CAI-MN Minnesota Community Living - Jan/Feb 2016

Page 14

Board to Tears? Not If You Know Your Role By Matt Drewes, Shareholder, Thomsen & Nybeck, P.A., Attorneys


o, you’re wrestling with whether you want to be a member of your community association’s board of directors. Or, maybe you’ve been asked to serve, and are intimidated by the unknown. This can be a daunting proposition, but if you keep in mind some of the information from this article, you should feel more up to the task.

Community association basics.

To know your own role, you should first understand the role of your community association. The association is a nonprofit corporation, which means it acts through its board of directors. The corporation has the responsibility to guide and direct the operation of the real estate, homes, and other


Minnesota Communit y Living

improvements where the members live, known as a common interest community (CIC). The association generally should preserve architectural consistency, maintain common elements and facilities, as well as building exteriors of the CIC (with certain exceptions), and it usually arranges for certain services (such as trash pickup), and sets a budget and allocates the costs of those functions. This generally serves an overall goal of providing a stable community for all members and promoting property values. The CIC functions best when owners understand that they have certain obligations simply by becoming members of the community. These include certain individual maintenance duties, financial responsibilities, and an obligation to comply with certain restrictions on the use of their

units and the rest of the property to maintain peace and order. Everyone must contribute in some way for the community to function properly. Engaging members to recognize their own importance helps encourage positive contributions from more of them. The specific functions assigned to the association vary depending on the type of CIC it is (e.g., townhome, condominium, single-family association, etc.), the particular provisions of the association’s governing documents and, to some extent, whether the association is governed by the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (MCIOA). This article will assume MCIOA applies, because it usually does, but each board member should at least review and understand the matters covered in the governing documents.

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