In 2015, the legislature added enforcement mechanisms to several statutes governing condominium and community associations that allow a unit owner to sue the association to require it to comply with the statute. These statutes also allow the unit owner to sue for damages. An owner who successfully sues to enforce any of these statutes can be awarded at least $500, or the actual amount of his or her damages, whichever is greater, as well as attorney fees and costs.
All of these statutes require an owner to deliver written notice of his or her claim to the association before filing a lawsuit, and give the association a set period of time to correct its deficiency. The owner’s notice to the association must include: the association’s alleged failures, a demand that the association come into compliance with the statute, and a date by which the association must remedy its noncompliance. Each statute sets forth the amount of time the association has to correct its noncompliance before a lawsuit may be filed.
Reserve Analysis: Utah Code §§ 57-8-7.5 (Condominium Ownership Act) & 57-8a-211 (Community Association Act)
These statutes require an association board to have a reserve study conducted at least every six years and to review and, if necessary, update the reserve analysis at least every three years. The association must provide a summary of the most recent reserve analysis or update to owners every year, and must provide a copy of the complete analysis or update to an owner who requests a copy. The association must also include a reserve fund line item in its budget each year in either an amount determined by the board to be prudent, based on the reserve analysis, or an amount required by the governing documents, whichever amount is higher.
The owners may veto the reserve fund line item if, within 45 days after the association adopts its annual budget, the owners call a special meeting for the purpose of voting whether to veto the reserve fund line item, and 51% of the allocated voting interests are voted in favor of vetoing the line item. If the lot owners veto the reserve fund line item and a reserve fund line item exists in a previously approved annual budget that was not vetoed, the association shall fund the reserve account in accordance with that prior reserve fund line item.
If the association does not comply with these requirements and fails to remedy the noncompliance within the time specified in an owner’s demand, which must be at least 90 days, the owner may file an action against the association in state court.
The above requirements do not apply to an association during the period of administrative control.
Records: Utah Code §§ 57-8-17 (Condominium Ownership Act) & 57-8a-227 (Community Association Act)
These statutes require an association to keep and make documents available to owners in accordance with the association’s governing documents and with Sections 16-6a-1601 to -1603, -1605, -1606, and -1610 of the Utah Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act, regardless of whether the association is incorporated. The association can redact the following information from documents before producing them for inspection or copying: social security numbers, bank account numbers, and any communications subject to the attorney-client privilege. The association must comply with requests by owners to inspect or copy documents. An owner may request to inspect or copy documents, request that the association make copies or electronic scans of the requested documents, or request that a third party service make the copies or scans. If the association or a third party service makes the copies or scans, the requesting owner shall pay the associated costs.
If the association does not comply with these requirements and fails to remedy the noncompliance within the time specified in an owner’s demand, which must be at least 10 days, the owner may file an action against the association in state court and may be awarded the remedies discussed in Part 1 of this series.
If an owner files an action against the association, the court may take expedited action. If the owner files a motion, gives notice to the association, and a hearing is held in which the court finds a likelihood that the association failed to comply with this statute, the court will order the association to immediately comply. This hearing must be held within 30 days after the owner files his or her motion.
Open Meetings: Utah Code §§ 57-8-57 (Condominium Ownership Act) & 57-8a-226 (Community Association Act)
These statutes require an association to give written notice of management committee or board of directors meetings via email to each owner who requests such notice. The notice must be given at least 48 hours before the meeting, and must include the time, date and location of the meeting. If management committee/board members can participate in the meeting remotely, the association must provide information to allow owners to participate the same way.
These statutes also require that management committee/board meetings be open to all unit owners of their representatives, if the representative is designated in writing. Meetings can be closed for several reasons, including: to consult with an attorney to obtain legal advice; to discuss ongoing or potential legal proceedings; to discuss a personnel matter; to discuss a matter relating to contract negotiations; to discuss a matter involving an individual that is likely to cause that individual undue embarrassment or violate the individual’s privacy; or to discuss a delinquent assessment or fine.
At each meeting, the management committee/board must allow each unit owner a reasonable opportunity to offer comments, but the committee may limit the comments to one specific time period during the meeting.
If the association does not comply with these requirements and fails to remedy the noncompliance within the time specified in an owner’s demand, which must be at least 90 days, the owner may file an action against the association in state court and may be awarded the remedies discussed in Part 1 of this series.
The above requirements do not apply to an association during the period of administrative control.Content on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as, and does not constitute, legal advice. While all content is believed to be correct within the scope of its purposes when written, it may be incomplete and/or the relevant law may have changed. Content on this site is not intended to comprehensively cover any subject, does not cover a number of related matters, and does not cover any person or entity's particular situation. As such, it is not reasonable for anyone to rely upon the information herein with respect to any particular legal matter. Rather, readers are encouraged to retain a licensed attorney to provide individualized and current legal advice.zephyr