FIRM NEWS: ZELMANSKI, DANNER & FIORITTO, PLLC WELCOMES ATTORNEY JOHN D. GWYN TO THE ZDF TEAM!

Attorney John Gwyn

We are pleased to announce that Attorney John D. Gwyn has joined the firm as an associate.

Mr. Gwyn is an experienced attorney and seasoned litigator who has been practicing law for nearly 27 years. His areas of practice prior to joining the ZDF team include not only community association law, but also various aspects of commercial and residential real estate transactions, enforcement of creditors’ rights, and bankruptcy matters.

The addition of Mr. Gwyn to the firm continues ZDF’s practice of retaining thoroughly experienced lawyers who are fully capable of addressing the myriad of complex legal issues that community associations face.

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PARTNER GREG J. FIORITTO AND ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY LEE S. SCHOFIELD TO SPEAK AT UPCOMING COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS INSTITUTE (CAI) SEMINAR ON MARCH 10, 2017: LEGAL Q & A PANEL AND THE PROCESS AND REMEDIES FOR CORRECTING BYLAW VIOLATIONS


We are most pleased to announce that experienced ZDF attorneys Greg J. Fioritto and Lee S. Schofield have been asked to speak at the 2017 Michigan CAI Conference and Expo.Greg is one of the partners of the firm and has been practicing community association law since 2003.  He has extensive experience with association matters, including collections matters, developer issues, and document amendments.

Lee is a veteran community association attorney who practiced commercial law before joining ZDF in 2005.  He has particular expertise in collections matters, civil litigation, bylaws enforcement, and association loans.

This year’s seminar will be held on Friday, March 10, 2017 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River, Novi, MI 48374. Continue reading

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Should your Condominium Association be VA Certified?

VA CertificationBy: Tracy N. Danner-Bond

One out of every 11 citizens in Michigan is a veteran and may receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) VA Certification.  The VA may help service-members, veterans, and certain qualified surviving spouses of service-members and veterans become homeowners through a home loan guarantee benefit whereby the VA guarantees a portion of the loan.  While this benefit is virtually automatic for anyone who has served in the military (including reservists and Guard members), loan approval still requires the buyer to be approved under lender criteria.  Generally speaking, this means that the buyer must have the same minimum credit score as a buyer under an FHA loan program.

The goal of the VA loan program is to help protect the interests of veterans and the Government by ensuring that all properties located in a common interest community (such as a condominium project) meet VA regulatory requirements.  Meeting this goal as efficiently and cost effectively as possible serves the best interests of all program participants involved.  To that end, the VA has promulgated regulations and requirements for certification of condominium communities. Continue reading

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NEW FHA CERTIFICATION GUIDELINES TO LAND SOON, ENDING A 5-YEAR HOLDING PATTERN

New FHA Certifications

new fha certificationBy: Tracy N. Danner-Bond, Esq.

On June 30, 2011, the Condominium Project Approval and Processing Guide (“Guide”) was published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).  The Guide was designed to provide Federal Housing Administration (“FHA) condominium project approval processing requirements.  Since June 30, 2011, a handful of Mortgagee Letters from HUD have provided small changes to the Guide, but for the most part, the processing requirements contained in the Guide have been in a “holding pattern” for the last 5 years.

On September 13, 2012, Mortgagee Letter 2012-18 was published, making several changes to the Guide.  Most significant of those changes affecting condominium project eligibility are the following: Continue reading

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: JUST KEEP SWIMMING: NAVIGATING THE WATERS OF A CO-OWNER’S CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY FILING

just-keep-swimming

Chapter 7 BankruptcyBy: Melissa D. Francis, Esq.

Bankruptcy matters (chapter 7 bankruptcy) can be treacherous waters for Condominium Association Boards to navigate. Such issues should, in most cases, be referred directly to the Association’s legal counsel, who should be experienced in handling Condominium collection cases in the bankruptcy context. Nevertheless, Board members (and property managers) should at least be familiar with the basic aspects of Bankruptcy law that apply to Condominiums. This blog post will address some of the fundamentals of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases in relation to Condominiums.

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases is often referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy.” In this type of Bankruptcy, a Trustee is appointed to review the Chapter 7 filing and examine the Co-owners’ assets to determine if any items can be sold to generate funds for the estate allowing Creditors to receive payments. In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, the Co-owner has two choices as to the treatment of the Condominium Unit: retain the property, or surrender the property. Continue reading

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Of Condominium Associations and Pocket Monsters (Pokemon)

pokemon

pokemon go condominiumsOf Condominium Associations and Pocket Monsters (Pokemon)

By: Paul C. Schultz, Esq.

During Summer 2016, the Pokémon GO game for smartphones took the world by storm – leveraging novelty and nostalgia to get millions of Americans up off the couch and out of doors in ways that create important legal issues for condominium associations and other owners of real property.

In principle, augmented-reality location-based smartphone games have been available for almost all Americans since Google’s Niantic Labs released its title Ingress in 2014.  Augmented reality (AR) is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sounds, graphics, or GPS data.  Though we may have ignored augmented reality in 2014, it is now less possible to ignore AR because Pokémon GO has been released to the delight of millions of users of all ages.  These users have already spent hundreds of millions of hours playing the game: collecting the titular Poct monsters by wandering the streets of our cities, towns, and condominium developments. Continue reading

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PARTNER TRACY DANNER-BOND AND ATTORNEY MELISSA FRANCIS TO SPEAK AT UNITED CONDOMINIUM OWNERS OF MICHIGAN (UCOM) SEMINAR ON OCTOBER 15, 2016: PANEL DISCUSSION – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH LEGAL COUNSEL

melissa-tracyWe are most pleased to announce that experienced ZDF attorneys Tracy Danner-Bond and Melissa Francis have been asked to speak at this year’s annual UCOM Seminar, entitled “Positive Progress in Community Living.”

Tracy is one of the partners of the firm and has been practicing community association law since 2004. She has extensive experience with association matters, including collections, FHA certification, and document amendments.

Melissa is a veteran attorney who practiced bankruptcy law for many years before joining ZDF in 2013. Her experience and skill-set is unmatched when it comes to assisting associations with bankruptcy-related matters.

The seminar will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at the Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy, MI 48098.

The Panel discussion with legal counsel will take place from
1:25 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. in the Auditorium.

The Seminar starts at 8:00 a.m. and goes until 3:00 p.m.

The cost of registration is $125.00 for Members of UCOM and $175.00 for Non-Members.

To register, visit the UCOM website at http://www.ucomonline.org.

Continue reading

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PARTNER EDWARD ZELMANSKI TO SPEAK AT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS INSTITUTE (CAI) SEMINAR: HOW TO IDENTIFY RED FLAGS IN YOUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

alex-250As many board members learn all too late, just because something is in your association’s governing documents does not mean it is desirable, legal or enforceable.

On September 28, 2016, Partner Edward Zelmanski will present
“How to Identify Red Flags in your Governing Documents and What to Update.”

This Seminar will be hosted by the Michigan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute at Farmington Hills Manor.  Please see the flyer below for more details and registration information. Continue reading

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ATTACK OF THE DRONES: HOT TOPICS IN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LAW

attack dronesBy Mark B. Davis

ATTACK OF THE DRONES : Given the ever-changing world in which we live, it is important for community associations to at least try to keep up with, if not stay ahead of, the latest trends.   This can seem like a daunting task for even the most progressive associations.  The rapidly expanding use of unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as “drones,” is a prime example of one of these emerging trends.  Drones are taking command of the skies in today’s neighborhoods, and will likely affect an ever-increasing number of community associations.

Drones can be both a positive and a negative for community associations.   It has been suggested that drones could assist an association in identifying and remediating bylaw violations that might not be visible from the publicly accessible area around a unit.  As discussed later on in this article the rights of the association must be balanced with the privacy expectation of the individual co-owner.  In a recent incident in Kentucky, a man shot down a drone that he perceived was spying on his sunbathing daughter.  Generally, it seems that people do not take kindly to perceived spying by these unmanned units and assume the worst. This might be an extreme example, but it is something that associations should consider with drone usage. Continue reading

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MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE AMENDS SECTION 67 OF THE CONDOMINIUM ACT – “BIG DEVELOPER” WINS BIG, WHILE “AVERAGE JOE CO-OWNER” IS LEFT HOLDING THE BAG (AGAIN)

section 67By: Gregory J. Fioritto

On June 22, 2016, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill No. 610 into law, amending Section 67 of the Michigan Condominium Act. The Michigan Legislature had a prime opportunity to effect real change in the law to benefit the many thousands of people who live in unfinished condominium projects as a result of The Great Recession. Sadly, the amendments to Section 67 amount to nothing more than another gift to developers in a statute that is already unfairly tilted in favor of “Big Developer” and against “Average Joe Co-owner.” Continue reading

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