Association Issues

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From time to time, specific issues will arise that seem to cross the country at the speed of the internet and create problems or concerns for condominium and homeowner associations. On this page we’ll try and track the news items and articles as they arise.

Pokemon

  • Of Condominium Associations and Pocket Monsters (Pokemon) October 3, 2016 During Summer 2016, the Pokémon GO game for smartphones took the world by storm – leveraging novelty and nostalgia to get millions of Americans up off the couch and out of doors in ways that create important legal issues for condominium associations and other owners of real property.  In principle, augmented-reality location-based smartphone games have been available for almost all Americans since Google’s Niantic Labs released its title Ingress in 2014. Augmented reality (AR) is a live view of a ...
  • Coal Harbour condo dwellers call Pokemon pest control September 12, 2016 Residents of a Coal Harbour condo building are now free of pesky Pokestops after complaining to the City of Vancouver and their MLA, as well as to the company that makes the popular augmented reality game.  “Their concern was there were four Pokestops right around the entrance to their building,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End.  The situation was leading to crowds of anywhere between 10 and 50 people on the grounds of the Bayshore Drive condo building, ...
  • Pokémon Go Class Action Says ‘Pokestop’ Disturbs Condo Residents (FL) September 6, 2016 The Pokémon Company, Nintendo Co. Ltd. and app maker Niantic Inc. are facing a class action lawsuit filed by a condominium association that claims its unwanted “Pokestop” designation has created a major disruption to its residents.  The Villas of Positano Condominium Association Inc. filed the Pokémon Go class action lawsuit last week in California federal court.  It is a nonprofit organization comprised of residents of the Villas of Positano, an oceanfront condominium complex located in Hollywood, Florida.
  • Pokémon, Zika and Marijuana Are Creating New Concerns and New Risks for Condo Associations September 1, 2016 The risks confronting condo associations are generally well-known. Although there are always variations on old themes, the risk fundamentals don’t tend to change much from year to year. But every now and then new risks emerge, like Loch-ness monsters from the deep, to threaten condo communities and challenge the boards and managers who oversee them. We have three new risks to add to association worry lists: Pokémon, Zika and Marijuana.      Read the article……………
  • For Many Condo Communities, Pokemon Go Quickly Becoming Pokemon No August 18, 2016 The issues arise both from nonresidents who are pursuing these animated characters and feel compelled to enter a property as well as from residents and their guests who are gallivanting through the hallways and common areas at all hours in their never-ending search for more Pokemon.  While some association complexes feature a manned security gate at the main entrance, many do not and visitors are able to drive onto a property without restriction.   Read the article……………
  • 3 Hidden Opportunities Your HOA Can Unlock by Playing Pokémon Go August 11, 2016 By now you’ve seen your share of Pokémon Go stories in the news. Some articles sing its praises—most notably getting kids out of the house—while others highlight the game’s perils, like turning people into zombies and causing vehicular crashes.  Not sure what to make of it? Here’s a quick rundown of the game and why Pokémon Go should be a go for your community association.     Read the article………….
  • Pokémon Go, What HOA’s Need to Know August 9, 2016 As technology changes, so must community associations adapt. On July 6, 2016, Nintendo and software developer, Niantic, released the new cellular phone game called, “Pokémon Go.” In the United States alone, an estimated 21,000,000 individuals use the application daily. During the inaugural week, Nintendo’s stock value increased by 120%. While there has been some retreat in valuation, at less than a month old, Pokémon Go became one of the most profitable and most popular games in history.   Read the article…………
  • Pokemon GO…. Away! Mobile game can spell headaches for private residential communities. August 8, 2016 After writing this blog for well over a decade, I often think that I have covered every conceivable topic which can impact shared ownership communities. Almost inevitably, just when I start thinking this is the case something new crops up like drones or, more recently, locating, battling and capturing virtual creatures called Pokemon.  Read the article…………….

Pokemon Archives

Fraud & Embezzlement

  • Home Sweet Home November 15, 2017 Sunset Villas is a condominium complex with fifty units on the shores of Lake Michigan. Owners pay $550.00 a month in dues towards neighborhood and maintenance, including the upkeep of the pool and common areas. When the owners hired a property management company, they didn’t realize Sunset Villas was a tempting, lucrative target. Homeowners associations are often victims of misappropriation by property managers, due to having relatively large amounts of monies and lax, volunteer boards responsible for accounting and control. ...
  • Community Next: Homes of the Future November 13, 2017 Community Next: Homes of the Future is the latest milestone in CAI’s Community Next series, which offers industry insight to empower community association volunteers, managers, and business partners with a strong understanding of how to preserve, protect, and enhance common-interest communities.  This Fall 2017 report will provide you with a better understanding on topics like: Integrated technology Government partnerships Banking and internet security Global access to information The future of reserve studies Electric vehicles Read the PDF………………
  • Woman ordered to pay $66K in restitution in theft case (NH) November 9, 2017 An Intervale woman has been sent to jail and ordered to pay more than $66,400 in restitution to a local condo association as a result of pleading guilty to theft.  Lynne Barry, 54, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft by unauthorized taking in Carroll County Superior Court on Nov. 3. She was sentenced to a year in jail with all but one month suspended for one year.  She also must pay $66,408 in restitution to Northbrook Condominium Association and perform 20 ...
  • Former condo manager awaits sentencing in skimming case (IL) November 8, 2017 A Chicago man who was accused of skimming more than $1 million from dozens of North Side condo associations has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and is to be sentenced in January.  Alan Gold, who managed A.P. Gold Realty & Management, pleaded guilty to a single charge of mail fraud in August in a case in which federal prosecutors said he misappropriated a total of $1.25 million from 44 homeowners associations he managed.    Read the article…………….
  • Charleston accounting manager charged with embezzling more than $750,000 (SC) November 3, 2017 An accounting manager accused of embezzling from her Charleston employer was in court asking for a public defender Thursday, after federal prosecutors accused her of depositing more than $750,000 in two unauthorized bank accounts.  There was no clue what became of money Donna Haynes allegedly siphoned off from Community Management Group over five years.  Haynes, 48, who lives near Summerville, was arraigned on charges of defrauding the Folly Road company and the Internal Revenue Service. According to its website, Community ...
  • Former Albuquerque HOA President charged with embezzlement, forgery (NM) November 3, 2017 Residents in a small pocket of Albuquerque claim one of their neighbors has been quietly pocketing their money for years. Now, the alleged victims hope a fresh look at the case may bring about some justice.  There’s something bothering a quiet northeast Albuquerque subdivision near Edith and Paseo, where neighbors claim their cries for help have gone unanswered for years. That is, until now.     Read the article……………….
  • Condominium Workers Charged with Theft in Wake of New Fraud Law (FL) November 1, 2017 Changes in condominium association laws that were recently enacted with an aim to curb fraud in associations seem to have had a strong impact in increasing the general awareness of the problems facing Florida condo communities. A few major media outlets have followed up on the news of the law with reports about arrests involving South Florida associations.    Read the article…………….
  • Homeowners accuse private community of financial fraud, illegal marketing (NY) October 31, 2017 Homeowners are accusing a private, upscale community in Central Valley of financial fraud and illegal marketing practices.  Homeowners in Woodbury Junction claim that the complex’s financial records are being kept secret and new homes are being marketed to buyers based on religion. They claim that the homes are being marketed toward Jewish people.  Joe Zlata moved to Woodbury Junction in 2012, but the recent change in ownership has Zlata and other neighbors concerned about the future of the complex.    ...

Fraud & Embezzlement Archives

Companion Animals

  • B.C. woman fights strata to keep children’s therapy dogs November 11, 2017 A B.C. woman claims her daughters faced discrimination when the company that manages their strata unit fined them for keeping two therapy dogs.  According to a summary recently posted on the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal website, the woman’s two daughters have “mental health concerns” that require the assistance of therapy dogs. One of the daughters struggles with bipolar disorder, while the other has a mental disability. (The girls are not named because they are minors; neither does the application indicate ...
  • Doing a disservice: The harm in service dog fraud November 9, 2017 You may have noticed the signs outside of businesses becoming more prominent lately. They all carry a similar message: Only legitimate service dogs allowed. And, in some jurisdictions, they are now adding a reminder that service dog fraud is a crime.  But what, exactly, is “service dog fraud?”  First, what it isn’t. You may see statements that service dog fraud is a federal crime, but it isn’t — at least not when it comes to a person with a fake ...
  • Emotional Support Animal scams – good news from the Eastern District of Texas October 29, 2017 The October 17, 2017 decision by Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas in Houston v. DTN Operating Company et al., 2017 WL 4653246 (E.D.Tex 2017) is good news for landlords confronted by bogus internet diagnoses of disability. There is a vexing lack of authority concerning just what constitutes sufficient evidence of a disability to require a landlord to allow an emotional support animal, and Judge Mazzant’s opinion makes it clear that the kind of letter typically purchased ...
  • Connecticut Laws on Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals September 25, 2017 Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Connecticut’s public accommodations law, people with disabilities have the right to be accompanied by their service animals in restaurants, hotels, stores, theaters, and other places that are open to the public. Connecticut’s law is more limited than the ADA, because it covers only dogs that assist those who are blind, deaf, or mobility-impaired; it doesn’t cover psychiatric service animals and service animals that assist those with other types of disabilities, as ...
  • Trial set for Aspen service-dog flap (CO) September 19, 2017 A trial date in Denver federal court over a service-dog dispute at an Aspen condominium complex is set for early next year.  Documents filed Sept. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado show that a six-day jury trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 12 pitting condo-owner Alvaro J. Arnal against Aspen View Condominium Association, two of its board members and a property management firm.   Read the article…………..
  • Condo complex penalized over ‘no pets’ policy (NY) September 16, 2017 The NYC Commission on Human Rights recently won its case in defense of a resident of Parkchester South Condominiums who was threatened with eviction over her service dog.  Michelle Berrios, a nurse practitioner who has lived in her condo for nearly 30 years, started butting heads with management in March 2015 over its ‘no pets’ policy.  A Parkchester security guard wrote her a ticket for owning a toy poodle named Brownie, according to a CHR news release.     Read the ...

Companion Animals Archives

Flags

  • Navy veteran allowed to keep flag flying outside condo (CT) November 15, 2017 An Enfield veteran has been battling with the leaders of his condominium complex over the right to fly a Navy flag outside his home.  The story has received national attention and on Tuesday, the situation was resolved.  After a meeting on Tuesday, Joseph Allen’s Navy flag will stay put. He said it honors our veterans and our country.  “Every day I see that and I say you know I’m home,” Allen said.    Read the article………….
  • Veteran Faces Fines From His Condo Association for Flying His Navy Flag: ‘It’s Ludicrous’ (CT) October 17, 2017 A Navy veteran who suffers from PTSD is engaged in another fight after his Connecticut condo association asked him to remove the military flag he’s placed in front of his home.   Read the article…………..
  • Collier County man fights HOA’s rule to bring down flag October 13, 2017 Frank Apuzzo has been raising his American flag every morning since Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida.  Apuzzo, who has lived at the Isles of Capri for about two years, received a letter two days ago from his homeowners association asking him to take down the flag.    Read the article………………
  • Homeowners association settles lawsuit against Loveland couple that built critical sign in front yard (CO) September 14, 2017 A Loveland man removed a controversial sign from his front yard Thursday more than a month after he constructed the billboard to criticize his neighborhood’s homeowners association.  But Rich Stephens, the resident, did so with a promise from the Alford Meadows Community Association that it would never again harass him over a wooden pallet painted to resemble a colonial American flag hanging from the side of his house on the corner of West 50th Street and Crabapple Drive.  The association’s ...
  • American flag fight prompts new legislation (MA) September 14, 2017 Two state lawmakers from Massachusetts have filed legislation to protect the rights of condo owners to fly the American flag after a 25 Investigates report in July.  Condo owner Liz Heller first contacted 25 Investigates after receiving a $60 fine from the condo board for Liberty Commons in Leominster. The violation cited Heller for displaying a “prohibited personal item” for three days leading up to the Fourth of July. The prohibited item in question was an American flag hanging from ...
  • Ask SAM: Can an HOA restrict the American flag? (NC) September 5, 2017 Q: Can a Home Owners Association forbid owners from flying the American flag? Answer: “The short answer to the reader’s inquiry is yes, an HOA may prohibit or regulate the display of the American flag,” said Lawson Newton, a local attorney who specializes in real estate matters.  The long answer, he added, is “yes, but the HOA MUST have registered restrictions at the Register of Deeds office that meet the statutory provisions to do so.”    Read the Q&A……………

Flags Archives

Short-term Rentals

  • Australia: Airbnb hosts can be fined $550 for failing to notify strata of new guests under NSW law November 19, 2017 A LITTLE-USED legal provision could be used to put the squeeze on owners who rent their units out on short-term rental sites like Airbnb.  Author and apartment living expert Jimmy Thomson, founder of the website Flat Chat, has called for owners’ corporations to fine landlords who don’t register tenants using a “widely ignored” law.  Under Section 258 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, owners must notify the body corporate of any changes to leases or subleases, including the name ...
  • Owners at odds with Ogden: The condo where mass shooter rented a room (NV) November 16, 2017 Short-term rentals have been a contentious issue in the City of Las Vegas. Once again, the issue in the spotlight.  Wednesday, an owner of the downtown condo, The Ogden, was granted a special use permit for a short-term rental. But many residents in the Ogden say they feel helpless to prevent their homes from becoming a hotel.  Isaac Pokojni-McDowell says when he and his wife purchased their home in the Ogden two-years-ago, they had no idea it was going to ...
  • City of Toronto Releases Reports Recommending Short-Term Rental Regulations (ON) November 14, 2017 The City of Toronto has released two reports recommending short-term rental regulations, one dealing with zoning by-law amendments and the other recommending a registration and licensing program for short-term rentals.    Read the article…………….
  • Calls for Canberra body corporates and stratas to allow Airbnb complexes November 11, 2017 “The body corporate have disallowed Airbnb in our complex, but there’s a distinction between leasing out an entire premises and just renting a room.”  Mr Miller said the body corporate now “tolerate” him using Airbnb at his apartment after a conversation outlining the differences in advertising a single room, rather than a whole apartment.  He said for many body corporates across Canberra, there’s still much confusion about what residents can do when it comes to using Airbnb.    Read the article……………….
  • RSF Association considers prohibiting vacation rentals (CA) November 7, 2017 The Rancho Santa Fe Association is joining homeowners associations and cities across the state in considering prohibiting vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods. At its Nov. 2 meeting, the board approved posting the proposed new rental regulations for a 30-day public comment period. The board will then consider adopting the rules at its Dec. 7 meeting.    Read the article………………
  • Real estate agents slapped with $35,000 fine for breaking Clearwater’s short-term rental law (FL) November 2, 2017 In April, Nicole Dufala stood before the Municipal Code Enforcement Board and said she “honestly didn’t know” it was against city law to rent out her Countryside home by the night.  Neighbor and homeowner association president Walter Johnson had counted 15 renters rotating through the house over four months, staying three to 14 nights each. Code enforcement inspector Julie Phillips also went on HomeAway.com and was able to reserve the house on Northridge Drive for a three-week stay at $5,987.  ...
 

Short Term Rental Archives

Displays, Signs, Free Speech – 1st Amendment Issues

The First Amendment Center maintains an archive of articles about cases involving community associations and the First Amendment.  Here is a link to their archive

  • Scottsdale HOA takes down ‘Welcome Home’ sign for U.S. Marine (AZ) November 8, 2017 Angelo Manuele still has the signs that went up on a couple of lamp posts, down the block from his house in north Scottsdale.  “It wasn’t like we were trying to put up garage sale signs,” said Manuele.  Manuele’s son Joey Manuele had just completed 13 weeks of boot camp at the U.S. Marine Base in San Diego and the signs were a way to welcome Joey home.  But a few days after the signs appeared the neighborhood HOA took ...
  • Stay Off The Naughty List When Planning Holiday Events November 6, 2017 The trick-or-treaters have come and gone, and there is an ever-so-slight briskness in the air.  That means the holidays – and all the twinkling lights, festive decorations and parties that come with them – will soon be upon us.  But before you pull out the tinsel and send out those invitations, the best place to start planning your holidays is by checking your community’s policies and guidelines.     Read the article………….
  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree-Holiday Decorations in Your Community Association November 6, 2017 The title of the article is tongue-in-cheek, to be sure, but like any “good” joke (we can debate whether the word “good” is appropriate here), there is a grain of truth behind it. The fact is, holiday decorations are an issue that all Boards must address, saddling the Board with the unenviable task of prohibiting certain decorations and potentially causing rancor among the Unit Owners who wonder why they cannot string lights on the their balcony.     Read the article……………..
  • HOA warns St. Cloud residents to remove signs supporting law enforcement (FL) October 26, 2017 The Burgess Family has had their “Back the blue” yard sign in their front yard since the tragedy that left two Kissimmee police officers shot and killed in the line of duty in August.  “We support the ‘blue,’ we back them, so we like to show that,” said Bryan Burgess. “We’re showing support for our local law enforcement, two have lost their lives in the line of duty I don’t think there’s an issue with it.”   Read the article………..
  • Bayview Nail Salon Forced To Scrap Mural After Neighbors Complain (CA) September 19, 2017 A mural is at the heart of a dispute between neighbors in Bayview.  Since opening in January, business has been steady at Luxurious Nail Boutique & Spa, located at 4138 3rd Street (near Innes) in Bayview. However, according to owner Richard Washington, the salon’s biggest issue has been visibility.     Read the article…………….
  • Homeowners association settles lawsuit against Loveland couple that built critical sign in front yard (CO) September 14, 2017 A Loveland man removed a controversial sign from his front yard Thursday more than a month after he constructed the billboard to criticize his neighborhood’s homeowners association.  But Rich Stephens, the resident, did so with a promise from the Alford Meadows Community Association that it would never again harass him over a wooden pallet painted to resemble a colonial American flag hanging from the side of his house on the corner of West 50th Street and Crabapple Drive.  The association’s ...
 

1st Amendment Archives

Energy & Water Conservation

  • Adding Solar Panels in an HOA Community November 7, 2017 Many homeowners are beginning to see the appeal of installing solar panels to their home. As an HOA it is important to consider the benefits and identify ways to work with homeowners so everyone is happy. What your board doesn’t want to do is forbid homeowners from installing solar panels, or end up in a legal nightmare that won’t end well.    Read the article……………..
  • Rain gardens take root as revitalized community tackles polluted runoff (MD) October 24, 2017 Miramar Landing’s new green face is the fruit of $150,000 in grants and the elbow grease of community residents. The goal is to offset some of the polluted stormwater runoff flowing to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from an ever intensifying wave of development.  Stormwater is the only growing source of pollution in the Bay watershed, and the political backlash against fees and other mandatory efforts to control it remains strong.   Read the article…………….
  • Rainwater Harvesting and Your HOA October 19, 2017 Rainwater harvesting is a simple, eco-friendly technique that many homeowners are using to gather rainwater and use it for simple purposes. It’s a great way to water gardens, wash clothing, and take care of many cleaning tasks–or even fill a child’s swimming pool. As a homeowner’s association, there are several benefits to allowing rainwater collection within the neighborhoods covered by your association–but there can be downsides, as well.    Read the article…………….
  • Citizens seek assistance for west side water woes (AZ) October 3, 2017 Mayor Ernie Bunch issued a proclamation at the beginning of Monday night’s council meeting proclaiming Oct. 23-31, 2017 as Red Ribbon Week and encouraged citizens to participate in drug prevention education activities all year long to make a visible statement that the town is committed to being drug free.  During Call to the Public, George Everland, a New River resident and member of the New River/Desert Hills Community Association, explained a recent water dilemma relating to the many people living ...
  • Big water bills fuel meter mystery in Ahwatukee (AZ) September 24, 2017 Last month, Phoenix officials celebrated the city Water Services Department’s recognition as a “Utility of the Future Today” – one of 25 utilities across the country cited for “forward-thinking initiatives.”  Don’t tell that to some Ahwatukee customers who have seen bills for staggering increases in water consumption that no one can explain.  In recent weeks, customers have taken to social media to complain about meter readings that are significantly higher than normal.  Among them is the Foothills Gateway HOA, a ...
  • Big Buildings May Have to Undergo Costly Retrofits (NY) September 20, 2017 If Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way, owners of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet – including co-ops and condos – will be required to make costly retrofits to heating and cooling systems, roofs and windows in order to reach energy-efficiency targets by the year 2030, DNAinfo reports.  “This change to our buildings is equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road in this city each year,” de Blasio said at a news conference. “It’s clear that this is ...

Energy & Water Conservation Archives

Nuisance

  • How To Best Deal With Neighbor Disputes In Pet Policy October 19, 2017 When you hear a dog barking during off hours, you immediately think, “That’s not how to be a good neighbor,” or “That’s so annoying!”  You probably want to complain to all the residents in the neighborhood about the dog or instantly report them to your HOA.   However, most of the time, the pet owner doesn’t mean any harm or inconvenience. In these instances, it’s important to be understanding and forgiving.   Read the article…………….
  • The Nuisance – You Know It When You See It? October 4, 2017 Many common interest community declarations contain provisions prohibiting “nuisances”, and homeowners and directors alike use these provisions as a “catch-all” category when it comes to annoying people and situations in their communities. But what exactly is a nuisance and how do you know if one exists?  For example, it is not uncommon to receive complaints from owners about offensive cooking odors emanating from their neighbors’ units. Although cooking may not be prohibited in the declaration, the odor deemed offensive by ...
  • What Can an HOA Board Do About Barking Dog Complaints? July 21, 2017 So you moved into a beautiful new luxury homeowners association. Your home is on a quiet street in an established neighborhood. Every evening you sit on your newly purchased adirondack chairs in your shady backyard, sipping on a bottle of wine — while your roommate is lapping his water from an old beat up water bowl — your “roommate” in this case happens to be a 120 pound fur baby named Rex and he is not on good terms with ...
  • Phantom Smell Syndrome May 31, 2017 QUESTION: I am on the board of a retirement community. We have a resident complaining of cigarette smoke. We investigated and could not smell any smoke, nor is there anyone around her who smokes. She is threatening to go to Fair Housing if we don’t do something about it. What should we do?    Read the Q&A…………..
  • How to deal with nuisance smells in condos March 3, 2017 I recently had an issue arise at a condo association that is not terribly uncommon. An American couple of Indian ethnicity cooks with curry. Sometimes a lot. The odor wafted into a neighbor’s unit and he complained to the board. This can be tricky.  What constitutes a nuisance, including cooking smells, is generally left to the board, any board. Usually there is language in the documents, or there should be, that reads something like this: “No harmful or offensive use ...
  • 6 Common HOA Nuisances and How to Handle Them January 24, 2017 Nuisances complaints are a major cause of legal action in HOAs, both by and against homeowners. For those who might be unfamiliar with what exactly a nuisance is, a nuisance typically consists of one or more of the following issues:   Read the article…………….

Nuisance Archives

Electric Vehicles

  • Community Next: Homes of the Future November 13, 2017 Community Next: Homes of the Future is the latest milestone in CAI’s Community Next series, which offers industry insight to empower community association volunteers, managers, and business partners with a strong understanding of how to preserve, protect, and enhance common-interest communities.  This Fall 2017 report will provide you with a better understanding on topics like: Integrated technology Government partnerships Banking and internet security Global access to information The future of reserve studies Electric vehicles Read the PDF………………
  • Battle over electric cars in condos rages on, despite upcoming policy shift (ON) November 2, 2017 Condo residents across the province are locked in power struggles with their management boards over charging rights for electric vehicles, even though incoming regulations are supposed to simplify the process.  It’s a problem that an Ottawa woman is all too familiar with.  Kimberly Hsiung’s condo manager abruptly shut off her power this spring after finding out she was charging her electric vehicle in her unit’s parking spot.    Read the article…………….
  • Electric Cars in Community Associations – An Emerging Trend October 11, 2017 What is an “electric car”? “An electric car is an automobile with one or more electric motors that uses electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries or another energy storage device. Electric cars are around three times as efficient as cars with a normal internal combustion engine.” (Wikipedia) You’ve probably heard of the Tesla S or X or the Chevrolet Spark CV/Bolt EV electric cars. However, did you know that there are also 30 other highway capable electric cars commercially available ...
  • (Condo) complexes can apply for rebates on electric car chargers (OH) August 16, 2017 Hoping to encourage the use of electric cars, Smart Columbus is offering to spend a total of $170,000 in rebates to owners and developers who install charging stations in apartment and condo developments.  “We’re curious to see what they want to do, too,” Bud Braughton senior project manager for Smart Columbus, said. “This is all learning for us.”  The rebates are offered because studies show at least 80 percent of charging for electric vehicles is done at home. Many apartments ...
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs (CA) August 9, 2017 Below is an article written by a client of mine. It is his perspective on a difficult and arduous process on trying to get an EVCS plugin in his condominium. The article is very informative. Since he felt he had to move toward a threat of litigation to get the board to move on his request, I referred him to a different attorney. I don’t do court work anymore and most in my industry know that so there are times ...

Electric Vehicle Archives

Smoking

  • Times Are Changing: Smoking In Your Condo October 3, 2017 Smokers, beware! “The times, they are a-changing.” And with more and more marijuana use, this is now a hot-button topic.  If your next door neighbor in your condominium association cooks his native food which creates an objectionable odor, will your condo board of directors be required to take any action against that neighbor? Probably not. Perhaps the board (or the property manager) will discuss the situation with the neighbor, with a view toward trying to reach a happy solution, but ...
  • Butt Out: Co-ops and Condos Must Adopt Smoking Policies (NY) August 30, 2017 Despite strong opposition from co-op and condo board advocates, Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed a package of seven bills designed to help reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 by 2020. One of the bills requires all boards to adopt a smoking policy – not a smoking ban – and disclose it to both current and prospective residents. Another bill prohibits smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes in common areas in residential buildings with ...
  • Why this young family has been living with pot smoke in their condo for the last 5 years August 23, 2017 A Toronto man says he’s tired of waking up to the smell of weed coming in from his neighbour’s unit and wants his condo corporation to do more to resolve the issue.  For almost five years, he says, smoke has been seeping in through the front door, windows and electrical sockets, then it flows into the room belonging to Bradshaw’s seven-year-old son, Sam.    Read the article…………….
  • Singapore: Condo management sparks row by telling residents they can’t smoke on their balconies August 16, 2017 The management agent of the Meadows @ Peirce recently sent out a circular telling residents they should not smoke in their balconies and window areas, in addition to common areas where smoking is prohibited by the National Environment Agency (NEA).  It cites a clause from the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) that prohibits owners from doing anything that can be a nuisance to others.    Read the article…………..
  • Woman seeking ban over neighbor’s secondhand smoke (MI) August 5, 2017 Can cigarette smoke from a neighbor violate the law?  That question has landed in a Detroit court with a lawsuit from an asthmatic breast cancer survivor who says the smoke from her neighbor’s condo is making her sick.  Phyllis Davis lives in the Echo Valley complex in Farmington Hills. Four condos in her building share hallways, a basement — and a ventilation system.     Read the article…………..
  • Condo Balcony Fires July 12, 2017 Toronto Fire Services recently held a press conference about the increasing number of fires on condo balconies caused by cigarettes being carelessly tossed from balconies. At the time of the press conference, there had been 27 balcony fires causing over $300,000 in property damage, in comparison to a total of 25 balcony fires in all of 2016. Lit cigarette butts are landing on combustible materials, such as patio furniture and potted plants, on balconies below. Some residents are also causing ...

Smoking Archives

Medical Marijuana/Marijuana

  • Marijuana debate still blazing in Cannon Beach (OR) October 23, 2017 Councilors voted 3-2 to maintain the ordinance, which prohibits marijuana stores in mixed-use buildings to adhere to the community’s desire to keep marijuana out of residential areas. The building meets the city code for a marijuana store because the residents have since moved out and the building is no longer mixed-use.  Despite this, the Ecola Square Homeowners Association, spearheaded by David Frei, is still urging the city to deny a business license to Five Zero Trees, citing concerns about the ...
  • HOA Homefront: Reader asks is Mary Jane OK in Unit 420? October 13, 2017 Q: I live in California where it is legal to grow six cannabis plants. What can our HOA do about this?   Read the Q&A…………….
  • Condo boards will face uphill battle in banning marijuana plants October 6, 2017 So you’re thumb isn’t exactly green, but with laws around cannabis changing, you’ve been giving some thought to growing some plants (when it’s legal, of course).  The government has indicated homeowners will be allowed to grow up to four plants inside their home, but what about all you condo dwellers?  One Calgary lawyer believes that condo boards will have an incredibly difficult time banning pot plants in their building.     Read the article…………….
  • Condo Corps Need to Deal with Marijuana Use Before it Becomes a Problem October 3, 2017 When marijuana becomes legal next summer, landlords, tenants and condominium owners can expect an increase in disputes related to both indoor and outdoor smoking.  Effective July 2018, anyone 19 and over will be able to smoke marijuana in their units and grow up to four plants per residence. The maximum height of the plants may not exceed one metre.  This raises the question of whether landlords and condominium boards will be able to prohibit both the cultivation and smoking of ...
  • Why this young family has been living with pot smoke in their condo for the last 5 years August 23, 2017 A Toronto man says he’s tired of waking up to the smell of weed coming in from his neighbour’s unit and wants his condo corporation to do more to resolve the issue.  For almost five years, he says, smoke has been seeping in through the front door, windows and electrical sockets, then it flows into the room belonging to Bradshaw’s seven-year-old son, Sam.    Read the article…………….
  • Killer Weed in the Common Area? (CA) June 27, 2017 Community Associations increasingly face issues with medical marijuana. It is a confusing area because federal and state laws conflict and social mores are in constant flux—especially when it comes to marijuana. Long gone are the days when the high school health teacher could show “Reefer Madness” and his students would accept that marijuana use leads straight to jail, depravity, or worse! Today, attitudes toward many substances, including marijuana, are more relaxed—at least at the state level. But regardless of current ...

Medical Marijuana/Marijuana Archives

 Guns

  • Handgun Regulation in Community Associations March 10, 2017 An entire textbook and law school class could be devoted to the topic of handgun regulation. This article will focus on two recent United States Supreme Court (“Court”) decisions, briefly discuss some of the ways in which the Court’s decisions could apply to community associations, and identify practical issues that a community association should consider before embarking on any attempt to restrict handguns in its community.   The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states.  A well-regulated Militia, being necessary ...
  • Community Associations and the Second Amendment February 8, 2017 The Second Amendment to the United States’ Constitution guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The Florida constitution contains a similar guarantee. With few exceptions, Florida law allows licensed individuals to carry concealed firearms in most public locations. Based on these constitutional and statutory rights under U.S. and Florida law, many owners residing in community associations believe that they also have the right to conceal-carry firearms when on their community’s common elements.    Read the article…………..
  • Open carry at the condo? (NH) January 6, 2017 “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Constitution, Second Amendment.  The Constitution is, of course, federal law, so one might think an outright prohibition against arms would be limited only to the federal government. But through the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, it applies to state governments as well. Further, the matter of bearing arms appears in the New ...
  • Ask a Real Estate Pro: HOA can’t ban firearms in homes (FL) November 11, 2016 Q: Some of the board members in our community are considering a rule that no firearms can be kept anywhere on the grounds, including in our own homes. Can they do this?    Read the Q&A…………..
  • Can Your Condo Prohibit Firearms on Common Property? (ON) March 22, 2016 I recently stumbled upon an interesting blog out of Florida, where the author discussed whether a Community Association can prohibit firearms on common areas. The author discussed the required trade off between individual rights and the greater common good of the condominium community. The same balancing act applies here, north of the 49th parallel, but thankfully the discussion does not involve guns and other firearms.     Read the article………….
  • Part II of Guns in Community Associations Can your Board of Directors Restrict or Prohibit Firearms In and On the Common Areas? February 15, 2016 In Part I of my blog post on guns in community associations, we discussed the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) categorized gun ownership inside a home as a fundamental right which likely means that a mandatory community association, despite being a private actor, would not have the authority (either by rule or amendment to the documents) to prohibit guns inside the units or homes.

Guns Article Archives

Violence in Associations

  • Tehama County shootings: Kevin Neal killed neighbors then continued rampage November 15, 2017 …………. She and her father, who is president of the homeowners association, said neighbors would complain to the sheriff’s department, which referred the complaints back to the homeowners association.  “The sheriff wouldn’t do anything about it,” said Juan Caravez.    Read the article……………
  • Jupiter stabbings were at ‘drug recovery’ center, HOA says (FL) September 26, 2017 Tuesday’s stabbings took place at a townhome that has been illegally operating as a sober home, the manager for the community association said.  The association found out about three weeks ago and has been working to evict the tenants, known as the Christian Recovery Center.  A board member who lives near the house at 1460 Corbison Point Place had people coming to her door asking if a sober home had opened in the area. Some found an ad on the ...
  • Two men charged in hot tub assault that left women with ripped bikini, bruises (MI) August 16, 2017 He later told police he did not know the three women were staying in a condo recently purchased by a new owner. Dean, a condo board member, told police there had been previous problems with strangers trespassing in the hot tub area and staying after hours.  When questioned by police, Dean said he’d hit one woman in the face with an open hand, but later admitted the woman might say he’d hit her with a closed fist, according to the ...
  • Coroner Identifies Man Killed By Las Vegas Condo Security (NV) August 7, 2017 The Clark County Coroner identified a man shot and killed by a security guard Thursday in a Nevada condominium complex.  Trayvone Crocket died after he was shot multiple times by Malik Kendrick, who was a security guard at the Mountainside Condominiums.  The coroner ruled the incident a homicide.     Read the article…………..
  • They wanted to impound his vehicle. He threatened them with a rifle. (WA) July 1, 2017 He was not going to let anybody take his broken-down car.  A letter from a Fife homeowners association warning the 42-year-old that his inoperable vehicle had to be moved away went ignored.  It didn’t happen.  On Wednesday, the Wapato Pointe South Homeowners Association sent three people to impound the car. They were greeted by an upset man who grabbed a rifle, according to court records.     Read the article…………..
  • Going Too Far Down the Rabbit Hole: How Our National Political Discourse Parallels Our Community Association Discourse June 26, 2017 It’s hard right now to turn away from the 24/7 news cycle and its discord, rancor and heated rhetoric. When we spend the majority of our time discussing just 20% of the topics which concern us, we cannot commit time or energy to the other 80% which also demands our attention. It’s not surprising that the same prioritization pressure occurs in private residential communities. How often has a board or membership meeting been monopolized by the concerns of one very ...

Violence in Associations Archives

Security

  • Blackhawk Homeowners Association: $25,000 Reward Offered in Burglaries (CA) November 7, 2017 The Blackhawk Homeowners Association is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the suspects involved in a string of burglaries in Blackhawk.    Read the article……………….
  • Columnist: Wake-up call for condo dwellers October 29, 2017 In this age of unwanted sexual advances why do we too often look away?  Why did the property management and board of directors at a swank Yorkville condominium not take immediate action to alert all residents to reports someone with a pass key was letting himself into womens’ units and, in at least one case, masturbating in the washroom?  The property manager points to the board of directors. The board of directors point to the property manager. Now, after the ...
  • Creepy Yorkville condo stalker terrifies women (ON) October 24, 2017 Women living in an upscale Yorkville condo fear a stalker is using a pass key to surreptitiously enter their homes and sexually gratify himself.  Adding to their terror, they have struggled with the building’s management to alert all residents at 35 Balmuto St.    Read the article………………
  • Attorney for woman shot by PBSO deputy to sue condo complex (FL) October 17, 2017 The Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who shot his ex-girlfriend, then fatally shot himself Thursday, was on duty and used his service weapon, Boynton Beach police confirmed Monday.  Meanwhile, an attorney for the victim, Yuly Solano, said Monday night he’s planning lawsuits against the condominium association where the shooting took place and possibly the sheriff’s office.    Read the article…………….
  • Can You Afford NOT to Pay for Cyber Security? October 11, 2017 Last month, the credit-reporting agency Equifax announced that it had fallen victim to a data breach, in which cyber thieves stole the sensitive data of more than 140 million Americans. It was only the latest episode in a widespread cyber crime wave, and it’s pushing forward-thinking co-op and condo boards to implement protective measures.  “Ten years ago, everything was stored on a local hard disk,” says Steve Rosenstein, the co-op treasurer of 60 Pineapple Street in Brooklyn Heights. “That’s changing ...
  • Starting a Neighborhood Watch in Your Community October 11, 2017 Many of our communities have expressed an interest in forming a neighborhood watch in order to assist with preventing crime and building stronger relationships with law enforcement. Though forming a neighborhood can be a great way to achieve these goals, a neighborhood watch could result in liability to the community. To reduce liability to the community, we recommend the following safe guards:    Read the article…………….

Security Archives

Infrastructure Problems

  • Joliet plugs a leak, pleases condo dwellers (IL) November 10, 2017 The city has put a temporary fix on a leaky pipe that has been a problem for years at a West Side condominium building.  Resident Rosemary Breen said she is happy with the results so far at Heritage House, a condominium development on Heritage Drive.    Read the article……………….
  • Portland Place property owners claim association failed to fix sewers (MO) November 10, 2017 Property owners are suing homeowners’ association trustees, citing alleged breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud.   Mark T. McCloskey and Patricia N. McCloskey filed a complaint on Oct. 23, in the St. Louis Circuit Court against Sanjay Jain, Russell John and Richard Gemberling, Portland Place Association trustees, alleging they breached their duties to maintain the sewer lateral in Portland Place.      Read the article…………….
  • $1M Leesburg Dam Lawsuit Gets First Hearing (VA) November 9, 2017 Motions were heard by Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Douglas Fleming on Thursday morning in a case to determine who is on the financial hook for $1 million in improvements to a stormwater pond and dam.  The two parties in the case are the Town of Leesburg and one of its largest homeowner’s associations, Exeter. The HOA represents 829 homes on 215 acres between Rt. 15 and Battlefield Parkway.    Read the article…………..
  • Local cemetery dealing with rain water runoff after pond damage (SC) November 5, 2017 The problem started over eight years ago when a drainage pipe for a neighboring pond, Lake Williams, broke. The pond is owned by the University Estates Homeowners Association.  An Aiken Standard article from May 29, 2009, mentions the damage and road repairs that had to be done because of the broken pipe.  “The pipe was damaged beyond repair when a December storm caused an overflow of water, which was more than it could handle,” the article states.    Read the article……………….
  • County road taxes complicate improvement district efforts (AZ) November 5, 2017 Even with the new road property tax, it could be many years before some crumbling neighborhood streets see any repairs.  That is, unless, neighbors band together and form what is known as an improvement district. Those special taxing districts allow residents in unincorporated Pima County to essentially impose an assessment or property tax on themselves — only after a majority within designated boundaries sign a petition — to pay for streets, lighting or other improvements in the area.     Read ...
  • Homeowners look to nearby Solon for safe water (IA) November 4, 2017 One of 14 homeowners in a development nestled next to Lake Macbride Golf Course, Mark Steiger just wants safe drinking water for his family.  Untreated, the water in his neighborhood’s community well has arsenic levels nearly twice the safe threshold identified by the Environmental Protection Agency.  To address the issue, Gallery Acres West’s roughly 40 residents have asked nearby Solon, home to about 2,500 people, to allow the development to connect to the city’s water supply.  “We’re members of the ...

Infrastructure Archives

Religion

In addition to the items below and their archive, we have begun to create specific pages with more and deeper resources.  Visit the page for Community Association Religious Issues

  • Lakewood’s Enclave community votes to allow Sukkas, with restrictions (NJ) September 14, 2017 A senior community in Lakewood will after all allow Sukkas to be constructed within the development, but with restrictions.  As earlier reported, an effort to stop Sukkas was made at the Enclave, where many Frum families have taken residence in the last few years.    Read the article…………..
  • Predjudice? Lawsuit claims Bay View religious requirement is discriminatory (MI) July 14, 2017 A group of people who oppose the Bay View Association’s requirement that homeowners in the community must have a formal Christian affiliation has taken their case to federal court.  The Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group, which includes individuals opposed to the Christian affiliation requirement, on Monday filed a religious discrimination and civil rights lawsuit against the Bay View Association of the United Methodist Church in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.  The Bay View Association is ...
  • Court: Senior Citizens Can Seek Punitive Damages in Religious Discrimination Suit Against HOA May 24, 2017 A court has rejected the latest attempt by a homeowners’ association to shield itself from punitive damages for shutting down Bible studies and a Sunday worship service.   Read the article………….
  • Judge rules that religious organization must remove structure it built in Towson neighborhood (MD) April 14, 2017 A Baltimore County Circuit Court judge has ordered that a controversial 6,614-square-foot structure a religious organization built in a residential neighborhood in Towson must come down within the next year.  The decision is the latest in a legal battle between Friends of Lubavitch Inc. and the organization’s neighbors in the community of Aigburth Manor, who say that the structure the organization built at 14 Aigburth Road is out of character with the neighborhood, has decreased the value of surrounding property ...
  • Spring Valley lifts religious prohibitions on condo complex (NY) March 23, 2017 The village has agreed Park View Condominiums has a constitutional right to have a synagogue and other ritual uses at the 61-home complex on Main Street and Maple Avenue, which may lead to the dismissal of pending building violations, village lawyers said.  As a private business, the government cannot restrict Park View owners from having a house of worship or other religious uses inside the complex, as long as all zoning and safety regulations are met, the village’s legal counsel, ...
  • Condominium Owners’ Meeting on Muslim Holiday – Was this Discrimination? February 28, 2017 A condominium corporation found itself before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (Kamal v. PCC No. 51) after several unit owners alleged that the corporation had discriminated against them on the basis of creed, by holding an owners’ special meeting on an important Muslim religious holiday.  Major repairs to the tune of $2,000,000 were required to repair the corporation’s common element balconies and exterior walls. Unfortunately, there was only $200,000 in the corporation’s reserve fund. The need for the repairs was ...

Religion Archives

Drones

  • Downtown San Diego high rise residents fear a peeping tom is using a drone October 16, 2017 A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said downtown San Diego high rise residents should contact police if they see a drone flying outside their window.  Dozens of people have posted on the Nextdoor App about seeing a drone spying inside their windows during the past two weeks.  “My wife started yelling about some drone blinking lights outside of our window and then we saw the drone move from window to window and back and forth,” said Adrian Reyes, the HOA President ...
  • New Federal Drone Restrictions July 28, 2017 Did you know that in April 2017 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established air space regulations over 133 military locations in the United States? Pursuant to 14 CFR 99.7, through an agreement with the Department of Defense, the FAA has the authority to establish special security instructions for the operation of drones in order to protect the nation’s security. The recent air space regulations prohibit drones up to 400 feet within the boundaries of 133 specific military facilities.    Read ...
  • What is that noise? Is that a drone? July 25, 2017 Drones are everywhere. The government uses drones, Amazon.com uses drones, weather forecasters use drones, and now even homeowners use drones. The question then becomes what, if anything, can an association do to regulate drones?   Read the article…………
  • Use of Drones by Homeowner Gets Tempers Soaring at Florida HOA Community July 14, 2017 The use of drones by owners and residents of units in HOA and condominium communities has created concerns across the country over potential privacy and safety issues for community association managers and their boards of directors. Sales of drones to consumers in the U.S. are expected to grow from 2.5 million in 2016 to 7 million in 2020, according to a report from the FAA. As the popularity of drones continues to soar, associations will need to come to terms ...
  • HOA Use of Drones Has Some Residents Alarmed June 17, 2017 Recently, the residents of the Concord Station community north of Tampa in Land O’Lakes, Fla. shared their complaints and confusion with a reporter from one of their local television stations over their HOA’s use of a drone equipped with a camera in their community.  The residents indicate in the station’s report that they received an online notice from their HOA alerting them that it would be flying the drone, which the association confirmed that it operated over the community in ...
  • It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane….Actually, It’s a Drone June 16, 2017 Drones are everywhere. The government uses drones, Amazon.com uses drones, weather forecasters use drones, and, low and behold, homeowners use drones. The question then becomes what, if anything, can an association do to regulate drones.    Read the article…………….
  • FishHawk neighbors, HOA battle over drone use (FL) June 13, 2017 Drones are becoming more popular as a hobby, but many say regulations aren’t keeping up with the technology.  Right now, there’s a battle brewing in FishHawk Ranch: the right to fly drones versus neighbors rights to privacy.  When it comes to enforcement, there are a lot of gray areas about what can be done to keep the peace.  Frank Bragg has a fleet of a half dozen drones, just for fun.    Read the article……………
  • Drone use comes with flight risks for condos June 13, 2017 Anyone who has attended a condo trade show in the past few years has no doubt seen the wonderful new array of tech gadgets available for the condo community. They range from super high-resolution cameras to commercial drones that can quickly diagnose water penetration and other issues without ever leaving the ground. Tech nerd or not, the possibilities are exciting.    Read the article………….

Drone Archives

Hoarding

  • What To Do If Your Community Has A Hoarder August 24, 2017 If you’re on the HOA board, it’s important to think about new challenges in your community. For example, hoarding is a newer issue for communities with aging-in-place residents.  Some people hoard because they believe the item will be useful in the future while others hold sentimental value and link memories to items. Some think the bargain is too good to pass up, and others simply can’t decide where it belongs.    Read the article……………
  • What are the Negative Consequences of Hoarding in a Community Association? May 23, 2017 Hoarding is a psychological condition where: 1) individuals have difficulty getting rid of possessions that are no longer useful; and 2) efforts to discard these possessions and not acquire new items cause distress. Television shows such as Hoarding: Buried Alive and Hoarders display in alarming detail the negative emotional and physical impact of this condition upon the individual with the hoarding disorder as well as his or her family and neighbors.     Read the article……………..
  • Kass: What can a condo board do if a unit owner is a hoarder? May 4, 2017 Q: I am the president of our midsize condominium. One of our owners is a hoarder. She won’t let us in to inspect her unit, but we have reason to believe it is cluttered with what she probably calls “collectibles”; I call it junk. What should we do?    Read the article…………….
  • How to Deal with Hoarders in Your Condo or Co-op November 10, 2016 Everyone loves to own things—sometime even many things. But occasionally, ownership of things can go too far and accumulation can grow problematic. In the modern parlance, a too-many-thing-haver is often referred to as a “hoarder,” an individual who can prove a burden for their neighbors, their property, and their community at large. In a condominium or cooperative where communal living is paramount, this can grow exceptionally troublesome, as property values are intertwined and one resident’s approach to – or disregard ...
  • Handling Hoarding in a Condominium Community November 2, 2016 Hoarding is becoming an increasingly common disorder that carries serious consequences for the afflicted, their family, and neighbors. Hoarding has the potential to attract rodents, create fire hazards, and can threaten the health of occupants. While hoarding is dangerous for anyone, it is especially problematic for condominium associations where residents live so close together. Rather than just affecting the occupants of a specific unit, it can also affect the neighboring units and common elements.    Read the article……………
  • Hoarding and Hoarders Must Be Handled With Care August 15, 2016 The problems posed by community association residents who hoard are complex and difficult to manage. Boards have to balance the legitimate concerns of residents affected by hoarding, while respecting the rights of residents who hoard, or who are suspected of hoarding.  The signs and symptoms of hoarding include foul odors, insects or rodent infestation, dirty windows, dirty or continually closed curtains and blinds, window obstruction from large pieces of furniture or stacks of boxes blocking window interior views. When uncontrolled ...
  • This Stinks! The Minefield Created By Hoarders June 17, 2016 They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. For those who are members of a condominium or townhome owners’ association, one person’s trash (or treasure) is often another person’s headache. A “hoarder” may be defined as one who accumulates material things for preservation or future use, often in a hidden or carefully guarded place.     Read the article………….
  • “HOA”rding Situations June 8, 2016 According to the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Foundation, a hoarder is someone who obsessively acquires too many possessions or has enormous difficulty discarding possessions when they are no longer useful or needed. When this type of behavior spirals out of control and threatens a person’s health or safety it becomes a hoarding “disorder”.     Read the article…………

Hoarding Archives