TECH PROFESSIONAL CENTRE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff-Appellee/Cross-Appellant,
APEX HOLDINGS, L.L.C. and JENS BAKER, Defendants-Appellants/Cross-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark J. Smith,
consolidated appeal, the parties both challenge the district
court's order entering judgment in favor of plaintiff.
J. Bieber of Gomez May LLP, Davenport, for appellants.
Michael J. Meloy of Meloy Law Office, Bettendorf, for
by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]
owner of two condominiums modified the exterior doors and
windows of the units. The condominium association sued the
owner and the owner's registered agent for breach of
association rules, bylaws, and the statute governing
condominiums. Following trial, the district court ruled in
favor of the association and ordered the owner to return the
units to their original condition. The court declined to
grant the association's request for attorney fees. The
owner and the association appeal.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Professional Centre Condominium Association
("Association") administers a condominium complex
in Bettendorf. Among other things, the Association is
responsible for "[c]are, upkeep, and surveillance of the
property and the general common elements and
facilities." The "general common elements" of
the condominium complex are to "be owned by all the unit
owners as tenants in common."
condominium unit owner is "automatically" a member
of the Association and remains a member until "ownership
ceases." Unit owners are responsible for the internal
maintenance and repair of their units, including "water,
light, gas, power, sewage, telephones, air conditions,
sanitary installations, doors, windows, lamps and all other
accessories." Unit owners are not to "make
structural modifications or alterations in [their] unit
installations located therein without receiving prior written
approval from the Association."
Holdings, LLC, through its registered agent Jens Baker
(collectively, "Apex"), purchased two condominium
units and leased them for commercial use. When the units
became vacant, a daycare facility expressed an interest in
renting them. The Bettendorf fire marshal determined the
exterior doors were too close together for operation of a
daycare center. Apex made plans to move the doors.
conceded he did not convene a board meeting to notify the
Association of his renovation plans or submit a written
modification request. Instead, he "made the . . .
various owners aware that these changes were being required
by the fire department" during an "impromptu
meeting" behind the building. According to Baker, the
subject of the doors again arose at a subsequent "more
formal meeting" convened for an entirely different
purpose. During the meeting, one of the owners asked Baker,
"[H]ey, what's going on with your day care?"
Baker responded by "mention[ing] . . . [t]hat the doors
. . . needed to be relocated." Baker testified,
"There was no objection."
hired a contractor, who removed two sets of windows,
installed new entrance doors to the units, and made the
existing doors "nonoperable." During the
renovation, the contractor removed approximately thirty
exterior bricks, replaced plywood, and added new
sidewalks. The Association ordered Apex to cease and
desist with the renovations. Apex ignored the orders,
completed the construction, and paid the contractor $5095.48.
Association filed a "petition at law," alleging
Apex breached the Association bylaws and violated Iowa Code
chapter 499B (2017) "by making significant exterior
alterations to the building without the . . .
Association's approval." Following trial, the
district court determined Apex violated the Association
bylaws and chapter 499B by failing to notify the Association
of its proposed changes to the building. The court ordered
Apex to "place the exterior of the condominium building
in its condition prior to the exterior renovation done to the
building in 2016" "no later ...