Monday, February 15, 2010

Riverview Heights HOA v. Rislov

There's a new Wyoming Opinion respecting the amendment of community association governing documents, and it's likely to be followed in other jurisdictions. The case arose over a prohibition against manufactured housing; the prohibition had been added to the association's governing documents through an amendment.

The association's original 1979 amendments had provided that they could be amended "by instruents executed and acknowledged in the form prescribed for the execution of deeds by seventy-five (75) percent of the owners of the total acreage..." The 2004 "Amendment to Restrictive Covenants on Use of Land in Riverview Heights Subdivision" was executed by the Association's officers, whose signatures were notarized. The document recited that 75% had voted in favor, and attached signature pages; those signatures, however, were not notarized. The trial court granted the Association's Motion for Summary Judgment, and an appeal followed.

The Supreme Court of Wyoming affirmed the trial court, holding that the unit owner signatures were not properly obtained. "Signature pages that are not notarized are not properly executed and acknowledged, and we therefore agree with the district court that these signature pages are ineffective as approvals of the 2004 Amendment."

The ruling in this case, like many others, should serve as a reminder that the amendment of an Association's governing documents is a process which must be undertaken with great care and attention. This is not the first time, and certainly will not be the last time, that a court overturns an association's actions on what some coule argue is an insignificant technicality.