I have been told the even though my association is not governed by MCIOA, we still have to follow certain provisions. Is that correct?

The Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (MCIOA) is located in section 515B of the Minnesota Statutes. Minn. Stat. §515B-1.102 provides the gritty details on which associations are governed by the Act, which ones are not and if only certain sections of the Act apply. Although there are exceptions, the easiest way to determine if your association is governed/not governed by MCIOA is with these simple rules:

1) If the association was created on or after June 1, 1994, it is, by default, governed under MCIOA;

2) If the association is a condominium, and not a townhome or a single family association, it is, by default, governed under MCIOA regardless of when it was created ((If your condominium was created under Minn. Stat. §515, you should reference §515B.1-102(b)(2) for the specific provisions of MCIOA that apply));

3) If the association is a single family or a townhome association and it was created before June 1, 1994, it is NOT governed by MCIOA unless the association votes to amend its declaration and “opt-in” to MCIOA.

Even if your association is not governed by MCIOA, there are indeed some provisions of the Act that would still apply. Minn. Stat. §515B.3-1-102(3) states that even if an association is not governed by MCIOA, three sections must be adhered to ((As a general rule, this is true, but as with most rules there are exceptions.  Minn. Stat. §515B.1-102(e) provides an exception for associations comprised of single family homes where there is no maintenance performed by the association on the dwellings.  There are additional exceptions, but they deal with 2-unit associations, certain cooperatives, non-residential associations and access easement/drainage associations)). The three sections are:

1) §515B.1-116, subsections (a),(c),(d), and (e). This section, and the stated subsections, provide the process to record a declaration or bylaws, and any subsequent amendments, with the county.

2) §515B.4-107. This section pertains to the resale of a unit in an association, by a party other than a declarant. The seller must provide any potential buyer with a copy of the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules and regulations (if any) as well as any amendments or supplemental declarations. If the association is part of a master association, the master association documents must also be provided. Finally, a Resale Disclosure Certificate must also be provided. The information that must be contained in and the layout of the Certificate is set forth in §515B.4-107(b). The Certificate provides details on the assessments, maintenance obligations, reserve balances, insurance coverage, etc.

Although the Certificate is provided to the potential purchaser by the seller, it is the association that is required to complete and sign the Certificate. Within ten days of a request, the association must provide an owner with the completed Certificate. The association may charge a reasonable fee for providing the Certificate, as well as charge for other documents that are requested (declaration, bylaws, etc.). It is important that the association accurately complete the Certificate. §515B.4-107(e) states that the purchaser is not liable for any unpaid assessment that was not set forth in the Certificate. In addition, should the incorrect assessment amount be listed on the Certificate, the purchaser is not required to pay more than the listed amount for the remainder of the year in which the Certificate was issued. Once completed, the Certificate is given to the owner who then provides it to the potential purchaser.

3) §515B.4-108. This section does not directly apply to associations, but to the potential purchaser of a unit. This section ensures that a potential purchaser has a minimum of ten days to review the association documents and Certificate required to be provided to them under §515B.4-107. If the documents and Certificate are not provided until after the execution of the purchase agreement, the potential purchaser would be able to cancel the agreement within ten days of receiving the information.

It is only these three provisions of MCIOA that apply to non-MCIOA associations. I have heard some non-MCIOA associations state that they believed they had to follow the reserve provisions. That is incorrect. The MCIOA reserve provisions, (found in §515B.3-1141) while many find them to be great guidelines, are not required to be followed by non-MCIOA associations.

A version of this article first appeared in the "Ask the Attorney" column (written by Nigel Mendez) in the Minnesota Community Living magazine published by CAI-MN.