As discussed in earlier in this series, there were some significant changes to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B, commonly known as the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”) adopted in the recent session of the Minnesota legislature. Part I focused on the ability to assess attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in conjunction with a homeowner’s violation of the governing documents. Part II focused on collection of accelerated assessments in collection actions. The series winds up with a focus on changes to violations notices.
MCIOA has always required associations subject to MCIOA to provide a violating homeowner with notice of the violation and an opportunity for a hearing before the fine related to the violation was assessed to the owner. MCIOA did not, however, mandate information to be included in the violation notice. Now it does.
Section 515B.3-102 sets forth the powers of the association. A new section was added in the 2023 regular legislative session that imposes certain requirements for violation notices. The new section states that, in the event of a violation, the association must provide a dated, written notice to a unit owner that:
- (1) states the amount and reason for the fine or assessment;
- (2) for fines levied under section 515B.3-102(a)(11), specifies: (i) the violation for which a fine is being levied and the date of the levy; and (ii) the specific section of the declaration, bylaws, rules, or regulations allegedly violated;
- (3) for assessments levied under section 515B.3-115(g) or 515B.3-1151(g), identifies: (i) the damage caused; and (ii) the act or omission alleged to have caused the damage;
- (4) states that all unpaid fines and assessments are liens which, if not satisfied, could lead to foreclosure of the lien against the owner’s unit;
- (5) describes the unit owner’s right to be heard by the board or a committee appointed by the board;
- (6) states that if the assessment, fine, late fees, and other allowable charges are not paid, the amount may increase as a result of the imposition of attorney fees and other collection costs; and
- (7) informs the unit owner that homeownership assistance is available from the Minnesota Homeownership Center.
How does the change affect how associations do business?
For some associations, the new requirements may have little impact since they already include much of the above information in their standard violation notices. Some associations will need to make significant changes to their notices to ensure compliance. For those associations that take a less formal approach to violations, the requirement of a written notice will pose a significant shift in practices.
Although MCIOA does not specifically state as much, it is reasonable to assume that if an association’s violation notice does not comply with the language of MCIOA, it may affect the association’s ability to impose fines or to collect attorneys’ fees and costs.
When do these changes take effect?
This change to Section 515B.3-102 takes effect January 1, 2024, for fines and assessments levied on or after that date. Over the next few months, associations should consult with counsel and management (as applicable) to ensure that the association’s violation notices will comply with the new language of MCIOA.
If you have questions about the changes to MCIOA and how they impact your association, please contact attorney Nancy Polomis at 952-746-2105 or [email protected].
 Section 515B.3-102(a)(11) addresses imposition of late charges, interest fines and attorneys’ fees and costs.
 Section 515B.3-115(g) states: “If any damage to the common elements or another unit is caused by the act or omission of any unit owner, or occupant of a unit, or their invitees, the association may assess the costs of repairing the damage exclusively against the unit owner’s unit to the extent not covered by insurance.” Section 515B.3-1151(g) includes the same language.