The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide. The decision of the High Court invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states, including Ohio. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples and to recognize such marriages performed in other states.Ohio's constitution has prohibited same-sex marriages until now, and the State has refused to recognize same-sex marriage licenses issued by other states. The refusal of Ohio and similar states to recognize gay marriage was previously upheld in federal court; however, this decision means that will no longer be the case. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, same-sex marriage couples are now entitled to the same legal rights as opposite-sex marriage couples in Ohio regardless of where the marriage license was issued.One such right that impacts all Ohio community associations is the ability for...
U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Impacts all Ohio Community Associations
Over $11,000 Collected for Association From A Tenant in a Foreclosure Case
Kaman & Cusimano recently collected over $11,000.00 for an association in a foreclosure action. To prevent the delinquent owner from collecting the rental payments from the tenant, the Court appointed a receiver to collect the payments directly from the tenant. For two years, the tenant remitted monthly rental payments totaling over $11,000.00 to the receiver until the delinquent account was paid in full. If your association has a delinquency and the home is occupied by a tenant, be sure to inform Kaman & Cusimano so that we may seek to have a receiver appointed to collect rents during the foreclosure process.
Condominium Board Faced Discrimination Claim for not obtaining FHA Approval
Recently, a central Ohio condominium board faced a Fair Housing discrimination claim for not obtaining FHA approval. A potential purchaser of a unit within the condominium brought the action, alleging that the board did not cooperate in seeking FHA approval for racially based, and discriminatory reasons. While ultimately, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission dismissed the case for lack of evidence, every condominium Board must be diligent in evaluating whether to become or assist in becoming FHA approved. As the following article recommends, each Ohio condominium board must carefully weigh the pros and cons of being FHA approved: http://www.inman.com/2014/01/28/condo-boards-could-face-discrimination-claims-if-they-dont-at-least-consider-fha-certification/. If the board decides to not proceed with approval, the board should document specific reasons for not doing so. By proactively evaluating the association’s position and taking a position before a possible sale or refinancing ...
Condominium Association Handicapped Parking Lawsuit
In a recent Illinois court case, a renter sued a community association claiming that the unavailability of handicap-accessible parking violated the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). The property consisted of a 40-story building with 342 parking spaces, seven of which were handicap accessible. However, the association sold the handicapped-accessible parking spaces to non-disabled persons and the renter claimed these sales violated the FHA.The court found that, although the sale of the parking spaces to non-disabled residents was not an FHA violation, the failure to make public areas of the building accessible by reserving at least some accessible spaces for individuals with disabilities was a violation.To read the court’s decision, click here:http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/illinois/ilndce/1:2011cv02421/254455/176Parking is an issue that virtually every board must confront, whether in creating or enforcing rules. As always, if your association encounters issues related...
Condominiums Turn Private Streets Public?
Many Ohio condominium associations are developed with private streets, meaning that the association is responsible for the streets' maintenance, repair, replacement, and snow removal. As these often are some of the largest expenses that condominium associations face, many communities ask about the process to dedicate the streets and turn private streets public, shifting the cost responsibilitiy to the local governments.Recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on this story, which features comments by Kaman & Cusimano, LLC partner David Kaman:http://www.cleveland.com/middleburg-heights/index.ssf/2013/12/some_middleburg_heights_homeow.html#incart_river
Lawsuit Targets Condominium Rules Discriminating Against Children
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against a Minneapolis association, its management company, and its property manager for allegedly adopting condominium rules that illegally discriminate against families with children, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination, monetary damages, and a civil penalty.The Department of Justice claims that the association, management company, and property manager enforced rules prohibiting playing on the grass and riding bicycles against children but not against adults. In addition, the association’s rules allegedly ban children specifically from “playing in hallways, stairwells, driveways, elevators, garages, or any other potentially dangerous area.”To read more about this story, please click on the link below: http://www.startribune.com/local/west/233503901.htmlThe Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of familial status. As a result, to avo...
Ohio Developer Sued For Condominium Fair Housing Violations
An Ohio developer was recently sued by the US Justice Department in Federal Court for violating condominium fair housing requirements in the property's construction. For more details on this story, please click the following link:Developer Sued for Condominium Fair Housing ViolationsKaman & Cusimano routinely handles and advises its community association clients on fair housing related issues. According to Kaman & Cusimano partner Robert Kmiecik:"This lawsuit was appropriately brought against the developer, builder and other parties that actually constructed or designed the condominium. It is likely that the control of the association had not yet passed to the owners. Where such control has passed, the association itself may be named as a “nominal” party as it has control over the common elements where many of the alleged deficiencies are located. As such, the association would need to be involved in any decision or court order requiring changes to be made in such areas,...
Condominium Association Pays $150,000 to Settle Fair Housing Claim
A Florida condominium association and its former management company agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a fair housing claim alleging that they enforced occupancy limits that discriminated against families with children. In the case, a family of two parents and six children moved into a 4 bedroom unit. The association, however, had a rule limiting occupancy of a 4 bedroom unit to just 6 people. The association notified the family of the “problem” and threatened them with eviction for violation of the occupancy restrictions, causing the family to move out. Following a HUD investigation, the Justice Department sued the association and its management company, claiming that they engaged in a pattern or practice of violating fair housing law by adopting and enforcing overly restrictive occupancy standards.The association and management company agreed to pay $45,000 to the family that filed the complaint, $85,000 into a fund to compensate other alleged victims, and $20,000 in civil penalties. A...
Ohio Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Homeowners
17 Mar 2012
17 Mar 2012
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Ohio recently issued a favorable ruling for homeowners across the state. The decision also benefits community associations facing unnecessary repairs as a result of poor construction practices by their developer.In Jones v. Centex Homes, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Tenth District Court of Appeals finding that homeowners may waive the builder’s obligation to construct the house properly in their purchase agreement. The Court concluded that a homebuilder’s obligation to build in a workmanlike manner is a duty imposed by law that cannot be signed away by a homeowner in the fine print of a home purchase contract. The Supreme Court went on to state that homebuilders do not have to be perfect, but they do have to construct houses “in a workmanlike manner using ordinary care.”Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, developers often argued that community associations were barred from commencing a lawsuit for construction defects because each owner wit...
Uncooperative Owner Forced to Comply with Association's Remodeling Rules and Pay Attorney's Fees
On September 17th, in the case of Acacia on the Green v. Gottlieb, (No. 92145), the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling and held that a Unit Owner must receive the Association’s permission prior to engaging in a construction project, and failure to do so requires the Unit Owner to pay all of the Association’s legal fees (which in this case amounted to $18,442.55). Arguing on behalf of the Association was Kaman & Cusimano, LLC Attorney Cullen (CJ) Cottle.The Court cited Ohio Revised Code Section 5311.081(B)(5) which states: The Board of Directors may “adopt rules that regulate the use or occupancy of units, the maintenance, repair, replacement, modification, and appearance of units, common elements, and limited common elements when the actions regulated by those rules affect common elements or other units.”In this case, the Defendant had extensive electrical, plumbing, cabinetry and flooring work done to his unit without the prior authorization of the Board. The Acacia ...
Court Clarifies Lakefront Land Ownership
01 Sep 2009
01 Sep 2009
Associations that border Lake Erie and other bodies of water have often wondered where along the lakefront the Association’s property ends and the public’s property begins. Recently, The Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals in the case of State ex rel Marrill v. ODNR (Case # 2008-L-007) helped to answer that question.The Plaintiffs, a group of landowners that border Lake Erie, argued that their property rights extend to the “shoreline” of the water, wherever that line may be. The Defendants, the State of Ohio and others, argued that the State of Ohio owns and holds in trust for the people of Ohio the lands and water of Lake Erie up to the natural location of the ordinary high water mark, regardless of the shoreline’s current state.Siding with the Plaintiffs, the court held that the public owns the land beneath the water at any given moment, and the lakefront property owner owners the dry land above the water. In other words, the lakefront owner owns all of the lake up until the water line. Therefore, as the wa...