Saturday, December 16, 2006

Johannessen v. Canyon Road Towers Assoc.

57 P.3d 1119 (Utah 2002)

In the Johannessen case, the Utah Court of Appeals set aside an agreement, made by an association's board, to reduce the assessments on one unit below the amount as required by the association's declaration. In setting aside the agreement, the Court affirmed what appears in this author's mind to be obvious -- that any change of that magnitude requires a vote of a supermajority of the association's members.

In Johannessen, the sellers of a penthouse condominium somehow managed to convince their sellers and the association's board to reduce the assessments due from the unit, but the declaration was never amended. Several years later, the board realized they had exceeded their authority, and sought to assess the proper amount.

The Johannessens sued. The court of appeals held against the Johannessens on several basis; most principally the fact that they had knowingly purchased into a condominium association, and thus had constructive notice of the condominium act and the condominium declaration. Therefore, they could not reasonably have relied upon the board's improper reduction of the assessments without a vote of the membership.

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