In this dispute between a condominium association council and three condominium owners, the Superior Court was asked to determine whether a provision of the Uniform Condominium Act (UCA) requiring a two-thirds majority vote of owners to amend a Declaration of Condominium, applied retroactively to a Declaration enacted under its precursor, the Unit Property Act (UPA). The Superior Court concluded that because the Declaration was silent about the percentage required for Declaration amendments, no conflict existed between it and the UCA, and thus the UCA provision governed Declaration amendments, requiring a two-thirds vote..

An initial Declaration of Condominium was enacted pursuant to the UPA. The Declaration created Appellee Council to manage the property and empowered it with drafting a Code of Regulations establishing its operating procedures. In 2013, relying on its Code and the UPA, the Council proposed an amendment to the Declaration, which was adopted by a 55% vote of the condominium owners. Three Owners (Appellants) sued the Council asserting the Amended Declaration was invalid because it had not been adopted by a two-thirds vote of the owners, as required by the UCA.  Specifically, Appellants pointed to a UCA provision that applies it retroactively where a declaration amendment occurs after the effective date of the UCA, and the applicable UCA provision does not invalidate an existing provision of the declaration or code. The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County granted judgment on the pleadings, reasoning that a provision in the Council’s Code dealing with amendments applied to the Declaration amendments. Therefore the UCA provision would have invalidated an existing Code provision and did not apply retroactively.

On appeal to the Superior Court, the trial court’s decision was reversed.  The Superior Court found that the amendments provision of the Code did not apply to amendments to the Declaration, only amendments to the Code.  Therefore, because the Declaration was silent about the percentage required for a Declaration amendment, there was no conflict with the UCA. Therefore, the UCA applied retroactively and the Amended Declaration was invalid.

Click here to read: McLafferty v. Counsel for Assn. of Owners, 1338 EDA 2015 (Pa. Super. Ct. Sep. 12, 2016).

Edited by:






Zac Sivertsen