Newsflash: A homeowners association is claiming we are part of the association even though we never joined (MI). (X-post from r/legaladvice).

Hello Reddit, I am seeking some advice in regards to how homeowners associations work and what authority they have over my family’s home and property, specifically in the state of Michigan. For some backstory, my grandfather bought a piece of land on a lake called Diamond Lake in Michigan in 1969. He was the first to build on the bay in 1971 and he did sign the covenants at the time and the property complied with the covenants. However, the cottage is modest and probably no bigger than 1000 square feet. As time went one people with more money moved in building larger and larger homes and the covenants continued to change for new owners. In 1985 the Sail Bay Homeowners Association was formed which was seeking to enforce the covenants of the bay. However, no one in my family ever agreed to new covenants or joined the association. Fast forward to today, my father now owns the property and we have been harassed, for lack of a better word, by the HOA. They claim that since my grandparents signed the original covenant for sail bay, that we are members of the association since the association’s purpose is to enforce all of the original covenants and therefore we are subject to paying their dues. The representative’s exact words were “sign your parents agreed to the original covenants you are basically a member” adding “whether you like it it not” and that our “garage” (our modest cottage) should have never been built. Again the original covenants did not indicate a membership to any HOA or future membership to any HOA. Their logic is, since they are wanting to enforce past covenants we agreed to, that we are part of the HOA. What next steps should be taken? What type of contract would the HOA need to provide to prove we are members? Would the HOA have authority over us if we were never members? It also feels that they are putting pressure on and harassing us since our cottage is quite small and does not live up to the expectations of the people who have moved in over the years.



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