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Q & A

Find answers to common questions here.

When can a Rule substitute for a bylaw amendment?

This is an important question. Unless your declaration or bylaws provides otherwise, rules are easy to amend – they require only the majority vote of the directors. Although we know of no Wisconsin court decision on the subject, it seems reasonable that changes to governing documents which substantially affect the life styles or expectations of residents should be contained in the bylaws, because bylaws contain the seal of approval of at least two-thirds of all the owners. Section 703.10(3), Stats. provides that the bylaws may include restrictions on the use and maintenance of the common elements and bylaws. Rules should be used to amplify and add detail to provisions already in the bylaws, perhaps including minor behavioral restrictions which help insure to each resident the quiet enjoyment of their home.

What if a Board Member Fails to Pay Assessments?

Enforcement collection efforts should be undertaken against any member who is delinquent. This is much easier if the Board has adopted a policy to refer delinquent accounts to legal counsel after a set period of time, say 60 or 90 days. Usually, legal fees arising out of assessment collection are ultimately paid for by the debtor.

When must we decide whether to have a statutory reserve?

If your condominium association has not recorded a Statutory Reserve Account Statement, it should do so now.  Wisconsin Statute section 703.163 requires all condominium associations to record a Statutory Reserve Account Statement at their county’s register of deeds office.  If you need help deciding whether to have a statutory reserve account, read our guide.

What kind of majority do we need to pass a regular motion?

At the Board of Directors level, and at the Association level, a “simple majority” usually carries the motion. Unfortunately, lawmakers have made the definition of “majority” a little uncertain, so the first rule is to consult your bylaws on the definition of the word “majority”. If the bylaws are silent, you have these choices:

Different definitions of a “Majority”:

  1. More than 50 percent of all the votes in the condominium. – Sec. 703.02(11), Stats.
  2. Majority of unit owners present and voting (assuming quorum is present) sec. 703.15(4 )( e), Stats.
    • Note this definition is different from #1, above, but comes from the same statutory Chapter, which governs condominiums.
  3. Majority of unit owners present.
    • This is found in some bylaws, but is not preferred. It turns an abstention in to a “no” vote. (Do you see why?)
  4. Whatever the bylaws provide.

Don’t forget, that you need a super-majority, to amend your bylaws or declaration. These have special requirements, secs. 703.09 and 703.10, Stats.