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Avoiding Conflicts of Interest as an HOA Board Member

When you’re an HOA board member, you hold a great deal of responsibility for your association in your hands. You want to be sure that you’re handling that responsibility correctly–and avoiding conflicts of interest is one of the key ways

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HOA Directors in California – WATCH OUT! READ THIS!

Rogue Directors – Beware – HOA Director Liability -What is Happening in California?  Here’s the general question of importance in this blog:  Are California HOA Board Directors protected in California for their actions on the Board? Does the “business judgment

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Three Condo Association Project Red Flags

When you’re carrying out a major project, you’re bound to encounter issues. Unhappy Owners, unexpected “surprises” during the project, and other challenges are to be expected. A challenging issue is figuring out what problems are part of the normal lifecycle

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Harassment in Associations – Boards Must Act

It has been illegal for a condominium board to discriminate against a unit owner on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. What if a resident complains that other residents or even board members

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On an HOA Board: Here’s How to Avoid Problems

If you live in an established 55+ community or an active adult community there is a Homeowners Association (often called Community Associations) in charge. While often maligned, these boards are necessary – somebody has to run the place. Boards need

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Making Transparency a Priority in Your HOA Board

Nothing will sink your HOA board faster than secrecy. While there are times when confidentially is necessary, most often HOA board business is public information and required to be easily accessible to homeowners. Boards should always focus on clear communication

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Three Condo Association Board Bad Habits to Break Right Now

Sometimes you pick up bad habits. Maybe it’s because you have a bad influence, maybe a bad upbringing. It could be because you’re lazy. Condo Association Boards operate the same way. You’re carrying out your work, generally being a good

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How an HOA Board Can Still Govern When the Board President Passes Away

Finding members in your homeowners association who want to volunteer on the HOA board can be hard – finding a member to step up and become the board president is even harder. So, what do you do when the current

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Crystal Vision: Why Communication Between a Board and Management Company Matters

As a board member, you want your community to grow and thrive. Having a vision for your community—the aesthetics of it, its reputation, the kinds of programming it offers and amenities it provides—is critical to its long-term well-being. A well-crafted

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What Does it Mean to be a Fiduciary?

In simplest terms, to be a fiduciary to another person or party is to be in a position of trust. For example, a patient trusts her doctor to make the correct diagnosis. A parishioner trusts his priest to keep his

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How Healthy Is Your Condo Board? How to Conduct a Thorough Checkup

As uncomfortable as it might be to get poked and prodded while you’re clothed in a paper gown, medical checkups are essential to maintaining your health. Well, guess what? That same wisdom applies to buying a home—particularly if that home

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Managing Condo Association Workflow

Being on a Condo Board is a challenging job. You may understand what you’re getting into, but living it is a whole different beast. Board members have numerous challenges to contend with. You resolve disputes, create budgets, execute major projects

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You Won the Election, Now What?

Congratulations! You threw your hat in the ring, ran a vigorous issues-based campaign promising to shake up the establishment, and ultimately won a seat on your association’s board of directors. Once the champagne stops flowing, consider the following tips to

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Three Questions to ask Prospective Condo Association Board Candidates

Condo elections are incredibly important. New Condo Board members help fight apathy and infuse new energy into Boards. On the other hand, established veterans who have led the Association for years are critical as well. Too often, the “campaign” part

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Duties of Homeowner Association Board of Directors

Ok, you have volunteered to serve on the board of your non-profit association. You attend your first board meeting. You start to vote on various issues. What guides you in making your decisions? Under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act

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3 Common Questions About an HOA Board of Directors

The Board of Directions of an Association is responsible for protecting, maintaining and enhancing the community. Knowing who the members of the Board are and having a basic understanding of what they do is a good way for all members

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The Role of the Community Association in Neighbor vs Neighbor Disputes

Neighbor vs neighbor disputes are frequently a part of life in community associations. Common examples may include an owner allowing his dog to use his neighbor’s yard or an owner dumping trash on his neighbor’s yard. Although they may initially

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HOA Homefront: Being a volunteer means no profiteering (CA)

Q:  A board member also owns several properties elsewhere. A homeowners association vendor told me that this director demands, and gets, “discounts” from the vendor for work done on the director’s other properties. This is certainly ethically questionable as I

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Ask An Expert: About Your Condo, HOA Rules

Q:  Can an association sue a member of the association for defaming the board, or can only the individual board member make the claim? What do you suggest an association due to stop harassment from a member of the community,

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When private interests infiltrate the condo board

Why does one become a director? It’s generally not the applause, the pay cheque, or the pleasure of being bombarded in the elevators by other residents’ questions. Some directors cite interest in playing their part to help their home thrive,

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HOA Board Directors: Lone Ranger or Tonto?

Being a person that wants to serve and protect your own interests, you get yourself elected to the board. At the first board meeting, the president gives you a pep talk about not giving instructions to contractors or discussing board

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The Board Member’s Toolbox for Building Community

As a Board member, it can sometimes be easy to focus on the operational functions of managing an Association rather than the larger picture: creating a Community that Homeowners and residents love to live in. Vendors of all sorts must

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Part III of the Breaking Up Series: Leaving the Past Behind You

n this final installment of my Breaking Up series, I want to talk about what a new board needs to do to get out from under the legacy left behind from an old board, particularly when that legacy is not

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How to Improve Condo Association Culture for the Better

Most people in a HOA or a Condo Association – if they are not indifferent – want to have a better Association. The internet is full of helpful articles and blogs that will help educate you on how to change

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When Boards Have to Fight for What’s Right (NY)

Sometimes, co-op and condo boards have to be willing to fight for what’s right. That was certainly the case for Larry Kelter, who got hit with a one-two punch after becoming board president at the Hamlet at Windwatch, a 228-unit

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Fiduciary Duty and Community Association Board Members

We frequently talk about the fact that homeowner association board members have a “fiduciary duty” to the members. What exactly is it? Is it spelled out in the law? What sort of actions would violate that duty?  A fiduciary duty

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Sharing Condo Association Work on a Board

A Condo Association is a volunteer organization. You know what you’re getting into and how a Condo Board works. Unfortunately, you’ve got different types of Board members who work at different paces. Some are the super type-A’s who work endlessly.

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The Rogue One: Directors Gone Bad

A condo director unilaterally fires the property manager, hires himself in her place, enters into several other contracts without discussing it with the other directors, bullies the other owners, sues the corporation, and causes thousands of dollars in damages. It

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Serve on the Board – or Pay Up

Here’s a novel way to fill those unfillable vacancies on a co-op board.  Many co-ops struggle mightily to find people willing to take on the thankless job of board service. That’s not surprising. The job comes with some to-die-for perks,

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Learning to Be a Condo Association Board Leader

You know what you’re getting into and you’ve learned how your Board does its work. You’ve probably been frustrated with some things, and wondered why they aren’t better, or why things aren’t done the right way. You have grown, grasshopper.

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One Board President’s On-the-Job Training

John F. Kennedy said, famously, that there’s no school for presidents. The only way to learn the job is by doing it. The same goes for presidents of co-op and condo boards. Just ask Darren Arithoppah.  Like many of the

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In a community association, who’s actually in charge?

It takes a village to run a community association.  This village typically is composed of an elected board and its officers, unit owners, perhaps a few committees and a hired manager. Each one has roles to play and responsibilities to

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Five Common Emails from Condo Owners

A big part of leading a Condo Association is communicating with Owners. Unfortunately, as many veterans know, most interactions are not Owners telling you how awesome you are and what a great job you’re doing. Typically their engagement with the

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Can an association board sue a member for defamation?

Q: Can an Association sue a member of the Association for defaming the Board, or can only the individual board member make the claim? What do you suggest an association due to stop harassment from a member of the community,

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What the HOA Board Should Know About Making Association Rules

When thinking of rules within a California Homeowners Association, what comes to mind are the few but chronic rule breakers that somehow find their way into some associations, and how nice it might be to have a spell to bring

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5 Ways To Deal With Board Members That Micro-Manage

It’s no secret that board members that micro-manage make life tough for property managers. The need for the board to control even the smallest aspect of a property manager’s job is not only considered a nuisance—it’s stressful. What if I

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How to Create The Ultimate Operations Calendar for Your Community

The start of a new year is about more than just changing the calendar on the wall. It’s an opportunity to strategically plan your community association’s operations calendar for the next year to ensure you complete all necessary tasks and

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Invalid Board Does Not Have Authority to Bring Lawsuit on Association’s Behalf

The Appeals Court of Illinois recently held that an association’s board of directors does not have authority to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the association if it is not formed properly according to the condominium’s governing documents and the

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HOA Homefront: The board balancing act

The ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang deals with opposite and inseparable forces. Common interest developments, or homeowner associations, have their own “yin and yang” issues, in which four basic and inseparable priorities must be balanced to produce a

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Essential Board Member Skills: Objectivity is Key

I believe the most important skill for a board member to possess is objectivity. You need to look at all positions and possibilities and then select the path that provides the greatest good for all members of the association. This

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E-mail Intelligence – Does Your Board Possess it?

Today, I am discussing the pros and cons of homeowners’ association (HOA) board members and managers using email for community correspondence, and how to craft a sound email policy for your association.  Board members, managers and association residents are no

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Clarifying Board Roles: Who’s On Board?

Chances are if you’re a resident in a co-op, condo, or HOA community, you’re familiar with your property’s board of directors (or trustees, or managers, depending on what part of the country you live in). Boards are usually made up

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Essential Board Member Skills: Listen More, Talk Less

When I was asked which skill was most essential for board members, I had an immediate consideration for one I thought they should definitely master: listening. However, as a matter of routine, I did a straw poll of some of

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Are your Resolutions Sticking?

Many people have resolutions on the brain during this time of year. But it’s one thing to set goals — network more, learn to meditate, or get better at writing — and quite another to actually accomplish them. What are

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Being a Condo Director Could Enhance Your Career!

How did Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s former campaign manager and current Counsellor to the President (and proponent of “alternative facts”) make it to the White House? It was recently reported that Ms. Conway met President Trump a number of years

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6 Essential Skills Board Members Should Master

If you’ve chosen to dedicate valuable time to serving as a board member, giving the job your best effort may require you to refine certain skills or learn new ones. But between your limited time, big buzzwords and best practices,

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Duties of Homeowner Association Board of Directors (MN)

Ok, you have volunteered to serve on the board of your non-profit association. You attend your first board meeting. You start to vote on various issues. What guides you in making your decisions? Under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act

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May an HOA Board Waive HOA Assessments?

Is it legal for our HOA to waive assessments for board members?  Most Bylaws and/or CC&Rs in California provide that board members serve as volunteers. That is the California HOA model. Waiving assessments is no different than accepting compensation except

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Help Your Board Stay Proactive in the Winter Months

Oftentimes Boards of Directors believe that after the holidays, they can catch a break for a couple of months prior to meeting and discussing Spring projects. They use Winter months as a ‘rest period’ from Board activities. Yet, the beginning

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New Board Member? Here’s What to Expect in Your Orientation Training

he beginning of a year signals many things but in many community associations, it signifies the start of a new relationship with recently elected board members. Volunteering to serve your community in the capacity of an elected board member is

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