When to consult a lawyer when making declaration and bylaw amendments

LV writes:

Dear Paul: When revising declarations and by-laws to comply with the new Manitoba Condominium Act, Is it advisable to prepare a draft revision before presenting it to a lawyer and the Corporation or should we seek the advice of a lawyer first?

Paul Replies:

LV: Good question. Which came first the chicken or the egg? When to consult a lawyer would depend on your knowledge of the Act and how it affects your Declaration and Bylaws. It may also be a matter of the amount of money you wish to spend in legal fees. I would suggest the following approach. First make a list of the changes you would like to make. Unless it is a complex matter and it needs to be worded in “legally correct” language, the board or a unit owner familiar with contract terminology can probably handle the first or second draft. At this point you may want to have an informal meeting with unit owners’ to review the proposed amendments and get initial feedback.(This would not be accepting the final version to be voted on).

Once you are satisfied with all your changes, you should send it to a lawyer familiar with condominium law to review it. Having received the lawyer’s feedback, it is time to present it to the unit owners to be voted on. Keep in mind that the Condominium Act contains different provisions for amending the Declaration and the Bylaws. Once you have the required votes in favour of the amendments it needs to be registered with the Land Titles Office to make the changes official. Happy drafting!

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