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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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What Roles Do Owners, Boards And Committees Play Within Community Associations?

There are various opinions on the role of community and condominium associations. But, generally speaking, the main purpose and authority of the association are to maintain common elements and ensure compliance with the association’s governing documents.   Property owner associations

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Could Your Personal Emails Be Exposed?

Imagine the worst case scenario: you are on the board, the board is embroiled in litigation, and the opposing side wants to know what was said in an email. Suddenly you may find yourself facing the possibility of a third

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7 ways condo boards can increase property values

The decisions and priorities of community association boards govern the daily lives of their residents. But those actions also have a huge impact on selling prices.  We asked several city and suburban real estate agents who work in the community

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How to be a successful condo board director

In a previous post, I provided a checklist of best practices that successful boards use. Successful boards are made up of successful directors. What makes a successful condo board director? Here are five characteristics I’ve noticed that are common to

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So You’re on the Board….Now What?

You took the plunge! You volunteered, put your name on the ballot, and were elected. After the anticipation, the vote, and the satisfaction of being elected subside, you may realize that you are not exactly sure what to do as

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Does a condo board have to enforce every single rule and regulation?

Q: I live in a condominium complex where there is no enforcement of the house rules. I have noisy neighbors, neighbors with three cars (for their two-person, one-bedroom condo), neighbors who erect anything and everything on the common elements. The

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Wearing the right hat: Managing condo owners’ expectations

Picture this: It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and a condo board director has just stepped out to grab the morning paper before settling in for a relaxing breakfast. As she turns to go back inside, a neighbor starts a long-winded

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Can I serve on the board if my name is not on the deed?

Q: My wife and I took title to our condominium unit in my wife’s name for estate planning purposes based on our estate planning attorney’s advice. Now the board is telling me that I am not eligible to serve on

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New Year – New Board

Welcome to 2017! Do you have new board members at your association? According to ECHO, this is a great time to stress the importance of a Board’s duties, responsibilities and ethics. Ethics are the moral compass that guides the performance

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Six Ways Board Member Training Creates Successful Communities

When board members volunteer, they’re driven by the desire to enhance their communities. But what happens when good intentions don’t pair up with a board members’ level of expertise or education?  “Board members volunteer their time because they want to

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5 Ways an HOA Board Can Encourage Member Involvement in the New Year

Since a new year is about to begin, this may be a good time for the HOA board to communicate with the Association members about several ways they can help make the community an even better place to live in

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Taking It to the Streets: Dealing With Conflicts Outside Your Condo or Co-op (NY)

The day-to-day operation of a residential condo or co-op can certainly be a handful for its board of trusted volunteers. But not to add insult to injury, communal living doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and there are likely to be

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Tips for Effective HOA Board Member Transitions

If you are reading this article, you’re most likely a newly elected HOA or community association board member who will be taking office in the near future. HOAs and community associations are real businesses with budgets in the hundreds of

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Events, Expos and Educational Classes: Why HOA Boards Should Attend

Most homeowners association (HOA) board members are not experts. Board members are well-intentioned, dedicated volunteer-leaders who want to protect the value of their property and ensure their community continues to be a great place to live. Of course, the act

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10 Questions Your HOA Board Should Ask Before the End of the Year

It’s important for an HOA board to work on ending the year well. It doesn’t matter if your homeowners association plans around the fiscal or calendar year, the questions below apply to both. It may already be the end of

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Three Great Reasons to Join a Condo Association Board

Making the decision to join a Condo Association Board is a big step. You’ll be responsible for the governance and management of a community – possibly one with hundreds or thousands of people living in it. The job will be

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How to Act Effectively as a New Condo Association Board Member

Learning to be an effective new Condo Board member is a process. While you may come in with the greatest of expectations and designs, reality is messy and different. Before anything else, you first need to “learn to learn” –

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Ten Key Items that Should Be on Every Community’s Annual Calendar

As a board member or the management company for an association, do you have all your ducks in a row for the new year? With the holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to get distracted. However, it’s important to take the

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Board Power: Its Sources, Its Uses, Its Limits (NY)

Today’s boards owe a debt of gratitude to Ronald Levandusky and his kitchen.  In 1990, a man named Ronald Levandusky wanted to remodel his kitchen at One Fifth Avenue. In the process, he changed the position of a two-inch steam

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How to Make Good Governance Policies for Condo Boards

Policies may not seem like an exciting topic, but they are crucial to the success of any condo board. I divide policies into three areas: governance, financial, and communications. An earlier post described best practices in communication. In this post,

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