymouth office location in the new Community Association Classroom (CAC)

All classes held from 6:30- 8:00 PM

THE CAC WILL BE THE LOCATION FOR ALL B.E.A.T. EVENTS FORMERLY HELD AT THE Hanford Clubhouse BEGINNING OCTOBER, 2019:

Zelmanski, Danner, & Fioritto, PLLC

44670 Ann Arbor Rd., Ste 170  Plymouth, MI 48170

Please follow CAC “event” signs!

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Posted in CONDO Beat, Education, Firm News, seminars | Leave a comment

The Condo & HOA B.E.A.T. – Updated Schedule of Free Educational Seminars for Board Members and Property Managers West side

Board Education and Training
brought to you by
Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC
Experienced Condominium & HOA Attorneys

The Condo & HOA B.E.A.T. (Board Education and Training) program is designed to educate condominium and HOA board members regarding the vast array of legal issues that they may face in serving their associations. This program is open to any condominium/HOA board member regardless of whether their association is currently represented by the firm. Property managers are also welcome. Free of Charge!!

Beginning in October, attorneys from Zelmanski, Danner and Fioritto, PLLC will present to you at the new Community Association Classroom!  These classes will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at our Plymouth Office location (44670 Ann Arbor Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170)

Come join us! If you plan to attend, please contact attorney Melissa Francis via email to reserve your spot (mfrancis@zdfattorneys.com), or call us at 734-459-0062.

Schedule and Topics – Fall 2019

October 9– Prohibited Uses of Residential Condominium Units – Greg Fioritto, Stacia Miller

November 13– Amending Your Condominium Documents – Tracy Danner-Bond

December 11– The Hit List: Updates and Trends in Marijuana Law – Mark Davis

Another Community Service brought to you by:

Experienced Condominium and HOA Attorneyswww.zdfattorneys.com

Posted in CONDO Beat, Education, Firm News, seminars | Leave a comment