Withholding Assessments

May a co-owner escrow assessments because he is unhappy with a decision of the board of directors, or because a repair has not been made (or made to his satisfaction)?

The short answer is “no.”  The Michigan Condominium Act provides that A co-owner may not assert in an answer, or set off to a complaint brought by the association for non-payment of assessments the fact that the association of co-owners or its agents have not provided the services or management to a co-owner(s).  In real estate law, this is sometimes referred to as independent covenants:  the co-owners obligation to pay assessments is independent of the associations obligation to provide managmeent or services.

Condominiums are funded by assessment of members.  If a member refuses to pay his or her assessments, the other members have to pick up the slack.  If a group of members were allowed to withhold assessments because they disagreed with board action, it could cripple the operation of the association by depriving the association of the funds necessary to stay in operation.  This provision of the Michigan Condominium Act is a recognition of that.

What should a member who is dissatisfied with board action do?  Under most condominium documents, the owners recourse is either to petition for recall of the board members, or to simply elect a different board at the next annual election.  

If you dont like what Congress does, you impeach its members, or you vote for someone else at the next election.  You dont get to withhold your taxes.

© Steve Sowell 2017