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

  • Condo manager suspected of pocketing building repair money (FL) August 23, 2017 A condo manager has been arrested for allegedly pocketing money that was supposed to be used for repair work.  According to officials, condo manager Donovan Staley kept the repair money that was to be used at Admirals Port Condo in Aventura.  It is alleged Staley upped a quote given to him by a contractor to do electrical work at the building.    Read the article…………….
  • Hasbrouck Heights Man Embezzled More Than $100K From Condo Association (NJ) August 23, 2017 A borough man has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from a Bergen County condominium association.  Raymond Gonzalez, 62, was charged with theft and two counts of forgery, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced Wednesday.  The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office received a complaint in March 2016 that Gonzalez, the owner and operator of RPM Management, had accessed and stole money from the association, Grewal said in a news release.    Read the article…………
  • Fort Collins accountant sentenced for felony theft (CO) August 17, 2017 A Fort Collins accountant who pleaded guilty to felony theft in June was sentenced to community service and probation this week.  Meredith Kanter, also known as Molly Hoff, pleaded guilty to felony theft in June after two criminal cases alleged she stole money from a Fort Collins nonprofit and a condo association.   Read the article……………..
  • Former property manager gets jail time for Collingwood condo fraud August 15, 2017 A Springwater woman was sentence to about four-and-a-half years in jail for defrauding condominium corporations in The Blue Mountains, Barrie and Collingwood of more than $909,000.  On Monday, Justice Nancy Dawson sentenced Springwater Township native Rhonda McCarthy to 30 months for 18 counts of fraud over $5,000 and two years less a day for two counts of fraud under $5,000.  Read the article…………..
  • Prosecutors Drop Charges in Westbury HOA Theft Case (MD) August 4, 2017 A litany of theft charges filed against the former property manager of the Westbury Community Association has been dropped by prosecutors, online court records show, but officials in State’s Attorney Richard Fritz’s office say Torya Nicole Timms is still under investigation.  All 16 counts against Timms were dropped mid-July, online court records show.     Read the article……………
  • WRAL INVESTIGATES Man who bought HOA-foreclosed homes faces federal fraud charges (NC) August 2, 2017 A Wake Forest man made more than $1 million by swooping down on homes in foreclosure and using an intricate shell game involving fraud, forgery and offshore companies, according to federal authorities.  Xavier Milton Earquhart faces 14 counts of bank fraud, five counts of engaging in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property and one count of aggravated identity theft. He is being held without bond in the Harnett County jail.    Read the article…………….
  • 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 ...

Fraud & Embezzlement Archives

Companion Animals

  • Trial set for Aspen service-dog flap (CO) September 19, 2017 A trial date in Denver federal court over a service-dog dispute at an Aspen condominium complex is set for early next year.  Documents filed Sept. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado show that a six-day jury trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 12 pitting condo-owner Alvaro J. Arnal against Aspen View Condominium Association, two of its board members and a property management firm.   Read the article…………..
  • Condo complex penalized over ‘no pets’ policy (NY) September 16, 2017 The NYC Commission on Human Rights recently won its case in defense of a resident of Parkchester South Condominiums who was threatened with eviction over her service dog.  Michelle Berrios, a nurse practitioner who has lived in her condo for nearly 30 years, started butting heads with management in March 2015 over its ‘no pets’ policy.  A Parkchester security guard wrote her a ticket for owning a toy poodle named Brownie, according to a CHR news release.     Read the ...
  • ‘Emotional support’ or a ‘no-pet’ loophole? August 17, 2017 Q: We have a no-pet rule in our condominium association. Recently, one of the owners presented the condo board with a letter from her doctor stating that she needed a dog for emotional support. The board voted to allow her to have a dog, but I feel this is just going to open the door to more owners trying to get around the no-pet rule. Was the board correct in allowing her to have a dog, and is there anything ...
  • Emotional Support Animals can create mess for condo boards August 11, 2017 More and more condominium associations are facing the issue of what to do when an association has a  “No Pets” policy and someone claims a need for an Emotional Support Animal, aka an ESA.    Read the article……….
  • Real Estate Your condo association prohibits pets, but you need a ‘comfort’ animal. What do you do? August 11, 2017 Your condominium rules prohibit pets of any kind except fish and birds. A unit owner asks the board of directors to allow them to keep a dog because they need the comfort the animal gives them. What should the board do?  First, the board has to understand the difference between a “service” animal and a “comfort” or “emotional support” animal. I use the word animal, because there are more than dogs in this category. The list includes pigs, parrots, cats, ...
  • Accommodating Service Dogs in Condominiums (ON) August 2, 2017 In a recent case before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (Latendresse v. CCC No. 8), a condominium resident alleged that the condominium corporation had discriminated against him with respect to occupancy of accommodations because of a disability.  The corporation’s rules required that residents carry or use a carrier to transport animals in the common elements. After the resident had complied with this rule for several months, he requested to be exempted from the rule because of difficulties lifting his dog. ...

Companion Animals Archives

Flags

  • Homeowners association settles lawsuit against Loveland couple that built critical sign in front yard (CO) September 14, 2017 A Loveland man removed a controversial sign from his front yard Thursday more than a month after he constructed the billboard to criticize his neighborhood’s homeowners association.  But Rich Stephens, the resident, did so with a promise from the Alford Meadows Community Association that it would never again harass him over a wooden pallet painted to resemble a colonial American flag hanging from the side of his house on the corner of West 50th Street and Crabapple Drive.  The association’s ...
  • American flag fight prompts new legislation (MA) September 14, 2017 Two state lawmakers from Massachusetts have filed legislation to protect the rights of condo owners to fly the American flag after a 25 Investigates report in July.  Condo owner Liz Heller first contacted 25 Investigates after receiving a $60 fine from the condo board for Liberty Commons in Leominster. The violation cited Heller for displaying a “prohibited personal item” for three days leading up to the Fourth of July. The prohibited item in question was an American flag hanging from ...
  • Ask SAM: Can an HOA restrict the American flag? (NC) September 5, 2017 Q: Can a Home Owners Association forbid owners from flying the American flag? Answer: “The short answer to the reader’s inquiry is yes, an HOA may prohibit or regulate the display of the American flag,” said Lawson Newton, a local attorney who specializes in real estate matters.  The long answer, he added, is “yes, but the HOA MUST have registered restrictions at the Register of Deeds office that meet the statutory provisions to do so.”    Read the Q&A……………
  • So Your Neighbor Put Up an Offensive Flag—What Can You Do? August 25, 2017 Tensions are running high across the nation in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, where one protester was killed. Residents of Northern California and Tennessee are bracing for more rallies and protests this weekend, which will likely dominate the airwaves on TV news.  But what happens when that overt racism suddenly appears in your own building or community? Do upset neighbors or city officials have the right to demand that, say, the flag of Nazi Germany ...
  • 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…………..

Flags Archives

Short-term Rentals

  • Victoria cracks down on ‘ghost hotels’; some short-term rentals not allowed (BC) September 22, 2017 Victoria city council took action against so-called “ghost hotels” on several fronts Thursday, changing the landscape for condo owners and others who rent out suites and houses through online platforms such as Airbnb.  Changes disallowing short-term rentals of less than 30 days in transient zones — a zoning that permits hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts and covers much of the downtown — were approved by councillors after a public hearing Thursday night.    Read the article……………….
  • Michigan Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of HOA in Short-Term Rental Ban September 21, 2017 Short-term rental websites such as AirBNB, Booking.com, FlipKey, HomeAway, Homestay, House Trip, Roomorama, Tripping.com, Trivago, VBRO and VayStays have become an increasing concern for Michigan condominium and homeowner’s associations that are populated by full time residents. The rise of short-term rental websites has led owners and investors to seek out extra income by renting their property on a nightly basis. Condominium and homeowner associations that are primarily comprised of full time residents typically oppose short-term rentals as a result of ...
  • Will Short-Term Rentals Be Limited in Northern Michigan? September 8, 2017 Among members of lake associations, condo associations and local zoning boards, setting limits and operating rules for short-term rentals has long been part of the conversation—sometimes contentiously so. But online booking services like the longtime player Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) and the surging Airbnb have poured kerosene on a smoldering fire, explains cottage law attorney Dan Penning. By making the marketing and booking of short-term rentals so easy, the services have lured thousands upon thousands of home and cottage ...
  • Short Term Rentals: How It Affects Homeowner Associations August 30, 2017 Short-term rentals are homes that are rented out through companies such as Airbnb which alone is valued at about $24 billion. Other, smaller companies such as VRBO, Housetrip, and Roomorama play similar roles in providing homes to vacationers that from one night to just a few days or a week. These rentals can be great for vacation goers looking for a place to crash for a few nights, however, they can pose a nightmare for the local Home Owner’s Association ...
  • Short-term Rentals Create Ongoing Concerns for Condo Associations August 24, 2017 The short-term rental of residential property is producing long-term concerns. Those concerns, which were just emerging when I wrote about this issue three years ago, have grown exponentially as short-term vacation rentals have ballooned, creating what is now a $34 billion business and triggering an avalanche of conflicts and complaints to which the governing boards of condominiums, municipal officials, and lawmakers are all beginning to respond.    Read the article……………
  • Vbro & Airbnb: What You Need To Know – The Business Of Short-Term Rentals Is No Business At All August 22, 2017 In a recent Rembaum’s Association Roundup article regarding Florida’s newest non-native invasion of overnight rentals through Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) and AirBnB, we discussed what an association can do in order to protect its community from becoming the newest unnamed hotel/motel through the adoption of lease restrictions and lease approval requirements. Although these methods remain available to associations, one avenue of enforcement has been fully obliterated from the list of possible ways to rid the community of short-term, overnight ...
 

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

  • Bayview Nail Salon Forced To Scrap Mural After Neighbors Complain (CA) September 19, 2017 A mural is at the heart of a dispute between neighbors in Bayview.  Since opening in January, business has been steady at Luxurious Nail Boutique & Spa, located at 4138 3rd Street (near Innes) in Bayview. However, according to owner Richard Washington, the salon’s biggest issue has been visibility.     Read the article…………….
  • Homeowners association settles lawsuit against Loveland couple that built critical sign in front yard (CO) September 14, 2017 A Loveland man removed a controversial sign from his front yard Thursday more than a month after he constructed the billboard to criticize his neighborhood’s homeowners association.  But Rich Stephens, the resident, did so with a promise from the Alford Meadows Community Association that it would never again harass him over a wooden pallet painted to resemble a colonial American flag hanging from the side of his house on the corner of West 50th Street and Crabapple Drive.  The association’s ...
  • Could your community association turn into the next Confederate symbol battleground? August 30, 2017 In light of recent events in Charlottesville, it should come as no surprise that symbols mean different things to different people and there will unfortunately continue to be disagreements (and at times violence) when it comes to interpreting whose rights deserve protection as they pertain to those symbols.   Read the article……………
  • Avon mother refuses to take down sign after receiving HOA letter (IN) August 29, 2017 There’s a debate heating up between an Avon mother and her neighborhood’s Home Owner’s Association. It’s all about a yard sign that mother says she is not taking down.  The sign has the details for the upcoming Jonathan Legg Memorial Golf Outing on Sept. 9. Legg would have celebrated his 19th birthday Saturday, Aug. 26, but was killed in a car crash about 16 months ago.  Legg’s mother Sarah Smith says her sign is being unfairly targeted.    Read the ...
  • They responded to Trump with a lawn sign. Then came a homeowners association letter (CA) August 3, 2017 A few months ago, Bill and Diane Durston placed an “In Our America” yard sign in front of their Gold River home.  The sign, resembling an American flag, states: “In Our America, all people are equal, love is love, black lives matter, immigrants and refugees are welcome, science is real, women’s rights are human rights, people and planet are valued over profit, diversity is celebrated.”    Read the article…………..
  • 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……………
 

1st Amendment Archives

Energy & Water Conservation

  • Big water bills fuel meter mystery in Ahwatukee (AZ) September 24, 2017 Last month, Phoenix officials celebrated the city Water Services Department’s recognition as a “Utility of the Future Today” – one of 25 utilities across the country cited for “forward-thinking initiatives.”  Don’t tell that to some Ahwatukee customers who have seen bills for staggering increases in water consumption that no one can explain.  In recent weeks, customers have taken to social media to complain about meter readings that are significantly higher than normal.  Among them is the Foothills Gateway HOA, a ...
  • Big Buildings May Have to Undergo Costly Retrofits (NY) September 20, 2017 If Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way, owners of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet – including co-ops and condos – will be required to make costly retrofits to heating and cooling systems, roofs and windows in order to reach energy-efficiency targets by the year 2030, DNAinfo reports.  “This change to our buildings is equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road in this city each year,” de Blasio said at a news conference. “It’s clear that this is ...
  • Assessing Your Building’s Energy Consumption: How Green Are You? September 16, 2017 Most folks know that turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, taking shorter showers, and turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees can help save energy – and by extension, money. However, helping an entire building or association cut costs and reduce its carbon footprint can be a little trickier, which is why many co-op and condo buildings hire professional energy consultants to assess their energy profile and make recommendations as to how it might be improved.    Read the ...
  • A Look at Cogeneration: Is It for Your Building? September 16, 2017 Many residential properties obtain their power from a local energy supplier. But in recent years, boards and managing agents have investigated, and in some cases, installed “cogeneration ” systems that allow properties to produce a portion of the energy they use on-site. Like most technologies, there are both benefits and drawbacks to converting to a cogeneration system.     Read the article……………
  • Secret ORNL West Knox ‘smart’ house makes way for neighborhoods of the future (TN) September 5, 2017 Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a secret house in a West Knoxville neighborhood.  Forbidden to reveal the location of the house by the Homeowners Association, ORNL researchers quietly monitor energy use from a remote office in Oak Ridge.  The house sits empty most of the time, but the computers don’t know that.    Read the article………………
  • Tips for Maintaining Condo Environmental Systems August 24, 2017 There are many things that a Condo Association must look to provide for its Owners. At the highest level, they boil down to the big three: safety, security, and transparency. In pursuit of this goal, there are certain key building systems that are critical to maintain. Of particular importance is maintaining Condo environmental systems, such as your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and water.    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

  • (Condo) complexes can apply for rebates on electric car chargers (OH) August 16, 2017 Hoping to encourage the use of electric cars, Smart Columbus is offering to spend a total of $170,000 in rebates to owners and developers who install charging stations in apartment and condo developments.  “We’re curious to see what they want to do, too,” Bud Braughton senior project manager for Smart Columbus, said. “This is all learning for us.”  The rebates are offered because studies show at least 80 percent of charging for electric vehicles is done at home. Many apartments ...
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs (CA) August 9, 2017 Below is an article written by a client of mine. It is his perspective on a difficult and arduous process on trying to get an EVCS plugin in his condominium. The article is very informative. Since he felt he had to move toward a threat of litigation to get the board to move on his request, I referred him to a different attorney. I don’t do court work anymore and most in my industry know that so there are times ...
  • Electric Cars and Charging Stations in Condominiums (ON) August 2, 2017 Electric cars, and charging stations, are a hot topic this week! Britain has announced the eventual ban of gas and diesel powered vehicles, and an Ottawa condo is making national news (click on the video entitled: Ottawa Woman’s Power Struggle to Charge Electric Car at Condo Building) about whether or not an owner can, or should be, entitled to charge an electric car.  In light of all the commentary, we wanted to chime in with our thoughts!     Read the ...
  • Woman’s power shut down by condo after charging electric car (ON) July 31, 2017 Kimberly Hsiung listened to the pleasant hum of the engine as she drove home in her new electric car.  She parked in her assigned space at her Nepean condo, then plugged the Chevrolet Volt into the post to charge overnight.  After following this routine for two weeks, her hydro abruptly went out.  Hsiung received an email from management shortly after.
  • Is Your Community Ready for the Model 3 Launch? (Think Electric Vehicles) July 27, 2017 Tesla will be live streaming the launch of 30 of its less-expensive, but-still-cool Model 3 vehicles at 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 28. Another 100 are to be rolled out in August followed by 1,500 in September. Total sales are estimated at 400,000 vehicles. Earlier this month it was announced starting in 2019 every new model made by Volvo will run at least in part on electric power. There are more than 30 fully electric vehicles on the market and ...

Electric Vehicle Archives

Smoking

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

Medical Marijuana/Marijuana

  • Why this young family has been living with pot smoke in their condo for the last 5 years August 23, 2017 A Toronto man says he’s tired of waking up to the smell of weed coming in from his neighbour’s unit and wants his condo corporation to do more to resolve the issue.  For almost five years, he says, smoke has been seeping in through the front door, windows and electrical sockets, then it flows into the room belonging to Bradshaw’s seven-year-old son, Sam.    Read the article…………….
  • Killer Weed in the Common Area? (CA) June 27, 2017 Community Associations increasingly face issues with medical marijuana. It is a confusing area because federal and state laws conflict and social mores are in constant flux—especially when it comes to marijuana. Long gone are the days when the high school health teacher could show “Reefer Madness” and his students would accept that marijuana use leads straight to jail, depravity, or worse! Today, attitudes toward many substances, including marijuana, are more relaxed—at least at the state level. But regardless of current ...
  • 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……….

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

  • Two men charged in hot tub assault that left women with ripped bikini, bruises (MI) August 16, 2017 He later told police he did not know the three women were staying in a condo recently purchased by a new owner. Dean, a condo board member, told police there had been previous problems with strangers trespassing in the hot tub area and staying after hours.  When questioned by police, Dean said he’d hit one woman in the face with an open hand, but later admitted the woman might say he’d hit her with a closed fist, according to the ...
  • Coroner Identifies Man Killed By Las Vegas Condo Security (NV) August 7, 2017 The Clark County Coroner identified a man shot and killed by a security guard Thursday in a Nevada condominium complex.  Trayvone Crocket died after he was shot multiple times by Malik Kendrick, who was a security guard at the Mountainside Condominiums.  The coroner ruled the incident a homicide.     Read the article…………..
  • They wanted to impound his vehicle. He threatened them with a rifle. (WA) July 1, 2017 He was not going to let anybody take his broken-down car.  A letter from a Fife homeowners association warning the 42-year-old that his inoperable vehicle had to be moved away went ignored.  It didn’t happen.  On Wednesday, the Wapato Pointe South Homeowners Association sent three people to impound the car. They were greeted by an upset man who grabbed a rifle, according to court records.     Read the article…………..
  • Going Too Far Down the Rabbit Hole: How Our National Political Discourse Parallels Our Community Association Discourse June 26, 2017 It’s hard right now to turn away from the 24/7 news cycle and its discord, rancor and heated rhetoric. When we spend the majority of our time discussing just 20% of the topics which concern us, we cannot commit time or energy to the other 80% which also demands our attention. It’s not surprising that the same prioritization pressure occurs in private residential communities. How often has a board or membership meeting been monopolized by the concerns of one very ...
  • 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, ...

Violence in Associations Archives

Security

  • Man uses hidden code to access Seattle condo complex raising call box security concerns (WA) September 13, 2017 When Peter Wakim started reviewing surveillance video after hearing reports of a suspicious man prowling the Continental Place Condominums in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, he noticed something peculiar.  The video shows a white man with long hair extending from his baseball cap, walking into the front entrance, tapping a code on the call box and going right into the lock front door.  The problem? There is no code on the call box to open the front door or one the Wakim ...
  • ‘I want to be safe.’ Why a growing number of neighborhoods are hiring private security (CA) September 10, 2017 The piling up of incidents finally pushed Hannon to action, and last year, she and her neighbors – more than 70 homes in total now – joined a small but growing number of Sacramento neighborhoods fed up with petty crime that pool money to hire private security for their streets. Long common among businesses and gated communities, the extra security measures are newer territory for entire blocks of residents who want to combat crimes like car break-ins and bike thefts ...
  • Proactive Measures Help Community Associations Diminish Exposure to Negligent Security Lawsuits August 24, 2017 Florida community associations, just as with all other property owners in the state, can be held liable for crimes committed on their properties. Associations and other property owners owe a duty to their residents and guests to undergo reasonable steps to protect against foreseeable crimes.  There have been cases over the years of Florida associations being sued by the victims of crimes that took place in their community for allegedly failing to implement adequate security measures. Some of these suits, ...
  • The State of Security/Surveillance Cameras: A Starting Point for Boards August 24, 2017 A debate on surveillance is often one between security, privacy and finances. With increased access to low cost, higher quality equipment, boards are being requested to step up security to combat against increased crime. However, there are legal issues a board should consider and multiple steps to take to protect an association from the very high cost of avoidable litigation.   Read the article…………..
  • Wrongful death suit alleges lack of security in condo of murdered South Boston doctors (MA) August 7, 2017 The families of South Boston doctors Richard Field and Lina Bolanos have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a number of parties responsible for providing security in the upscale condominium building in which they were brutally murdered in May     Read the article……………
  • Watch programs popular in some neighborhoods (IL) August 5, 2017 In the last year, some Springfield residents have turned to restarting Neighborhood Watch programs to improve safety and a sense of community where they live.  The Trevi Gardens Homeowners Association appointed a watch program coordinator early this year, while Iles Park residents began bimonthly Neighborhood Watch meetings with the police officer assigned to their area last fall.     Read the article…………….

Security Archives

Infrastructure Problems

  • Stormwater issues leaving city up a creek (AL) September 22, 2017 Vestavia Lake, which sits on private property owned by the Vestavia Lake Homeowners Association (VLHA), has lost between three and six feet of depth in the last 20 years, according to homeowners Tommy McCain and Alan Arrington.  That loss of depth, according to numerous studies by independent engineering and environmental firms, is the result of sediment runoff from construction sites in the lake’s watershed, the most recent involving the renovations at the Vestavia Country Club.    Read the article……………
  • Neighborhood petitions to pay for road repairs (AZ) September 17, 2017 A sprawling Green Valley neighborhood of large lots and crumbling streets is the first to launch plans to strike a deal with the county to go 50-50 on paying for road repairs.   Thirteen property owners on two streets off La Canada Drive south of Continental Road have taken steps to form a county improvement district (CID) which, according to preliminary calculations, will cost each lot owner roughly $4,600 over five years, or nearly $100 a month.    Read the ...
  • Neighbors weigh legal fight with city over dam repairs (NC) September 16, 2017 Fayetteville neighborhoods that lost their privately owned dams in Hurricane Matthew are considering a new strategy to force the city to do more to help cover repair costs: Legal action.  The city says it can’t spend public money on private dams in these neighborhoods, but the homeowner associations argue that the lakes have become public over time. The lakes essentially served as large storm water drainage basins as west Fayetteville developed, they contend. And when Matthew destroyed the earthen dams ...
  • ‘It’s no way to live’: West Ashley residents give U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, Charleston mayor an earful (SC) September 15, 2017 Frustrated West Ashley residents who have experienced repeated flood damage to their homes pressed U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and other elected officials for answers Friday morning.  Shadowmoss residents were recently flooded, for the fourth time in three years, during Tropical Storm Irma. Many want a government buyout of their homes.    Read the article……………..
  • Neighbors looking for answers to water problems (NC) September 14, 2017 People living in Belvedere Plantation are considering all options when it comes to fixing the problems with their water service.  The Hampstead neighborhood has experienced several water issues over the last few months, and on Tuesday those problems returned.  “We discovered we did have water, but it was black,” said Connie Lowell, a homeowners association board member in Belvedere. “Black in the toilet and black coming out of our sink.”    Read the article…………….
  • Woodson: ‘I’m not spending taxpayer money on private roads’ (NY) September 14, 2017 Riverhead Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson says he will not provide paving and highway services — other than snow plowing — to roads in the Oak Hills section of Baiting Hollow, despite a Town Board resolution passed last Wednesday to incorporate 11 streets into the town road system.  “I’m not spending taxpayer money on private roads,” he told the Town Board last Wednesday in response to the resolution.  Mr. Woodson said afterward that, if necessary, he may even go to ...

Infrastructure Archives

Religion

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

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

Religion Archives

Drones

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

Drone Archives

Hoarding

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

Hoarding Archives