#Condos – Michigan HOA Manager Faces Criminal Charges for Failure to Update Fire Suppressors

Notices? We Don’t Care About Your Notices! – Todd J. Skowronski, an associate at Makower Abbate Guerra Wegner Vollmer PLLC, whose firm advises nearly 2,000 association clients throughout Michigan, is the lawyer representing the association involved in this tangled web.

“We represent two neighboring condos, and they share the same management company ,” he explains. “There’s an annual requirement for inspections for their fire suppression system. In this jurisdiction in the past, it seems the fire marshal was more lax in enforcement and on inspection requirements. The marshal wasn’t bringing down the hammer in the past.

“A new management company took over in fall last year, and a new fire marshal stepped in, too,” says Skowronski. “A lot of this work hadn’t been done or hadn’t been noticed before. Repairs were cited, then not done by mid-summer, and the fire marshal issued citations to the property manager personally and the management company. The new fire marshal has admitted that the municipality is enforcing these violations much differently than in the past.

“The condo association has the responsibility for these common elements under their documents, but because the fire marshal was interfacing only with the property manager on the ground, he fixated only on the manager,” notes Skowronski. “So the employee of the management company is finding herself charged with a crime for these violations and the multiple delays for getting things done.

“This isn’t an isolated case in my practice,” he adds. “We have another association that got issued a criminal citation for fire code violations . But these are new since the condo collapse in Surfside, Fla. I’d have thought …

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