In my association I believe that the board is not following the governing documents. What can I do about that?

Minn. Stat. §515B.4-116 provides that if an association violates any provision of MCIOA, or any provision of the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations any person adversely affected by the failure to comply has a claim for appropriate relief.  This relief may include an award of attorney fees should the violation be recognized by the court.  Most associations have similar language regarding lawsuits and awarding of attorney fees in their declaration, which would be beneficial for non-MCIOA associations.

Even though you have the right to sue, and be awarded your attorney fees if you prevail, it is often not the best course of action.  As a member of the association you would, in effect, be suing yourself.  Any attorney fees that are awarded would partially be paid for from your annual assessment, or even a special assessment.  Before running to the courthouse, I would recommend that you attend a board meeting and make a real effort to notify the board of any concerns, and provide them an opportunity to research the issue and correct their behavior.  I have found that most instances of a board not following the governing documents or MCIOA is an innocent mistake and not an intentional shirking of their duties.

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.