Make Sure Meeting Notice Is Sufficient
It’s crucial to make sure that meeting notices are properly handled. Otherwise, a court could rule that decisions stemming from such meetings are not valid. That was the situation in a recent Colorado community association lawsuit. There, the board of directors of a condominium association wanted to effectively rewrite its declaration, originally drafted in 1983, because the original document was so outdated that the board felt it was necessary to start over from the beginning. After the declaration had been amended, two condominium members sued the association. The members argued that they hadn’t been given proper notice of the meeting where the proposed amendment would be discussed with members. They claimed that the association couldn’t amend the declaration without sufficient notice because their interests in their units would be changed by the amendment. A trial court agreed with the association that it had properly amended the declaration. The members appealed.
A Colorado appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision. The appeals court explained that The Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act sets forth a “uniform framework for the creation and operation of common interest communities,” such as condominiums and cooperatives. Among other things, the act creates a judicial procedure for amending a declaration. Specifically, the act provides that “not less than 10 nor more than 50 days in advance of any meeting of the unit owners, the secretary or other officer specified in the bylaws shall cause notice to be hand delivered or sent prepaid by United States mail to the mailing address of each unit or to any other mailing address designated in writing by the unit owner. The notice shall state the time and place of the meeting and the items on the agenda, including the general nature of any proposed amendment to the declaration or bylaws.”
The appeals court agreed with the owners that the association failed to meet all statutory requirements necessary to amend the declaration because it didn’t give sufficient notice of the association meeting at which the amendment was discussed.
Two documents that the association asserted were notice of the meeting were provided to members, the court acknowledged. But the first notice didn’t include “the general nature of any proposed amendment to the declaration.” The appeals court said that stating that the board is in the process of finalizing a new declaration and indicating that information would be provided in the future doesn’t provide owners with notice of the “general nature” of the proposed changes. It merely notifies them that changes will be proposed. The second notice also failed to satisfy the act because it wasn’t provided at least 10 days before the meeting at which the proposed amendment was to be discussed [Tyra Summit Condominiums II Association, Inc. v. Clancy, May 2017].