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

  • Woodbury HOAs impacted by alleged embezzlement case (MN) July 12, 2017 A senior executive at Durand & Associates, a property-management firm in South St. Paul, was recently fired after being accused of taking client money.  Members of Woodbury’s Eagle Valley Homeowners Association, Wedgewood Association and Woodbury Crossing received notices telling them an employee had allegedly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars by funneling money into newly opened bank accounts.    Read the article……………
  • Community Manager ordered to pay $1.6 million to HOAs (NV) July 7, 2017 Dozens of Home Owners Associations are out a ton of money. Over a million bucks all together. Contact 13 finds out who took it and how they got away with stealing homeowners’ money.  Community Association Managers are supposed to look after homeowners and their HOAs. But the Nevada Real Estate Division says one manager was only looking out herself.   Contact 13 obtained this order from the Commission for Common-Interest Communities. It says community manager Leslie White defrauded 34 HOAs ...
  • Trial for alleged HOA embezzler delayed to December (CA) July 6, 2017 The trial for a man accused of being a co-conspirator in an embezzlement case involving nearly $2.8 million from a San Mateo homeowners association was delayed until Dec. 4 as his defense attorney addresses a family medical emergency, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.    Read the article……………
  • N4T Investigators: Tucson police investigating HOA July 5, 2017 After a News 4 Tucson investigation into potentially missing money, Tucson police are now looking into a local Home Owners Association.  Since it’s an open case Tucson police can’t say much about their investigation, but officials with the financial crimes division confirm they are investigating Cuernavaca Villa’s financial situation.    Read the article…………..
  • Police: Scottsdale management co. employee stole $200K from 8 HOA’s June 28, 2017 A Glendale couple was arrested after they allegedly stole about $200,000 from eight Homeowners’ Associations across the Valley.  Scottsdale police report that in December of 2016 the chief executive officer of ‘The Management Trust’ was alerted by an HOA president to a $53,000 discrepancy in their bank account.  ‘The Management Trust,’ located near Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Loop 101, manages accounts for multiple HOA’s across the Valley.    Read the article…………..
  • Fort Collins accountant pleads guilty to theft (CO) June 26, 2017 A Fort Collins accountant accused of stealing from two of her clients took plea deals in two criminal cases against her Monday.  Meredith Kanter, also known as Molly Hoff, appeared before Eighth Judicial District Judge Devin Odell Monday on 15 felony charges in two cases alleging she stole money from a Fort Collins nonprofit and a condo association. Kanter pleaded guilty to one count of theft in each case.   Read the article…………….
  • HOA Secrets Exposed – Criminal Investigation Reopened (GA) June 22, 2017 Whether you love or hate your homeowner’s association (HOA), you know that when the dues are due, you have to pay. But how much do you know about how that money gets spent?  A group of homeowners in Douglasville, Ga. said they’ve been trying for years to answer that question. They said that for years their dues have been going up with little explanation why. They asked to see their bank statements and receipts for spending but the board, through ...
  • Investigators try to gauge extent of alleged condo fraud across Twin Cities (MN) June 20, 2017 Investigators are looking at more than 30 condominium and townhouse associations across the Twin Cities to determine the extent of alleged theft by a recently fired executive at a South St. Paul property management firm.  Residents of a property in Falcon Heights learned last week that the ousted employee of Durand & Associates was alleged to have embezzled “a large amount of money.” The man hasn’t been charged and the Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects until charges are ...

Fraud & Embezzlement Archives

Companion Animals

  • Obtaining Prescriptions for ‘Therapy Pets’ Is Easy; Rejecting Accommodations Based on Them Is Not July 26, 2017 We face many challenges in life. Obtaining a doctor’s note certifying the need for an emotional support animal isn’t one of them. And for condo association board members and managers, this is a source of considerable and increasing frustration.    Read the article……………
  • Many association pet bans are all bark and no bite July 24, 2017 Many condominium associations have found their pet bans have no teeth.  That’s because an increasing number of residents are requesting permission to keep assistance animals due to physical or mental disability. Associations have little choice but to grant the exceptions.  The trend is frustrating boards and managers, who suspect that many requests are bogus.    Read the article………….
  • MU study shows emotional support animal certification may need to change (MO) July 3, 2017 A study conducted by the MU psychology department shows that the certification process for emotional support animals is flawed.  The study, conducted by Cassie Boness, a graduate student studying clinical psychology, and Jeffrey N. Younggren, a forensic psychologist and clinical professor at MU, looked at whose responsibility it should be to certify emotional support animals.   Read the article……………..
  • Pets Allowed: My Unusual Emotional Support Animal June 19, 2017 Marc Philippe Eskenazi tests out which New York City establishments with previously strict human-only policies will allow in his menagerie of emotional-support animals.    Watch the video…………..
  • Service Animals And Your Condominium Or Community Association June 13, 2017 As a professional community manager for the past two decades, I have seen a rapid growth in the number of service animals within condominium and community associations.  Currently, about 79.7 million households – or 65 percent of all households in the United States – include pets, and 42 percent of those have more than one pet.  While most communities have a long-established pet policy, it’s important to know that the same rules don’t apply to service animals, sometimes referred to ...
  • Online Harassment and Risk of Liability Under Fair Housing Laws June 1, 2017 My colleagues and I have blogged about the importance of recognizing requests for reasonable accommodations/modifications, carefully and thoughtfully considering them, and properly responding in a timely manner. We like to think our posts on this topic have helped a few association boards make better decisions, but if the case discussed below is any indication, more information and discussion is needed.  In yet another example of less-than-civil behavior at a community association, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ...

Companion Animals Archives

Flags

  • 25 Investigates: Woman fined for hanging American flag on her front door (MA) July 24, 2017 A Leominster woman was forced to pay a fine for hanging an American flag on her own front door – a move that has one state lawmaker calling for action to protect patriotic homeowners.  Elizabeth Heller called Boston 25 News Investigative Reporter Eric Rasmussen because she said it “isn’t right” that her condo association forced her to take down the flag she hung in celebration of July 4th at her complex – ironically named Liberty Commons.     Read the article………..
  • Flag causes problems with man’s Home Owner’s Association July 12, 2017 CBS46 is taking a closer look at a metro Atlanta man’s argument with hos Home Owner’s Association.  Something similar may have happened to you before.  The man thought he had the freedom to fly a flag, just showing support for the Atlanta United soccer team inside his home, but the HOA said no and even threatened a series of fines.    Read the article…………..
  • Unit owners can display American or military flags (FL) July 1, 2017 Q. We live in a community that forbids owners from displaying any flag. With Independence Day coming up soon, is this prohibition enforceable?   Read the Q&A………….
  • Strata fines senior $50 for hanging Canadian flags on his property (BC) July 1, 2017 With the country ready to celebrate its 150th birthday, flags are popping up in windows as Canadians everywhere show their patriotism.  In one Qualicum Beach complex, that patriotic spirit is actually costing one senior – to the tune of $50.  Barrie Burden, 79, says his father, daughter, son-in-law and grandsons have all served in the Canadian Air Force and the family sees the Canadian flag as a symbol of pride.   Read the article………….
  • Check it out: Massive American flag lights up Kaneohe condo (HI) June 29, 2017 How many people does it take to create Hawaii’s biggest American flag? Six under the direction of President Wayne Asam Sr. and Jo Ann Sivils, senior management executive for Hawaiiana Management Company. The condo’s board of directors came up with the idea and teamwork brought it to life.    Read the article…………….
  • Associations must allow flags (FL) June 24, 2017 Q: I am a military veteran. Over Memorial Day weekend, I displayed my American flag outside my home. I intend to display the same flag for the Fourth of July. I recently received a letter from my homeowners’ association stating that I cannot display my flag until I submit an application to do so, and until I receive approval from the board of directors. My main concern is that our board does not meet over the summer months, and therefore ...

Flags Archives

Short-term Rentals

  • Condo Smarts: Victoria city council requests changes to the Strata Property Act July 20, 2017 Dear Tony: Is it true that the government is going to cancel the ability of strata corporations to enforce any type of rental limitation or restriction bylaws?  Our strata is a 50-unit apartment building in Victoria and we permit five rentals. We also have two family rentals to retired owners and one hardship rental.  Our council has few complaints against any of our tenants and we treat them the same as owners and enjoy their residency and do not have ...
  • Debating Future of Airbnb in Fairfax County Supervisors are considering updating its zoning ordinance to allow short-term rentals (VA) July 17, 2017 Right now, there are more than 300 rentals available in Fairfax County through Airbnb — all illegal.  Airbnb, which is a lodging reservation website, is just one company that gives its users the ability to list spare rooms, apartments or entire homes for strangers to book for an amount of time and fee of their choosing.  Referred to as short-term rentals, Airbnb and other companies, like Craigslist, HomeAway, FlipKey and more, are considered the hospitality industry’s segment of the sharing ...
  • Victoria councillor looks to ban strata prohibitions on rentals (BC) July 16, 2017 Strata councils should not be allowed to prohibit long-term rentals, a Victoria councillor says.  Coun. Ben Isitt proposed the city ask the province to change legislation so rentals could not be prohibited by strata councils. Under his proposal, strata councils would still be allowed to introduce bylaws prohibiting short-term vacation rentals.  Rather than endorsing the motion, councillors referred it back to Isitt for clarification.     Read the article……………..
  • HB 4503 and SB 329: Recent Skirmishes Regarding Short-Term Rentals and Their Effect on Community Associations July 13, 2017 Tourism is a major part of the Michigan economy and its significance continues to grow. From 2010 through 2014 tourism employment growth even outpaced overall state employment growth. Further, for each month between 2015 and 2017, Michigan’s visitor occupancy rate has increased over the prior year’s occupancy rate for every month, except for two. This growth has seen an increase in the significance of tourism for Michigan as a whole, and the increase in occupancy rates suggests that visitors may ...
  • Strata building by-laws restricting short-stay letting, including Airbnb, declared ‘invalid’ by Fair Trading July 7, 2017 All by-laws restricting Airbnb and other short-stay letting in residential-only apartment blocks are invalid, according to NSW Fair Trading.  Only weeks before the discussion paper on new holiday letting legislation is released, Fair Trading has modified its Strata Living handbook to warn strata committees and owners corporations that they can’t pass by-laws restricting holiday lets.    Read the article…………..
  • Airbnb issue tough nut to crack for Victoria city council (BC) July 1, 2017 Rental vacancy rates near zero, along with a mounting lobby from strata councils and the hospitality industry, is bringing increased pressure on Victoria city council to limit online platforms such as Airbnb.   Hotel managers and tourism representatives have spoken to council, saying that they not only make for an unlevel playing field and cut into their revenues, but that the loss of condos and basement suites to the short-term rental market means many of their employees can’t find a ...
 

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

  • State Legislature moved to restrict HOA controls over political speech (CA) May 10, 2017 The state Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved a bill by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, to prohibit California’s more than 50,000 homeowner associations (HOAs) from suppressing the freedom of speech and freedom of association rights of their residents.  SB 407 now heads to the floor for consideration of the full Senate.    Read the article……………
  • Stars and gripes flying in this neighborhood flag dispute (FL) May 3, 2017 In his mind, Warren Erickson saw his collection of flags as an invitation to conversation and goodwill. Instead, a handful of neighbors are angry, his homeowner’s association is firing off new edicts and most of his flags have been permanently retired to a corner in his garage.  “There’s some friction around here, and I’m not sure why,” Erickson said. “It’s not like I’m flying the flag that ISIS flies.”  For the record, Erickson has an eclectic and personally meaningful rotation ...
  • St. Johns County family projects ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flag on garage after HOA complaints (FL) April 22, 2017 Support for law enforcement officers is now proudly projected on a St. Johns County home.  The house once displayed a “Blue Lives Matter” flag.  “It doesn’t seem to quite be covered that a projector from a vehicle projecting on your garage door is a violation of the HOA,” Jeff Gaddie said.  He said the flag flew outside his daughter’s home in Samara Lakes for years.    Read the article……………
  • HOA cites homeowners for hanging rainbow flag to celebrate diversity (AZ) April 13, 2017 When Haycraft hung an American flag and a rainbow flag, which honors gay and transgender communities, inside a garage window to celebrate diversity.  The homeowner’s association sent him a letter five weeks later demanding Haycraft remove “unsightly items” from public view to keep the development “a beautiful, well maintained community.”    Read the article……………
  • Family debating HOA over Christmas wreath fine (NV) April 8, 2017 A man living in the Arroyo Canyon subdivision near the 215 Beltway and Hualapai Way says his homeowners association is threatening to fine him $100 over a decorative wreath.  Milan Thakkar says his wife picked out the wreaths to decorate their front door and make it less plain. They say it’s not a Christmas wreath, but their HOA sent a letter claiming they violated a rule that holiday decorations have to be taken down within 30 days of the holiday. ...
  • Hayden-area man with Christmas light extravaganza sues home owners association for religious discrimination (ID) January 19, 2017 A Hayden-area man with a Christmas light extravaganza is suing his home owners association for religious discrimination.  “I thought all that mattered was what rules say,” said Jeremy Morris. “I didn’t realize it kind of doesn’t matter because they still will do whatever they can to destroy you.”  The lawsuit, filed Jan. 13 in U.S. District Court asks for $250,000 to “compensate Mr. and Mrs. Morris fully for their shock, humiliation, embarrassment, inconvenience, and economic loss.”     Read the article………….
 

1st Amendment Archives

Energy & Water Conservation

  • Rancho Santa Margarita resident, HOA at odds over drought-tolerant front lawn July 26, 2017 Jeff Armbruster installed a drought-tolerant front lawn including nine yards of pink sandstone at his Rancho Santa Margarita home. He is now in trouble with the Santa Margarita Landscape and Recreation Corporation because the yard isn’t covered with 85 percent living plants. Their rules say rocks should be an accent and not a focal point.    Read the article…………..
  • Commentary: Lawns are most irrigated crop July 24, 2017 When you think about irrigated crops, what likely comes to mind is corn, soy, and other agricultural crops. But the largest irrigated crop in the United States is not one that ends up on our dinner plate. It’s our lawns. Yes, lawns use four times more irrigation than corn crops in the United States.   Read the article……………..
  • No quick fix for old irrigation system at condo community (NV) July 23, 2017 Q: You emphasized it’s better to water longer rather than more often. But what if that’s not possible? Our small condo community has an old irrigation system with everything watered from the same lines. We irrigate for nearly 24 hours. Less than that and small plants really struggle. Is there anything we can do?   Read the Q&A……………
  • Solar Panels: Let the Sunshine In But Only After Approval (CO) July 20, 2017 Colorado law prohibits associations from adopting rules or regulations that effectively prohibit the installation of solar panels on homeowners’ properties, but associations are allowed to adopt reasonable rules governing such installation, which can be based on aesthetic considerations and to prohibit solar panels on common areas. Such rules must also not significantly increase the cost of the solar panels or significantly decrease the effectiveness of the panels.    Read the article……………
  • Five Paths to Reducing Your HOAs Carbon Footprint July 18, 2017 It’s one thing to want to reduce your carbon footprint in an HOA, but how do you actually go about doing that? Here are five pathways that might help.   Read the article………………
  • Mount Pleasant man’s battle for solar panels remains unsettled (SC) July 13, 2017 Mount Pleasant resident Steve Zimmerman just wanted to get off the grid.  In December, Zimmerman moved into Lakeshore subdivision, a cozy little community of about 70 homes off bustling Rifle Range Road.  Soon after, he started investigating the possibility of having solar panels installed on the back and side of his Deep Water Drive house, approaching the homeowner’s board.   Read the article…………..

Energy & Water Conservation Archives

Nuisance

  • 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…………….
  • Burnaby (BC) condo owners ordered to pay fines for ‘unacceptable’ behaviour April 11, 2016 A couple accused of screaming bigoted and obscene taunts at their neighbours and smearing dog feces on doors in their Burnaby condo complex have been ordered to fork over thousands of dollars in unpaid strata fines.      Read the article………..
  • What happens when resident vs. homeowners association? Ave Maria (FL) homeowner finds out April 8, 2016 In late March, Miami Management Inc., which runs the homeowners association on behalf of the development, threatened to sue Ospina if he continued to host the workouts, pointing to covenant agreements that are so common among neighborhoods and communities in the Naples area.   Read the article…………..

Nuisance Archives

Electric Vehicles

  • It will cost $240 to charge electric vehicles and golf carts at Laguna Woods Village (CA) July 19, 2017 Laguna Woods Village’s Third Mutual on Tuesday, July 18 passed a resolution to make amendments to its plug-in electric vehicle and golf cart policies and procedures, including fines for unpermitted use of common-area electricity.     Read the article…………..
  • Condo owners reporting push-back over electric vehicles June 13, 2017 Despite the rising popularity of electric cars, some condo owners say they’re facing push-back when they ask their condo boards for permission to install charging stations.  Cara Clairman, CEO of Plug’n Drive, a non-profit organization encouraging the use of electric vehicles in Ontario, said condo boards are fielding a growing number of requests to install charging stations in parking garages.  Many of these requests are being denied.   Read the article…………….
  • Ontario Condo Act a roadblock for electric vehicle owners June 12, 2017 Hoping to hit its ambitious goals for electric vehicle ownership, Ontario is looking to overhaul parts of the Condominium Act that have become an unexpected barrier to owning one.  Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is gathering electric vehicle and condo groups together Monday and Tuesday to look at how revamping the act could encourage more electric vehicles on the roads.    Read the article……………
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Keep your Condominium Association current! June 5, 2017 Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity throughout the United States and create unique challenges for Michigan condominium associations, especially those that were created before electric vehicles were even contemplated. Experts project that by 2040, at least thirty-five percent of all new cars will have a plug. Accordingly, condominium associations will be forced to deal with issues relating to the charging of electric vehicles both now and well into the future. However, the vast majority of states, including Michigan, do not ...
  • Electric vehicles. Is your condo ready? Part 2 of Condo Disruption Series April 28, 2017 Electric vehicles or EVs for short, are becoming more and more common on our roads with just about every car manufacturer offering a 100% electric vehicle or hybrid version. As more people purchase EVs, expectations that your condo parking lot or garage will have charging stations will increase. If someone owns a Chevy Volt and they’re looking for a new place to live, a condo that’s friendly to EVs becomes a huge selling advantage.    Read the article…………..

Electric Vehicle Archives

Smoking

  • 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 ...
  • VIC: Move Your Butt July 10, 2017 This article about whether the owners corporation can make special rules prohibiting smoking on common property or within lots has been supplied by Tim Graham, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.   Read the article……………
  • Smoking Complaints-The Saga Continues July 6, 2017 Given the municipal smoking ban in public places(1) and the proven harm of secondhand and third hand smoke, many Boards continue to be besieged with complaints from residents of transmission of smoke into their homes. These complaints can range from annoyance with smoke odors to complaints that smoke transmission is life-threatening and renders a home uninhabitable. Most governing documents prohibit residents from engaging in noxious or offensive activities, and residents therefore look to the Board to resolve smoke transmission complaints. ...
  • The State of Smoking: LegalMarijuana vs. Smoking Policies June 15, 2017 While the exhortation to “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” has never really gone out of style, one should take caution before lighting up just anywhere. Many places, from restaurants to airplanes to hospitals, expressly and strictly forbid anyone from smoking anything at all. And while those nonsmoking spaces are fairly cut-and-dry, the rules are less uniform and absolute in condominium and cooperative residential properties. Some properties allow smoking in private units or even certain common areas, while other buildings ...
  • 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…………..
  • Condo owner will do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop neighbours above spitting and tossing cigarettes May 8, 2017 After more than a year of unsuccessfully trying to get condo authorities to stop his neighbours from spitting and tossing cigarette butts onto his patio, Wayne Russell says he was driven to “an act of desperation” over the weekend.  “I went and grabbed a tarp from Home Depot and a can of paint and I just painted a big banner sign … and I tied it across my patio and I wrote on it a big message to my neighbours,” ...

Smoking Archives

Medical Marijuana/Marijuana

  • 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 ...
  • The State of Smoking: LegalMarijuana vs. Smoking Policies June 15, 2017 While the exhortation to “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” has never really gone out of style, one should take caution before lighting up just anywhere. Many places, from restaurants to airplanes to hospitals, expressly and strictly forbid anyone from smoking anything at all. And while those nonsmoking spaces are fairly cut-and-dry, the rules are less uniform and absolute in condominium and cooperative residential properties. Some properties allow smoking in private units or even certain common areas, while other buildings ...
  • Marijuana grow operation may have caused Woodhaven fire (MI) June 12, 2017 An investigation is underway after a fire at an apartment complex in Woodhaven.  Crews were called out to Kirkway Village Condos off of Allen Road this morning.  It appears the fire only caused exterior damage to two of the condo units.   Read the article……………
  • Ask the Mayor: What Can I Do About Medical Marijuana Smokers at Condo? (HI) June 4, 2017 Q: I am the general manager at a condominium and some people with medical marijuana licenses are smoking outside the building all of the time, and now it’s encouraging those without marijuana licenses to light up as well.  There hasn’t been any trouble so far but I’m afraid this will encourage others to do the same.  Are there any options for me? I don’t want to tell these people they can’t smoke pakalolo and then get slapped with a lawsuit ...
  • Marijuana in Condominiums- My take on the issue (ON) May 4, 2017 Marijuana will soon be legal (for persons over a certain age). Growing marijuana at home, for one’s own consumption and limited to a certain number of plants, will also be legal. What does this mean for condominiums?  In terms of smoking marijuana on a condominium property, it seems to me that marijuana will be essentially the same as tobacco, subject to special rights surrounding “medical marijuana”. To me, here’s what this means:  Read the article……….
  • One Toke Over the Line – Smoking, Medical Marijuana and Fair Housing Laws May 1, 2017 Medical marijuana can now be legally prescribed in Florida, and the legislature continues to struggle with regulation of dispensaries in the State. Meanwhile, prescriptions can be filled in other States, for edible medical marijuana as well as the processed plant materials. At this point, low-THC products (with less of the chemical that causes the “high”) and CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis oil are available in Florida.  Most conversations related to the use of medical marijuana result in more questions than answers. And, ...

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

  • 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 ...
  • Man arrested in shooting of northwest valley homeowners association president (NV) June 20, 2017 A man was arrested June 14 on suspicion of shooting his homeowners association president at a northwest valley apartment complex.  Eric Leroy, 33, shot at Timothy Rose three times, grazing him on the right side of his face and hitting his left calf, an arrest report shows.  Leroy was upset that Rose had kept possession of his property because of a debt he owed, and had previously threatened to shoot him.    Read the article…………..
  • Trial opens in attempted-murder case stemming from Boulder County squirrel dispute (CO) June 19, 2017 The trial for a Gunbarrel man accused of shooting his neighbor over a dispute about feeding the local squirrels began Monday as a Boulder County jury will be tasked with determining if the shooting was an attempted murder or an act of self-defense.  Jon Barbour, 60, is facing one count of attempted second-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury.  Attorneys agreed that Barbour shot his neighbor, Jeffrey Browning, on May 12, ...
  • Injunction Against Condo Owner Illustrates Just How Ugly Things Can Get June 6, 2017 The old adage “don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch” definitely applies in community association living. Unfortunately, conflicts between boards of directors and recalcitrant unit owners are par for the course in associations, so it is incumbent on the boards and their property management and legal counsel to deftly contend with every brouhaha that arises in order to help maintain peace and harmony.  A ruling in Broward County Court last year illustrates the challenges of dealing with unruly unit ...
  • Dispute among condo board members lands Boca man in jail (FL) June 2, 2017 An altercation between two board members of a Boca Raton condo association landed one in jail this week on a battery charge.  City police arrested Eric Harry Shaw, 73, Tuesday on a charge of battery on a person older than 65.   Read the article……………

Violence in Associations Archives

Security

  • HOAs Turned Police July 25, 2017 How far should a homeowners association go to enforce speeding, traffic violations and reckless driving within their community? What should a Board of Directors do when a homeowner or resident speeds or endangers the safety of others in the association with their driving? In some states around the United States, including Illinois and Florida, there is a growing trend among homeowners associations to issue traffic citations for speeding and reckless driving.    Read the article…………..
  • A look inside neighborhood watch programs that deter burlgars (KS) July 24, 2017 Put a sign in yard that says you have an alarm and neighborhood watch.”  “Have a security and neighborhood watch.”  Those are two direct quotes from convicted burglars telling Gray affiliate KWCH’s FactFinder 12 how people can avoid falling victim to home burglaries. They’re two pieces of advice that have Carolyn Bunch proud of what she’s created in her Wichita, Kan. neighborhood.  “I usually preface it by saying, ‘Hey, I’m not trying to be a nosy neighbor but I noticed ...
  • Mother sues West Palm Beach condo in son’s 2015 shooting death (FL) July 17, 2017 he mother of a 22-year-old man who has shot dead in his West Palm Beach apartment in 2015 has sued the owners and managers of the complex near Palm Beach Lakes and Village boulevards.  In the lawsuit filed last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, the mother of Alex Johnson claims Paradise Cove and others failed to provide adequate security    Read the article……………..
  • Toronto condo resident learns her key opens other units July 13, 2017 A condo resident in Toronto’s east end is raising concerns about the security of her building after she learned her key opens not only her front door — but also the door to other units.  Aurella Daigle, who lives at Danforth and Coxwell avenues, said she’s convinced other tenants have master keys as well.    Read the article…………….
  • Tri-State Subdivision Adds Video Surveillance to the Neighborhood July 8, 2017 A Tri-State subdivision will now be under video surveillance, recording all kinds of activity in their neighborhood.  After months of work and meetings, six cameras are set up around the entrances to the Keystone subdivision in Vanderburgh County.  The HD security system costs about $20,000 and is the first of it’s kind in Vanderburgh County.     Read the article…………….
  • HOA Homefront: Addition of cameras in common areas needs research before board steps in July 8, 2017 Q: A new owner in our condo complex rented it to tenants who installed security cameras on the exterior of their unit, one on their front door and one on their balcony that pans all outside their doorway and mine, the interior of my patio, everybody’s balcony, and down the corridor. All residents are filmed going to the front gate entry.  Is there a law that would help me?    Read the Q&A…………..

Security Archives

Infrastructure Problems

  • 4 Albemarle dams get grants to improve risk levels (VA) July 25, 2017 Four dam owners in Albemarle County have received a total of about $107,000 in state grants to help reduce the risk of dam failures.  About $1.15 million in grants from the Virginia Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund, managed by the Virginia Resources Authority on behalf of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, was awarded to 72 dam safety and floodplain management projects.    Read the article…………..
  • Neighbors at odds over dam repair (SC) July 17, 2017 Lake Dogwood recently became the fourth community in Richland County that voted to tax itself to rebuild a dam, bringing life back to Dogwood Lake.  Forty-nine of the community’s 110 registered voters went to the polls, voting 33-15 to create a special taxing district. But a month later, those opposed are speaking out in hopes county council won’t give the referendum its stamp of approval.   Read the article……………
  • Landmark subdivision residents to form RID for roads (MT) July 13, 2017 A subdivision in the Belgrade area is in preliminary stages of vetting residents on whether they would support a designation to collect fees for future road maintenance costs.  Landmark subdivision Homeowner’s Association proposed the area be designated as a Maintenance Rural Improvement District. This would require residents in the subdivision to pay an annual fee to a road maintenance account that would be used to offset costs for future repairs.    Read the article…………….
  • Seniors Deal With Pot Holes Outside Assisted Living Community (TN) July 13, 2017 Seniors at one Middle Tennessee Senior Living community have taken notice of the pot hole problem outside their building.  Residents at Morningside of Springfield claim they’ve been dealing with bad pot holes on the road leading to the complex for years. The city, however, cannot repave the road since it’s a private drive.  According to city letters, the Royal Oaks Condominiums Homeowners Association was notified by the city to repave the “deplorable” road conditions in September of last year. However, ...
  • Lakes become wastelands in flood stricken communities (SC) July 5, 2017 Close to two years after more than 50 dams breached in the October 2015 flood, the Department of Transportation says nearly a dozen privately owned dams still sit in limbo.  Others have already made the decision not to rebuild. At Pine Tree Lake in the Gills Creek Watershed, the Department of Health and Environmental Control says the owners have proposed removing the dam.  In cases like those, DHEC says the lake’s allowed to return to its natural state. For many, ...
  • Holly Lake Returns After Homeowners Ask for Community Support (NJ) June 28, 2017 A small lake owned by two homeowners associations in Little Egg Harbor Township has been restored to its former sparkling self after repairs were made to the wooden dam. A year ago, the spillway was undermined and the lake water drained away into a lagoon.  It took a year of trying to get help from various sources such as the township, which owns that portion of the road; Ocean County, which owns the rest of the road; and the state ...

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

  • 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 ...
  • Be True To Your Shul by “The Pool Praying” Continues At Deerfield Beach Condo Pool! January 14, 2017 In a bit right from the late great radio legend Nell Rogers. Rogers amongst many funny comedy routines and bits had a song ‘Be true to your Shul” he played frequently.Here in Deerfield Beach Century Village East a controversy about a shul at the pool continues.”Be True To Your Shul by The Pool Praying Continues At Berkshire Condo Pool!  As Deerfield-New,com had previously reported a shul of sorts has been holding services at the Berkshire Pool. A common area for ...

Religion Archives

Drones

  • 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………….
  • Can Community Associations Regulate the Use of Drones? (NJ) June 8, 2017 Drones are the latest craze to hit the market and chances are someone in your community has a drone, or your community deals with a vendor that uses drones. Drones are small, unmanned aircraft that respond to the commands of a remote operator or follow a pre-programmed trajectory. They are technically known as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or “UAVs”. Initially developed by the military, drones are now available to the general public and are used by many businesses and individuals alike. ...
  • Does Your Community Association Need a Drone Policy? April 10, 2017 As drone technology advances and the number of drones in the air increases, managers and board members in community associations are asking about drone policies. If drones are being used in your community or if there is a plan for their use, whether recreational or commercial, your board should adopt a drone policy.    Read the article………….

Drone Archives

Hoarding

  • 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 & Marijuana…. What’s an Association To Do? April 1, 2016 In addition to risks experienced by first responders responding to emergency calls, health problems include falls or accidents in the unit, clutter, garbage, animal or human feces, and the resulting mold or infestation can also cause respiratory and other health problems (Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services ). In communities with common walls, hoarding also has negative impacts on the common elements including the physical deterioration of the walls and floorings, as well as noxious odors permeating neighboring units ...

Hoarding Archives