Summer Resort Association recovers attorney fees by virtue of corporate bylaws even in the absence of a provision in the Reclaration of Restrictions

In Great Lakes Shores, Inc v Bartley, a previously unpublished Court of Appeals opinion now published, the court held that a summer resort association may recoup its costs and attorney fees against a defaulting lot owner if a provision is contained in the corporate bylaws of the association, even if there is no provision for attorney fees and costs in the declaration of restrictions.

This case is a significant victory for homeowner and summer resort associations, especially those whose declaration of restrictions provides for a lien, but not for recovery of attorney fees.  The court held that the bylaws constitute a contract between the parties and a provision for attorney fees in the bylaws was sufficient to allow an award of attorney fees to the association.  The cost of foreclosing a homeowner association lien is often many times the amount of the lien itself.  Absent a cost-shifting provision, pursuing collection of unpaid assessments is impractical for the association.  Now, associations may amend their bylaws to include an attorney fee provision.

© Steve Sowell 2017