By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
How far should a condo association go to enforce its architectural restrictions? Does the law allow your condo association to break the locks to your property when you are not at home, tear out a recent improvement you have made, install their own idea of what’s appropriate, and then charge you for the expense?
Apparently, Jim Hammond, Attorney for Harbour View Pointe Condominium near Linwood, Michigan, thinks that’s A-OK and perfectly legal in the state of Michigan.
According to a report by Terry Camp, WJRT, a dispute began when Tony Richter and Ed Zaorski – two local priests in the Detroit area – enclosed the porch on their modest lakefront condo. The condo association did not approve of the type of windows that the condo owners had installed.
Richter and Zaorski were told to replace the windows with an approved version. The pair agreed to do so, but after a new condo board was elected, the owners say they were told their $7,000 porch enclosure could remain as is.
Soon after that, someone with the condo association made the decision to break into Richter and Zaorski’s home and replace the windows to conform to design standards.
Of course, we do not know all the details here. We don’t know if the two priests jumped through all the necessary hoops to get their improvement pre-approved before starting construction. And we don’t know if the condo association’s standards are reasonable. Were the windows originally installed unsafe or structurally unsound, or is this dispute merely about aesthetic preferences?
Has there been ongoing conflict in Harbour View Pointe Condo Association involving either Richter or Zaorski? Or was everything fine for six years until the issue of the porch enclosure surfaced?
Regardless of those details, in the absence of a true emergency, it seems the condo association stepped over the line by breaking and entering onto private property to enforce the rules.
I hope there is a follow up report on this story.
Priests worried for well-being after dispute with Bay County condominium association
By Terry Camp | Posted: Thu 5:15 PM, Feb 09, 2017 | Updated: Thu 6:24 PM, Feb 09, 2017
BAY COUNTY (WJRT) – (02/09/17) – A dispute with a Bay County condominium association over windows has a priest worried for his well-being.
The priest, and another priest, live in a condo at Harbour View Pointe near Linwood, but last month while they were gone, their front room windows were removed and replaced without their approval.
The lawyer for the condominium association says everything was legal, but the way this was done has angered the priests and has them worried at the same time.
Tony Richter is a Detroit area priest, but he, and Ed Zaorski, also a priest, have owned a condo along Saginaw Bay for six years. Last year, they improved the condo by enclosing their porch. The Harbour View Pointe condo association didn’t like the $7,000 windows.
Read more (VIDEO):
Jim Hammond also serves as attorney for a small township in Bay County, Michigan.