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Subject: find HOA lawyer in Iowa
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Author Messages
NorrieM
(Iowa)

Posts:2


09/02/2020 12:23 PM  
Our HOA has negelected to review/update their governing documents since early 1990's when last amendment was added. We have a committee formed to look into our options and are wondering whether an attorney familiar with Iowa HOA documents could be located. We understand that HOA emphasis is different than Real Estate. Any feedback would be appreciated as we address all our old documents. We are under the impression that we can start over with By-Laws, but need to address the the Declaration, Covenants, and Restrictions first put out by the developer in 1979. We have three (3) living situations: Condo, Townhouse, and Bi-Attached.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3456


09/02/2020 1:43 PM  
Sorry, but the posting rules on this website don't allow for using actual names of communities, property managers or other vendors.

If you do have a property manager, you might want to ask him or her for a name. If the manager has other HOA clients, they may know of someone. You could also try the local bar association in your area or perhaps the state. You can even Google "HOA attorneys in Iowa" - I did and two came up in Des Moines, bu there could be more.

If you can't find a specialist, you may have to go with someone who knows corporate law, especially non-profit corporations, because that's usually what HOAs are chartered as. Just make sure you ask lots of questions before hiring him or her, ask for references and CHECK THEM. Good luck!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7496


09/02/2020 3:33 PM  
Good advice from Sheila. also check with CAI -- Community Associations Institute--for the attorney member in your area.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4062


09/02/2020 4:54 PM  
I second Kerry's suggestion of checking with your local chapter of the CAI to see if they've got any recommendations or a list of attorneys that might meet your needs.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:556


09/02/2020 6:30 PM  
There are no CAI chapters in Iowa. They say to call CAI at (888) 224-4321 to find the chapter nearest you. Worth a try.

This blog may give you a lead. I have not used this guy, but he seems knowledgeable.
https://amesiowalaw.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/common-interest-ownership/

You have some calling to do. Let us know how you make out, since the experience may help others.

As I mentioned to Luke, find a firm that has done it before and has the same documents that you need so they can copy the right sections rather than drafting new stuff. You don't want to lawyer who is new to it.

In other states, some law firms specialize in just HOA and condos, but I have not heard of any like that in Iowa. We seem to have law firms where real estate is one their areas of practice. If they have done enough real estate, they will have some knowledge of HOAs and condos.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16953


09/02/2020 7:02 PM  
If you desire to save money, I would suggest research and rewrite on your own.
Get input from residents and show residents a draft for comment.
Once you get all the rewriting done, have the corporate attorney review it for conflict with applicable statutes (property and corporate).

This way, the attorney will spend less time and cost you less money.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:556


09/04/2020 9:18 AM  
If it were me, I would start by getting a handle on what documents you have to work with. It would help you to know the names and dates of each of your governing documents, in other words the name that the document itself uses, such as covenant, declaration of what, amendment to what, bylaws of which, etc. People often use the word "bylaw," but that is only one kind of document.

Can you post here the names/types and dates of your governing documents? (Don't reveal the names of your community.)
NorrieM
(Iowa)

Posts:2


09/09/2020 4:18 PM  
Thank you for all the responses. I am asked to post a list of our documents and their dates- here goes:
1. Declarations of Submission of Property ...... to ......Regime. 19 October 1978 (Describes plots and buildings for Condominiums and Townhouses)
2. Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions 19 October 1978 (Addresses transference of property from developer to new buyer)
3 Articles of Incorporation of HOA 19 October 1978 (Addresses the Nonprofit Corporation Act, under Chapter 504A, 1977 code of Iowa)
4. Bylaws of the HOA 19 October 1978 (governing body of HOA)
5 Series of Amendments 1980-1996 Changing developer name, replating, leasing of units, exterior maintenance explanations.

There is nothing written addressing the Bi-Attached which use a different street address, except in amendments for exterior maintenance.

JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:556


09/11/2020 12:37 PM  
Your document #1 has the typical language of a condominium declaration, where there is a "submission" to a "horizontal property" regime, which is the legal term (in Iowa and a few other states) for a condominium. Does this declaration say horizontal property or 499B?

If both your condominiums and townhouses are listed in this condominium declaration, then both what you call townhouses and what you call the condominiums are part of one condominium regime.

According to Iowa law, the bylaws of a condominium are a part of the declaration, and should be recorded with the declaration, possibly as a separate exhibit to the declaration.

Condominium declarations do not expire. However, parts of the other covenants, such as your document #2, expire after 21 years unless they are renewed within the 21 years. In general, provisions that deal with cost sharing and maintenance and possibly the HOA do not expire, but the "use restrictions" such as restrictions on construction, sheds and appearance do expire. You can find articles on the internet on Iowa covenants expire, and you may also find law firms that wrote the articles.

Do you know if any of the amendments renewed the covenants (#2)? A competant attorney should have renewed them. This is one of the first big issues to work out when you get an attorney. If your last amendment was in 1996, then these covenants have partly expired.

What is incorporated, the condominium (document #1) or another HOA that may have been set up by the other covenants (document #2)? Does document number 2 set up an HOA?

Regarding the bi-attached. Are they covered by the restrictions in #2?

I suggest you go to your county Recorder and ask to see all the documents for your community, to be sure you have everything.
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