Is 'Good Standing' Grounds for Denying Member Privileges?

August 27, 2015
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If a member violates a rule, you might be tempted to deem him a “member not in good standing,” and use that status to deny him certain privileges in the hopes that he’ll rectify the situation. But don't make the mistake of invoking good standing status without checking association rules. That's because, in order to do this, the association’s rules must provide for using good standing as a basis for revoking privileges.

That’s what an Ohio court ruled several years ago in a long-standing decision where a member sued her association to reinstate her rights after they had been revoked because the association said she was a member not in good standing. There, she had asked for permission to use a locked entrance to exit the community, rather than driving a longer distance to reach the main gate. When she used the locked entrance despite her request being denied by the association, she was fined. Her refusal to pay prompted the association to deny her use of the clubhouse and revoke her speaking privileges at town meetings.

The court dismissed her lawsuit against the association. The court ruled that because the association’s rules stated that all members are responsible for paying any fines against them, and failure to do so within the time period allotted would result in the member’s being deemed “not in good standing,” it was entitled to deny her those privileges [Kitchen v. Lake Lorelei Property Owners' Assn., Inc., June 2012].