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

  • Homeowners’ association treasurer gets 3 years for stealing $122,779 (FL) March 17, 2017 The 60-year-old former treasurer of Cimarron Homeowners Association near Medulla was sentenced to three years in prison Friday for stealing $122,779 from the group over an 11-year span.  Martha Beard, who still lives in the 72-home community, told Circuit Judge Wayne Durden during Friday’s hearing that she had intended to pay the money back, but the debt became too great.  “This was a major error in judgment on my part,” she said, “and I take full responsibility.”  Her son, 33-year-old ...
  • Spotting and Stopping Fraud and Embezzlement in Your HOA March 15, 2017 Fraud and embezzlement can cause a homeowners’ association’s (“HOA”) board of directors a lot of time, money, and energy. So how can the board prevent potential fraud or embezzlement before it occurs? The solutions are simple but often overlooked. The board needs to understand its role in fraud prevention and the two key components of fraud: motivation and opportunity. In almost all cases, both of these factors must be present for fraud to occur. Motivation is a factor completely outside ...
  • Former ITD official resigns (ID) February 26, 2017 Facing felony theft and fraud charges, Idaho Transportation Department business manager Scott Fellom has resigned.  Fellom is accused of embezzling $13,363.85 in forged checks from the Sunset Ridge Homeowners Association in Post Falls. He was the treasurer of Sun Ridge, which overlooks Columbine Court and Yarrow Court near Chase Road and Poleline Avenue.    Read the article………….
  • Grand Jury Calls for Criminal Charges to Rein in ‘Wild West’ of Condo Boards February 17, 2017 The question isn’t whether there’s fraud and abuse among some of the boards, according to the grand jury report, which cites thousands of annual reports of alleged wrongdoing to Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The question is how to police it and shore up a regulator described as a toothless tiger.    Read the article…………….
  • Trial for an alleged HOA embezzler delayed (CA) February 11, 2017 The trial was delayed Friday for a man accused of being a co-conspirator in an embezzlement case involving nearly $2.8 million from a San Mateo homeowners association, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.    Read the article……….
  • ITD manager accused of HOA embezzling (ID) February 11, 2017 Idaho Transportation Department business manager Scott Fellom is facing felony grand theft and forgery charges.  According to court documents, Fellom, an employee of ITD’s District I bureau in Coeur d’Alene, is accused of embezzling $13,363.85 in forged checks from the Sunset Ridge Homeowners Association.   Fellom was the treasurer of the Post Falls-based group, which overlooks Columbine Court and Yarrow Court near Chase Road and Poleline Avenue.      Read the article……………
  • Ex-property manager indicted in theft of $8k from Cobb HOA (GA) February 7, 2017 A former property manager was recently indicted after police say she stole more than $8,000 from a Kennesaw homeowners association.  A grand jury handed down the decision Thursday for Wendy Teresa Robinson’s pair of theft charges.    Read the article……….
  • State fails to protect condo owners from board fraud, grand jury finds (FL) February 7, 2017 The Florida state agency that regulates condominium associations does not work to protect the tens of thousands who live in condos, resulting in extensive fraud, mismanagement and conflicts of interest among the boards and management companies that govern them, according to a Miami-Dade grand jury report issued Monday. “Unfortunately, the seems ill-suited to resolve, correct or prevent many of the recurring problems that have been brought to their attention,” the grand jury report ...

Fraud & Embezzlement Archives

Companion Animals

  • Emotional Support Chickens Are Ruffling Feathers (HI) March 20, 2017 A rise in questionable emotional support animals is concerning to condo associations and businesses that must accommodate them.   And the animal owners are offering proof with bogus papers easily obtained online to push back against anyone who challenges them.  Condo associations and rental property managers are increasingly frustrated as more and more people demand the right to keep the pets in condominiums and rental units which prohibit pets.   Read the article…………
  • Info on neighbor’s emotional support dog confidential (FL) March 11, 2017 Question: We live in a pet-free community. I saw a lady walking a cocker spaniel yesterday on our grounds. I asked our property manager about the pet and was informed this was a new resident that had papers indicating it was a comfort dog.  As owners, do we have the right to see the documentation?   Read the Q&A…………..
  • Assistance animals and fair housing: Legislation seeks clarity (VA) February 25, 2017 Assistance animals in rental properties and condo units frequently arise as the topic of conversation within common interest communities. In condo associations, the declarations will often contain restrictions on the kinds of animals that unit owners and/or tenants may have for pets. Sometimes there is a conflict between the need for an assistance animal and the restrictions contained in the rules established by that association.  Resolution of those conflicts can be, at best, cumbersome and often contentious.     Read the ...
  • Attention Boards: your two favorite menaces have combined: Airbnb and Pets! February 6, 2017 Whether I am giving a presentation to hundreds of people, teaching a class to dozens of managers or meeting privately with a board of directors, the two issues that have come up without fail over the last few months are: Airbnb and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and other pet issues.  The questions I field on these topics usually sound like this:     Read the article…………
  • A No-Pet Policy Is Not Enough January 27, 2017 There is no shortage of scams people use to get a bogus “support pet” into a no-pet building, and there are ways to keep them out. But every co-op and condo board needs to treat every “reasonable accommodation” request seriously. Failure to do so can lead to disastrous lawsuits.     Read the article…………..
  • Clearing the Air On Companion Animals: What Property Managers Should Know January 20, 2017 While the multifamily housing industry has become pet friendly, some furry friends are catching the ire of property managers. Residents who attempt to bring their pets on property under the guise of them being companion animals are leaving some apartment operators fearing fair housing issues if they don’t comply.   In a spirited conversation recently on Property Management Insider’s LinkedIn group, some said it’s not worth the risk of legal action to fight a tenant who appears to be purposely ...

Companion Animals Archives

Flags

  • Homeowner’s association tells Florida woman to take down Blue Lives Matter flag March 22, 2017 A Florida woman is being told to take down her Blue Lives Matter flag that’s been flying for several years now by her homeowners association.  Jeff Gaddie told Action News Jacksonville that his daughter has been flying the flag to honor him and many other family members who are law enforcement.  “She called to ask why,” Gaddie said. “They told her they had received a complaint that it was considered racist, offensive and anti-black lives matter,” he said.     Read ...
  • Can Your HOA Prohibit You From Flying Your Favorite Flag? March 15, 2017 Flags are common yard decorations; drive around any community and you’ll see everything from holiday flags to sports team banners. If you live in a planned development, however, hanging your favorite flag might result in a demand from your homeowners’ association (HOA) to take it down.  Can your HOA really ban you from flying a flag? The answer depends on what type of flag it is, where you live, and how you display the flag.    Read the article………….
  • HOA threatens veteran with fines for flying Marine Corps flag, then takes decision back (KY) February 3, 2017 A veteran threatened with fines of up to $500 over a Marine Corps flag outside of his Union, Kentucky home is now allowed to keep his flag flying.  Scott Wallace, who lives in the Triple Crown subdivision, posted on Facebook Thursday a notice he received from his homeowner’s association this week that claims he was breaking the community’s rules by flying a Marine Corps flag outside of his home.   Read the article…………..
  • HOA says residents not allowed to fly U.S. flag was misunderstanding (SC) February 3, 2017 Outraged residents in Indian Land reached out to Channel 9, saying their homeowners association told them to take down their U.S. flag.  Estates at Audubon Lake Estates neighbors are upset after a man in an unmarked car was seen taking pictures of houses.  It appears he was hired by the HOA.  “He says we’re out here taking pics of folks with flag violations and I said, ‘the American flag violation?’ And he said, ‘Oh yes,’” resident Jim Williams said.   ...
  • Mesa vet goes on ‘flag patrol’ to protect American flags in his neighborhood (AZ) December 27, 2016 Carlyle Brown goes out on patrol in his Mesa neighborhood every chance he gets, looking for American flags that have seen better days.  “When you see the flags out here flying, you can see they are ripped, slashes on them, edging is gone, all frayed on the end,” Brown said.  The retired Vietnam veteran has no interest in calling homeowners out and reporting them to his homeowners’ association. His mission is simply to let folks know that their flag needs ...
  • Ohio moves to protect flag-flying rights December 13, 2016 The Ohio Senate approved legislation Tuesday that would ensure residents of manufactured home parks, condos and certain other neighborhoods can fly U.S., state and military service flags.  HB 18 passed on the unanimous vote and awaits concurrence by the Ohio House and Gov. John Kasich’s signature.  Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester) said comparable legislation passed the Ohio Senate earlier this session.  “Currently, the display of the American Flag is protected by federal law,” he said. “It’s not clear that the ...

Flags Archives

Short-term Rentals

  • Trump Tower Condo Owner Fined $1,000 for Listing Apartment on Airbnb (NY) March 27, 2017 A woman accused of illegally listing her Trump Tower pad on Airbnb could pay as much as $1,000 for violating city and state laws regulating apartment rentals, officials said.  Yelena Yelagina was slapped with a civil summons when the city determined she broke the law by listing her 30th floor apartment in Trump Tower on Airbnb, according to Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for the de Blasio administration.    Read the article……………..
  • Airbnb Gone Wild? Decision Clarifies Rules on Short-Term Condo Rentals March 22, 2017 The ruling came from the Florida Second District Court of Appeal in the case of Le Scampi Condominium Association v. Hall. Le Scampi had petitioned the lower court for injunctive relief against the unit owners to prevent them from leasing their residence for less than one month without prior approval by the association in violation of its rules.  The Halls did not dispute to the trial court that they had rented their unit for periods of less than one month ...
  • Australia: Time for common sense in the war between Airbnb and strata owners March 22, 2017 The Airbnb verses apartment owners’ debate is only going to get more intense.  On one hand we have an aggressive, revenue-dominated multinational with a large advertising budget and a strong intent to lobby government.  Their opponents, many of them dwellers in strata properties, are highly fragmented and have few resources, but there’s a core of dedicated, battle-hardened strata advocates who are adept at trench warfare and have good relations with government. They won’t be a pushover.     Read the article
  • Australia: Airbnb’s new building program to give strata bodies a cut of short-stay rentals March 20, 2017 Strata fees could fall in buildings that allow owners to list their properties on Airbnb, under a building program launched by the home sharing platform this week.  The Friendly Buildings Program, which has been piloted in the US, will redirect a recommended 5 to 15 per cent of an Airbnb booking fee back to the strata body, giving it a cut of the lucrative home sharing market.   Read the article…………
  • Are short-term rental firms like Airbnb turning Toronto’s condos into hotels? March 17, 2017 Depending on who you ask, Lisa Marion represents either the bane of condo owners or the future of short-term rentals in Toronto.  Marion, a self-described short-term rental expert, is co-owner of a small property rental company “specializing in Airbnb-style rentals.”  “It’s been going on for so long, what the condo boards don’t realize is for the most part there are no problems,” says Marion, co-owner of a small property rental company “specializing in Airbnb-style rentals.”     Read the article…………..
  • Airbnb driving up rent in Toronto, group says March 15, 2017 Airbnb has launched an ad campaign targeting homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages, but a local coalition is calling on the city to impose stricter rules on the burgeoning short-term rental market.  While the hot housing market in Toronto has led to a short supply of rental units and soaring rents, a recent report by Fairbnb claims short-term condo rentals are also a big part of the problem.  “I think it definitely has (contributed to the rental crisis),” said Fairbnb’s ...
 

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

  • 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………….
  • Political Signs in HOA’s and Free Speech January 5, 2017 The 2016 presidential election was one of the most vicious the US has seen. As a result, HOAs are struggling to decide between free speech or forbidding political signs. To learn more about HOAs, political signs and free speech, check out these three FAQs.    Read the article…………
  • Check With Your HOA Before You Decorate (TN) December 17, 2016 Before you break out the crates filled with holiday cheer or buy that new outdoor-lighted display, you may want to check with your Homeowner’s Association. Whether you rent or own, the HOA’s rules apply to all residents of the community. Read your HOA covenants or check with the Board to make sure your holiday décor is in line with the guidelines.   Read the article…………..
  • Local family refuses to pull plug on holiday lights (FL) December 15, 2016 With just days left until Christmas, a local family has found themselves in the middle of a holiday light fight.  They’re vowing to keep the cheer bright in front of their Debary home despite a recent warning from their new Homeowner’s Association that challenged their decorative display.    Read the article…………
  • Keeping Your Community on Track During the Holiday Season December 14, 2016 Holidays can be a lot of fun when you live in a planned community, condo or co-op. But when you are on your association’s board of directors, they can also be a lot of work. You have to make sure all the prep work is done, decorations are up, vacations are covered and parties are planned. Can a group of volunteers—as dedicated as you may be—possibly get it all done? And do you dare wish to do it with minimal ...
  • 4 Tips to Read Before You Deck the Halls in the Homeowners Association December 9, 2016 During the holiday season many homeowners association members plan festivities with friends and loved ones. With all of the merriment that’s sure to ensue, it’s important that the HOA board reminds residents who are hosting celebrations to not only be considerate of their neighbors, but also take note of the Association’s rules.  A complete listing of Association rules and regulations can be found in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of your HOA, but here are a few key items ...
 

1st Amendment Archives

Energy & Water Conservation

  • How climate change could affect maintenance fees March 14, 2017 Summer 2016 was one of the hottest on record in the Greater Toronto Area, with experts predicting summer temperatures could soar to 44 degrees Celsius by 2050. In this rapidly changing climate, the city’s high-rise buildings are also feeling the heat, with the provincial government tightening up the Ontario Building Code to meet new global imperatives.  Increasingly erratic weather has a direct impact on Ontario’s residential building stock. Condo maintenance fees are based on predictable historic norms, stable benchmarks and ...
  • Lawmakers pass bill limiting HOA control on solar (UT) March 10, 2017 A bill that limits the ability of homeowners associations to regulate rooftop solar installations made it through the Utah Legislature late Thursday.  Senate Bill 154, sponsored by South Jordan Republican Lincoln Fillmore, would prohibit rules against solar in most cases, potentially adding a new roll of homeowners to the list of potential buyers in one of the Utah’s hottest industries. It passed in the House 53-15 and in the Senate 26-2.     Read the article………….
  • Ocean Hills community considers water options (CA) March 9, 2017 The Ocean Hills housing community is considering more cost effective ways to water its greenbelts. Options on the table are connecting to city recycled water lines or digging a local well.  Residents are also looking at landscape changes to conserve water. The homeowners association (HOA) is in favor of re-landscaping common areas with low-water-use plants.  Some residents think reducing irrigation rates would go far enough to cut costs, and that lush landscaping should be maintained.     Read the article……………
  • My Position on the Pending Solar Legislation (UT) March 6, 2017 I surprised a few people at the Utah Legislature last week, by testifying against a bill that would arguably facilitate the installation of solar panels in Utah. Those who know me (and those who follow this blog) are well aware of my concern for the environment and my advocacy for legislation that will reduce air pollution and carbon emissions. The attached photo of me, with the solar panels on the Hobbs & Olson | Carpenter Hazlewood offices, appeared in the ...
  • Utah Op-ed: Let HOA residents join fully in the solar revolution March 4, 2017 As the manager of a Utah business, it’s very important to me that we do our part to help protect the health of our community. That’s one of the big reasons we at Mark Miller Subaru chose to invest in rooftop solar.  As our Legislature discusses legislative solutions to our state’s most pressing problems, I am pleased to see that solar is on the agenda so that more Utah families and businesses can make the choice we made to invest ...
  • Utah homeowner associations may be forced to allow solar panels February 17, 2017 Lawmakers on Friday advanced a controversial bill to require, in most circumstances, homeowner associations (HOAs) to allow solar panels.  The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to endorse SB154, and sent it to the full Senate for consideration.  Its sponsor, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, said the bill is a significant compromise from previous efforts, and gives HOAs more power to potentially ban solar panels.    Read the article…………

Energy & Water Conservation Archives

Nuisance

  • 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…………..
  • Explosions in the Sky March 17, 2016 Setting off fireworks is a bright, colorful way to celebrate certain special occasions. While most commonly associated with the 4th of July, it is not unusual for people to set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve and other holidays, as well. When the Seahawks won their first-ever Super Bowl in 2014, the Seattle sky was peppered with exuberant blue and green explosions—a night most of us won’t soon forget.    Read the article………….
  • Sydney mum threatened with $550 fine for noisy toddler in strata apartment March 7, 2016 A SYDNEY mum is furious after receiving a letter from her apartment building strata company threatening her with legal action unless she can stop her toddler from creating “excessive noise”.  Read the article…………

Nuisance Archives

Electric Vehicles

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in HOAs – What Must Be Allowed? (CA) December 13, 2016 According to many sources on the internet, the production of Electric Vehicles will show a surge of 67% this year, and one can only imagine where this is going over time into the future. C’mon, you (as an HOA) don’t want to be the last holdout or the test case in court, do you? You (as an owner) have more rights than ever, but the onus is in many cases to be left on you to offer a solution to ...
  • What to Do With an Electric Car or Plug-In Hybrid When You Live In a Condo December 7, 2016 While the green lifestyle is very appealing to prospective EV owners, the ever important challenge of charging a car is hard to ignore. It’s pretty easy if you have your own house with a garage, but if you live in a condo or apartment, you may be wondering how to charge your own car at home. Fortunately, we have some ideas.  Whenever it’s time to talk about charging an electric car, we have to bring up the types of chargers ...
  • Electric Cars and HOA Living November 30, 2016 Electric cars are becoming more and more popular thanks to their environmental benefits and because electricity is so much cheaper than gas. While more and more charging stations are popping up in various public places, such as stores, most people charge their electric cars at home, which is great if you have your own home, but for people living in apartments, it’s not easy to charge their electric cars.    Read the article…………….
  • Electric Vehicles Projected to be 35% of New Car Sales in 2040: What About the Electronic Charging Stations? November 10, 2016 Governments from around the world, including, China, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, U.K. and the U.S. are taking steps to combat climate change by increasing access to clean energy technologies and reduce dependence on oil. One policy focus has been on programs that will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.   Read the article………….
  • Board asked to approve electric car charging station October 8, 2016 Q. An owner in our condominium requests the board to grant this owner permission to install an electric vehicle charging station in his garage unit. This would require some infrastructure changes to the electrical system for the association. What sort of issues should the board consider in making a decision?      Read the Q&A…………

Electric Vehicle Archives

Smoking

  • Condo boards brace for medical marijuana smoke complaints (HI) March 28, 2017 Right now there are some 13,000 medical marijuana patients registered in the state and that number is only expected to grow as the state’s first dispensaries open later this year.  Many of those patients live in condominiums and apartment complexes.  Industry watchers say complaints about marijuana smoke are on the rise. Two years ago lawmakers tried to set the framework to balance out one person’s medicinal need, with another’s right to be smoke-free.    Read the article…………..
  • No Ifs, Ands, or Butts: Regulating Smoking Within Community Associations March 20, 2017 The past twenty years have seen a dramatic uptick in the regulation of smoking, as dozens of states and hundreds of cities and counties have enacted laws making designated public places “smoke-free.” For its part, the North Carolina legislature passed an anti-smoking law in 2009 which prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars, as well as lodging establishments that serve food and drinks. While these kinds of smoking bans have become commonplace in local eateries and pubs, the issue has reached ...
  • The End of the Age of “Mad Men” March 17, 2017 The past twenty years have seen a dramatic uptick in the regulation of smoking, as dozens of states and hundreds of cities and counties have enacted laws making designated public places “smoke-free”.  For its part, the North Carolina legislature passed an anti-smoking law in 2009 which prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars, as well as lodging establishments that serve food and drinks. While these kinds of smoking bans have become commonplace in local eateries and pubs, the issue has reached ...
  • Condo owners have lots of thoughts on smoking issue March 11, 2017 Lots of readers wrote in with suggestions for those condo owners whose balcony and apartment interior were spoiled by cigarette smoke from their downstairs neighbors. Some suggested legal measures.   Read the article…………..
  • Condo owners weed out smoke (MA) March 2, 2017 Pot may be legal in Massachusetts, but don’t even think about toking Afghan Kush or cultivating some Chronic buds if you live in certain buildings — including the ritzy Residences at The InterContinental in Boston.  That building’s condominium trust has banned vaping, smoking tobacco, clove, marijuana or electronic cigarettes and harvesting marijuana inside the waterfront high-rise — and experts say “just say no” is likely to be a growing real estate trend.    Read the article…………..
  • Bill In the MD General Assembly Would Permit Restrictions and Prohibitions On Smoking By Condos, HOAs February 21, 2017 House Bill 500, now pending the Maryland General Assembly, provides for a proposed amendment to Section 11-104 of the Maryland Condominium Act that would allow a condominium’s bylaws to include “a restriction or prohibition on smoking tobacco products within the units or in the common elements.” The proposed legislation would also amend Section 11-111 to authorize a council of unit owners to adopt a rule imposing such a restriction or prohibition.      Read the article……………..

Smoking Archives

Medical Marijuana/Marijuana

  • Condo boards brace for medical marijuana smoke complaints (HI) March 28, 2017 Right now there are some 13,000 medical marijuana patients registered in the state and that number is only expected to grow as the state’s first dispensaries open later this year.  Many of those patients live in condominiums and apartment complexes.  Industry watchers say complaints about marijuana smoke are on the rise. Two years ago lawmakers tried to set the framework to balance out one person’s medicinal need, with another’s right to be smoke-free.    Read the article…………..
  • Marijuana Statute (MA) Raises Questions about Condo Insurance Coverage and Employment Rules March 24, 2017 Proponents of the new state law permitting recreational use of marijuana, and the voters who approved it, viewed the measure as a long overdue move to put marijuana in the same category as alcoholic beverages ? no more or less harmful and no more or less subject to abuse than beer and wine. Voting ‘yes’ for marijuana was relatively easy; dealing with the avalanche of legal, political and administrative questions the law has triggered is far more difficult.   Read the ...
  • Florida Medical Marijuana Amendment’s Impact on Community Associations March 17, 2017 With the approval of Amendment 2 last November to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Florida, the state legislature and Department of Health are now developing the rules and regulations that will govern the use of cannabis by those who suffer from a number of ailments listed in the new constitutional amendment. Likewise, now is also the time for associations to begin discussing and considering the implementation of their own rules and restrictions regarding the use of the drug ...
  • HOAs and Marijuana March 15, 2017 The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) put out a deep dive on marijuana laws and use in America. NCSL stated, “Marijuana has lit up conversations and controversy across the country. It’s a hotly contested and complicated issue for states to weed through, and no doubt will remain high on legislative agendas for the foreseeable future.”  Aside from the legislative agendas, how is your community dealing with the issue of marijuana? Do you already have smoking or odor related restrictions? ...
  • The Impact of Legalization of Medical Marijuana on Your Florida Community Association February 17, 2017 This past November, Amendment 2 legalizing the use of medical marijuana was approved by Florida voters. The rules governing medical marijuana have not yet been passed by the State Legislature and the Department of Health; however, it is likely to assume that situations regarding the use of this substance within our community associations will soon come up.  Condominiums and homeowner’s associations are likely to have some of the following questions:     Read the article…………..
  • What Impact Will Medical Marijuana Amendment to Florida’s Constitution Have on Community Associations? February 3, 2017 Many states have placed the legalization of medical marijuana on their ballots in recent years and Florida is no different. A measure legalizing medical marijuana failed in Florida in 2014, gaining only fifty-eight (58%) percent of the vote. However, this past November, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 which legalized medical marijuana. Seventy-one (71%) percent of Floridians voted in favor of Amendment 2 surpassing the sixty (60%) percent threshold required for passage.    Read the article……..

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 ...
  • Defending (My) Our Castle: A Look at Gun Regulation by Community Associations December 14, 2016 On September 6, 2012, David Merritt, president of the Spring Creek Homeowners Association, called a homeowners association meeting to order. Approximately 30 minutes later, Merritt, and former president of Spring Creek Marvin Fisher, would be fatally shot by their neighbor, Mahmood Hindi. The dispute between Hindi and Spring Creek involved an unapproved driveway and fence installed by Hindi. Hindi was charged with murder, but committed suicide in jail prior to his trial. The Hindi case may not be familiar to ...
  • 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………….

Guns Article Archives

Violence in Associations

  • Chesapeake HOA fires security company after guard charged in death of Pokemon Go player (VA) February 22, 2017 We have new details in the shooting death of Jiansheng Chen, a 60-year-old Pokemon Go player who was allegedly shot by a security guard in his own Chesapeake neighborhood.  News 3 is the first to learn the homeowner’s association in the River Walk neighborhood where Chen was shot has fired the security company hired to patrol the neighborhood.  According to a spokesperson for the River Walk Community Association, Billy Rudolph, the security company was fired Tuesday night after an emergency ...
  • Security guard accused of murdering 60-year-old grandpa playing Pokémon Go (VA) February 17, 2017 A security guard is accused of shooting and killing a 60-year-old Virginia grandfather who was wandering around playing Pokémon Go.  Jiansheng Chen was driving around at 11 p.m. one night in January when he headed toward the parking lot for a recreation center in Chesapeake.  Johnathan Cromwell, a security guard for the River Walk community clubhouse, confronted Chen in the parking lot’s driveway, at one point yelling “stop,” according to prosecutors.    Read the article………..
  • Chesapeake man killed by security guard was playing Pokemon Go, says family’s lawyer January 30, 2017 The 60-year-old man who was shot and killed by a security guard in the River Walk neighborhood last week was playing Pokemon Go at the time, according to his family’s lawyer.  Jiansheng Chen was a regular player of the game, attorney Greg Sandler said in an email.  Chen was seated in his minivan outside the River Walk clubhouse in the 700 block of River Walk Parkway around 11 Thursday night when he was confronted by a security guard, police said. ...
  • Security guard shoots, kills man in Chesapeake’s River Walk neighborhood, police say (VA) January 27, 2017 A 60-year-old man died after he was shot last night half a mile away from his home in the River Walk neighborhood, according to police.  Officers found Jiansheng Chen, 60, with gunshot wounds just after 11 p.m. Thursday, according to a police news release. He died at the scene in the 700 block of River Walk Pkwy. off Great Bridge Boulevard.  Police say Chen was seated in his minivan in the River Walk clubhouse parking lot when a security guard ...
  • Homeowner Chided for Threatening WCA Board and Staff (FL) January 16, 2017 A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy attended the Jan. 12 meeting of the WCA Board after a resident, appealing a fine, threatened board members prior to the session.  Opening the meeting, Westchase Community Association (WCA) Directors unanimously appointed West Park Village residents Phil Rainaldi and Carlos Quiros as alternate members of the Modifications Committee.   Read the article………….
  • Citrus Springs HOA Board Members Brawl During Christmas Party (FL) December 15, 2016 Indian River County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance at Citrus Springs in Vero Beach about a fight between HOA board members during the community’s Christmas Party.  Deputies met with Chris Goodwin who said he was involved in a dispute with Thomas Deblase at the party. Goodwin advised that he and Deblase are on the board for the homeowners association in Citrus Springs.    Read the article…………

Violence in Associations Archives

Security

  • How Should Boards Handle the Reporting of a Crime? March 15, 2017 A burglar slipped into a Hudson Heights co-op as a shareholder was leaving the building, then proceeded to steal a laundry cart and some packages. The theft was reported to police, but it took the co-op board almost two weeks to notify shareholders, and the notice downplayed the event and failed to give a full accounting of it. What is a board’s responsibility in reporting security breaches and crimes in their building?    Read the article…………….
  • Is it legal for a condo owner to install a security camera? March 11, 2017 Q: Can an owner install a security camera to monitor his entrance area in a condo complex and can the board approve this as an agenda item    Read the Q&A……………
  • HOA buys personal alarms for kids following attempted abduction (FL) March 10, 2017 A community is coming together to protect their children, by providing personal alarms and self -defense courses.  Mike Metzger owns Championship Martial Arts, and he is now turning fear into action for little girls in the East Orange County neighborhood of Avalon Park.  “We’re going to teach them number one, common-sense before self-defense,” Metzger told FOX 35.     Read the article………….
  • Lawsuit underway after man beaten in his own condo by naked man on drugs (FL) March 9, 2017 …..He’s hired a lawyer to sue building managment for not doing enough to keep its residents safe.  “One failiure, after another failure, aafter another failure,” said Brevda of the fail-safes inside the building. “The residents pay a considerable amount of money in HOA maintenance fees in part which are to provide for advanced security measures.”  Legal analyst, Michelle Suskauer, said it could be a strong case.     Read the article………….
  • Lake Charleston (FL) homeowners ask HOA for security cameras in neighborhoods after attempted abductions March 9, 2017 The father of a 10-year-old who was almost abducted is asking his community’s HOA board for security cameras around the development.  There are nights when David Harman keeps replaying February 13th in his mind. The day his son was almost abducted.  “There’s no words really, just something that’s always in the back of your mind,” said Harman.  The boy, who we are not identifying says he didn’t notice when the white van pulled up near him on Zurich Circle in ...
  • Maryville man accused of flooding Knoxville building (TN) March 7, 2017 A Maryville man was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing, public intoxication and vandalism in downtown Knoxville.  According to police, 44-year-old Chadwick Carruthers was arrested after he was found early Saturday morning hiding in a fire escape at 602 S. Gay Street.  The Knoxville Fire Department was called to the scene at 1:25 a.m. for a vandalism and fire alarm. When firefighters arrived on scene, water was flowing from the tenth floor.    Read the article……………

Security Archives

Infrastructure Problems

  • Dispute over road repairs raises questions in Mill Creek (WA) March 26, 2017 Help from the homeowners association certainly added volume to the latest complaints.  Before there was the city of Mill Creek there was the development of Mill Creek.  The nonprofit Mill Creek Community Association, formed by its developer in 1974, now encompasses 3,400 housing units across several neighborhoods, all clustered around a golf course, country club and private nature preserve.  Residents of the association made up two-thirds of Mill Creek’s population in 2010, Executive Administrator Mary Ann Heine said. She estimates ...
  • Carrollton residents seek vote on infill of contaminated silt basin (TX) March 23, 2017 Two homeowner’s association boards in the Country Place subdivision have voted to fill a nearby silt basin that contains traces of beryllium, lead and other contaminants, despite opposition from some residents.   The Country Place and Townhome One HOA boards voted to fill the basin with soil and build a new creek wall. Their decisions came a month after city officials presented community members with two solutions to address the accumulation of silt in the area. The other option was ...
  • Homeowners Association repairing their own dunes (FL) March 22, 2017 When Hurricane Matthew blew out of town, the 2.3 mile stretch of dunes on the Hammock Dunes Beach was left destroyed.  The storm that crept along the coast Oct. 7, 2016 left just enough of the dunes to protect the homes in the gated community from the Atlantic Ocean.  While the community lost about 15 feet of dune depth, the only structure damage was to the 53 walkovers that were broken off and swept away by the cresting waves. George ...
  • Homeowners to shoulder costs of sewer work (OH) March 17, 2017 When a new sewer system is installed in the Pheasant Run housing development over the next year, homeowners there will be responsible for helping to pay off the cost of the project, with most shouldering an assessment of $14,679.48.  That bill won’t come due immediately, Lorain County Administrator Jim Cordes said, but will instead be put on property tax bills for the next 20 to 30 years. Exactly how long hasn’t been decided yet.  If the length of time to ...
  • Homeowner questions responsibility for broken pipe, erosion (NC) March 14, 2017 A damaged drainage pipe and the water leaking from it, especially during the heavy rains of Hurricane Matthew, has caused extreme erosion at a Raintree home     Read the article…………..
  • Money remains the big challenge in addressing Ahwatukee flood hazards (AZ) March 1, 2017 Maricopa County flood control experts have proposed over $1 million worth of drainage improvements to seven Ahwatukee sites where serious flooding could cause more than an estimated $2.4 million in damage to homes and businesses.  But when those fixes might be made – and where the money would come from – are anybody’s guess.    Read the article…………….

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

  • 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 ...
  • City: Naperville woman can’t hold church services in her basement (IL) December 9, 2016 A Naperville woman who has been operating a small Christian church out of the basement of her townhouse has been asked to find another place to conduct services.  The planning and zoning commission this week unanimously denied Debra Richmond’s request for special permission to operate a church — classified as an institutional use — out of her townhouse in a residential area near 95th Street and Book Road.    Read the article………….
  • Remove Our Lady of Charity Statue (FL) December 6, 2016 Our Lady of Charity is the patron saint of Cuba, a saint a little girl prayed to so her mother could be released from Fidel Castro’s prison. Now a South Florida homeowner’s association is forcing her to remove the statue from her yard. Can they do that? It’s why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.    Read the article…………….
  • Menorah-lighting ceremony back on after disagreement with PSL Tradition community (FL) November 18, 2016 A large private homeowner’s association changed its holiday Hanukah menorah-lighting cancellation.  Now Tradition property managers will allow a menorah lighting to continue after coming to a compromise with local rabbis.  Protests from those all over our area showed up on social media, with many claiming the move to cancel the menorah-lighting was discriminatory action, albeit on private property.    Read the article…………………..

Religion Archives

Drones

  • How technology can save community associations time and effort March 22, 2017 When a community association manager needed to know how badly the property’s gutters were clogged, Nik Clark had a solution. He launched an unmanned aircraft system, otherwise known as a drone.  It flew above the building’s roofline, and Clark and the manager viewed aerial imagery on his smartphone.  Within minutes she had her answer.    Read the article………………..
  • Residents speak out against Pasco community HOA using drones March 17, 2017 Residents of a Pasco community are speaking out against the use of a drone by the community’s association, though they aren’t sure they have any real say in the matter.  Residents of the Concord Station community said they got a notice online alerting them that the homeowners’ association would be flying a test drone Tuesday. Officials with the community said a drone was used today at 200 feet instead 50 feet of because of the wind.    Read the article…………….
  • Florida Community Associations Responding to Soaring Popularity of Drones March 17, 2017 The growing use of drones by consumers across the U.S. is leading to the adoption of new rules and restrictions by the federal government, state governments and community associations. Questions regarding safety, property damage and privacy abound with drones, and associations are responding by establishing clear parameters for their use by unit owners.    Read the article…………..
  • Electronic Spying, Satellite Surveillance & Drones February 4, 2017 Science fiction! Actually not. Over the last several years, technology available to the homeowners association has exponentially grown. Drones have become the proverbial “Soup de Jour.” An increasing numbers of homeowners associations use drones to inspect common areas, architectural improvements, combustibles on balconies in high rises, etc. Is this good or bad? That depends on who you ask.  For associations with vast acreage, using drones to inspect the common area has become commonplace because it is less expensive and tends ...
  • TAKING FLIGHT – Drones in Our Community January 31, 2017 IF DRONES AREN’T ALREADY buzzing around your community, it’s highly likely they will be soon. Association board members, managers, attorneys, and insurance professionals, among others, need to get a handle on the new challenges and possibilities presented by drones.  An estimated 3 million drones were expected to fly off the shelves to hobbyists and businesses in 2016, according to the Consumer Technology Association. Roughly 550,000 have been registered by the federal government since last December, and an estimated 1.3 million ...
  • Tips to Handle Drones in Your Community January 23, 2017 Drone sales are on the rise. According to Business Insider, consumer drone shipments will quadruple in the next five years, as drones get easier to operate by beginners and competition causes prices to drop. In addition, big businesses like Amazon and Walmart are beginning to test pilot programs using delivery drones. This technology can cause a dilemma for communities. How can a community ensure safety? What about issues of privacy? Should damage to property occur, how is responsibility assigned?  All ...
  • Drone Delivery and Its Impact on HOAs November 16, 2016 As technology continues to move forward, many online companies – amazon at the forefront – are toying with the idea of using unmanned drones to deliver packages to customers. If you’re not familiar with drones, they’re essentially small, highly maneuverable helicopters that can be controlled remotely.    Read the article………….
  • The Future of Condos: Drones! November 2, 2016 The future is exciting, there’s no doubt about that. Between self-driving cars and increasingly intuitive home networks, a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle is within everybody’s reach.  Condominiums, especially, have an interesting road ahead. A road filled with the potential to take advantage of drone deliveries, the sharing economy, urban farming and so much more.   For fun, watch the video………….

Drone Archives

Hoarding

  • 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 ...
  • Hoarders IN HOAs. Where Do You Start? March 26, 2016 I have had a number of HOAs and also individuals recently that complain of concerns about residents that may be hoarders. They want to know what to do.   Read the article………….
  • Hoarding in Your Condominium: What Every Michigan Association and Property Manager Should Know March 11, 2016 As the weather becomes warmer here in Michigan, many homeowners or co-owners undergo the yearly “Spring Cleaning.” Unfortunately, many condominium associations in Michigan face co-owners, tenants or residents who do not maintain the same sanitary living space as their neighbors. At the extreme, hoarders may fill units and/or limited common elements with debris, combustible material, food or other unsanitary or unsafe materials.    Read the article…………

Hoarding Archives