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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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Total Board Recall in Your HOA

The natives are restless. The smell of tar wafts through the night air and somewhere a chicken loses its feathers. The board prepares for impending doom.  Board recalls don’t happen out of the blue. Like Mount St. Helens, they give

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Shortening the Board Member Learning Curve

For those who live in community associations, board membership should be viewed in the same vein as a civic duty. An effective board of directors is essential for the financial and administrative wherewithal and stability of every community association, so

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What is Condo Association Fiduciary Duty?

The term “fiduciary duty” comes up often when talking about Condo and HOA Boards. According to US Legal.com the official definition of fiduciary duty is:  “A fiduciary duty is an obligation to act in the best interest of another party…A

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How to Make Condo Boards Successful: The Ultimate Checklist

One of the questions I’m often asked is what makes a condo board successful. I’ve been in the thick of things as President of my condo board, and I’ve spoken to people involved with dozens of other condo boards. From

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8 time-saving strategies for community associations to avoid strain

For many community association residents, serving on the board is a rewarding experience. They guide how the money gets spent, and they reap satisfaction when improvement projects are successfully completed.  Board service also can be a frustrating, thankless chore that

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Fighting Apathy: Identifying Great Condo Board Member Candidates

Condo Association Boards have an extremely challenging job when it comes to running their Associations. They have substantial control over finances and the direction a community goes. The fear of breaking bad – and resulting horror stories – is very

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HOA Target, Process & Objective

The lack of communication is often one of the biggest complaints that many boards receive. Yet, good communication is a fundamental imperative of every homeowner association. If the board is to succeed with its objectives, it needs cooperation from the

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Whose job is it anyway? The difference between the roles of Property Managers and the Board of Directors

For most members of the condo community, the Property Manager is the face of the condo corporation. They are responsible for day-to-day running of the condo corporation, and I find that people can get confused about the difference between the

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The First Steps to Learn to be a Condo Board Member

New Board members are are a key to fighting apathy. They come in full of energy, ready to change the Association for the better. They know what they’re getting into, but how do you get to work? This article is

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HOAs: How to make community service fair

It is a basic truth that the risk in any venture should match the reward. High risk investments should bring high yields, while low returns may be acceptable for very secure investments.  The same principle should be applied to volunteer

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How to make sure volunteer work does not bring risk

It is a basic truth that the risk in any venture should match the reward. High risk investments should bring high yields, while low returns may be acceptable for very secure investments.  The same principle should be applied to volunteer

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New HOA Board Members – Get up to Speed on Your Community Finances

Congratulations, and thank you for stepping up to serve your community on the board of directors! As an HOA or community association board member, you get to run a business and make key decisions that will impact your community now

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6 ways to manage a successful homeowners’ association

It is always a convenient option to form a group of like-minded people, chosen by the rest of the residents to maintain harmony in the neighborhood. For this purpose,homeowners’ associations are formed so that one can mark the elements that

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Contending with Apathy Towards Board Member Service in Community Associations

Community association living has many advantages and desirable qualities. Residents share expenses in order to be able to enjoy relatively carefree maintenance of their property and the use of amenities such as pools, fitness centers, meeting rooms, and other appealing

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How to Effectively Represent Condo Association Owners as a Board Member

Condo Association Board members are elected to represent Condo Association Owners and to carry out their fiduciary duty with regards to the Condo Association. That’s the job. There are many other challenges that go with it, but those are the

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The Road to Self-Management: Independence Has Its Pros and Cons

Management by definition is a process; a series of ongoing systems and controls put in place with a specific outcome in mind. The management needs and requirements of HOAs, co-ops and condominiums have helped define the overall property management industry.

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If Hillary and Donald were running for your Condo or HOA Board which one would get your vote?

I realize that the title of this blog post will prompt some readers to dash off a response in support of their favored candidate or at least launch an attack against the candidate they despise.  The question in the title

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Why the ‘Business Judgment Rule’ is not a free pass

Association directors are unpaid, serving their neighbors as volunteers – is it fair that they can be sued for the decisions they make?  The Business Judgment Rule (“BJR” for brevity) is the first thing all directors should learn, but well-meaning

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Finding your Specialty on a Condo Association Board

Once you join a Condo Association Board, you’ll have your hands full with a variety of different tasks and activities. Preserving the big three – finances, safety, and transparency – is the job of all Board members. The challenges of

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Fighting Apathy: New Members on Condo Association Boards

The goal of every Association is to provide a safe, secure, and financially solvent community for its Owners. The vast majority of Associations succeed in this endeavor. This makes it all the more disappointing when Boards break bad and you

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HOAs: The Business Judgment Rule protects boards but is not a free pass

Courts normally defer to HOA boards as long as the Business Judgment Rule is followed. The State Supreme Court said so in 1999, while deciding Lambden v. La Jolla Shores. In the Lambden case, a homeowner contended the board should

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Protection for volunteers: Remember the business judgment rule

Association directors are unpaid, serving their neighbors as volunteers – is it fair that they can be sued for the decisions they make? The Business Judgment Rule (“BJR” for brevity) is the first thing all directors should learn, but well-meaning

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Boosting Harmony Amongst Board Members

Whenever you have a group of people with different beliefs and backgrounds, you’re going to get arguments. However, as with any group, it’s important to create a harmonious environment to actually accomplish tasks. Check out these three tips you can

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Risky Business: Discussing Association Matters in Emails

As well-known especially by those with teenagers, email has taken the place of ordinary telephone conversations and in-person communications. Unlike most telephone conversations and in-person communications, however, email communications are not ephemera. Rather, they live on in back-up tapes or

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Five Personalities at Condo Association Meetings

Monthly Condo Association meetings are critical for the operations and maintenance of an Association. This is where the vast majority of real work gets done. Involved Owners show up to see the sausage made, or at least read the minutes.

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HOA Sales Transactions Can Be Precarious – There Are Many “Sharks” in the Water

HOA sales transactions can be precarious when the parties that are doing the talking do not know what they’re talking about. I did a blog about a month ago with a “beware slant” telling you about why if you are

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For the People, By the Homeowners: HOA Board Governance in a Nutshell

Community associations have a lot in common with municipal governments. As members of a governing body — and typically also members of the homeowner’s association — HOA board members should meet regularly to discuss and vote on important community issues,

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4 Tips to Improve HOA Board Harmony

A productive HOA is a harmonious HOA. If people are arguing and ignoring each other, work can’t get done. If your board is lacking in harmony, check out these four tips to improve peace amongst members.  The most important thing

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New Condo Board: Transition is Important

Question: I have just been elected President of our new condominium. Our new board of directors have just taken over from the developer, but frankly we are at a loss at to where and how to go. Any suggestions? Harry,

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Six Essential Tips for New HOA Board Members

Congratulations are in order – you’ve just been elected to the board. So now the big question: What’s next?  “The great thing about associations that are helmed by owners is that they have a vested interest in doing right by

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Important Things to Know When Serving on a Board of Directors (FL)

Serving on the Board of Directors of any corporation can be a great opportunity for both personal and financial growth. As with everything in life, however, in order to receive, one must also give. This article will summarize the responsibilities

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How to Handle Aggression Against HOA Board Members

Ideally, all HOA board meetings would be organized, calm, and simple. However, that’s not usually how life works when you manage a homeowners association. With many homeowners comes many opinions, and there is usually one owner who believes their opinion

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Just named a director on your new condo board? Better get busy

I have just been elected president of our new condominium. Our new board of directors has just taken over from the developer, but frankly we are at a loss as to where and how to go. Any suggestions?     Read

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