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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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3 Ways Community Management Adds Value

Deciding whether or not to work with a homeowners association management company is an important question that faces every HOA at some point. On one hand, it’s tempting to try to save the monthly management fees and direct those funds

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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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New Services Help Associations Thwart Unauthorized Short-Term Rentals

The problem of short-term rentals with the help of Airbnb and other similar websites in violation of community association rules has quickly become one of the most pressing issues facing associations today. Even though Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO claim they

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A Primer on Association Election Basics as Season is Set to Begin

With the holiday season approaching, now is the time that many condominium associations in Florida are gearing up for their annual meetings and board member elections. It is essential for the current board and property management to have a complete

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Automating HOA Collections

One of the biggest expenses and hassles for a homeowner association is collecting the regular homeowner fee. Every month, checks, money orders and cash are processed, tallied, bank deposits made and books posted. Then, letters are sent to those that

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Four Ways To Set Decoration Policies Without Ruining the Holiday Party

People decorate for everything these days – from Valentine’s Day to the patriotic celebrations of summer and on to the fall festivities and winter wonderlands. Many people derive a sense of community and comfort from seeing familiar decorations at the

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4 Tips to Winterize Your Community

The winter can be a lot of fun, but it can also cause a lot of damage to your home and community. It’s important that before the winter weather hits, you get your neighborhood ready for bad weather. Check out

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Budget Tips: 5 Reasons Your Landscape Maintenance Costs May Increase

Landscape maintenance budgets can be a major component for homeowners associations and in some cases condominium budgets. What should your association be prepared for in your 2017 budgets? Unfortunately, there are several market forces that have resulted in increased costs

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Are You Observing Constitutional Rights in Disciplinary Hearings?

Boards of directors of community associations (and, unfortunately, even the attorneys advising them) will sometimes mistakenly believe that co-owners are not entitled to certain Constitutional rights of due process with respect to disciplinary hearings. They might warn a co-owner not

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Digital Outreach and Collaboration in a Condo Association

The year is 2016. The world is full of incredible technology – small drones that can deliver burritos or crash into Condos, smart devices which allow us to send selfies to the entire world, and self-driving and electric cars. With

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Fractions and Votes Under Robert’s Rules

Condominium and homeowner association documents contain many different voting requirements. For example, the required number of votes to elect a director is usually different than the number of votes required to adopt an annual budget.   The math involved in determining

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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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A Preventative Maintenance Plan for Your High-Rise Community

Creating and executing a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan for your high-rise community should be a top priority for your board, residents and property management company alike. The benefits of preventative maintenance are countless, from preventing the premature breakdown of mechanical

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How an HOA Board Can Ask for Member’s Help as Inspectors of Election

It’s that time again in your homeowners association – time for the Annual Director Election. To be proactive and try to drum up participation from the membership, the HOA board may want to send out a notice to the members

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“Why Can’t I Paint My House Orange?”

“Why can’t I paint my house orange? Or have a giant flamingo in the front lawn? Or build a triple-story playground in the backyard?”  As a community management professional, you understand the value of belonging to a community association. Homeowners,

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How to Start a Condo Association Committee

Next to the Board of Directors, Condo Association Committees have a significant impact on an Association. They are extremely valuable for both the Board and Owners. For the Board, they serve as a mechanism to pursue important, but lower priority

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3 Tips to Give Homeowners a Voice

Not every homeowner who lives in the community is on the HOA board, but every homeowner is affected by what the board decides. That is why it is important to give homeowners a voice in their community. Check out these

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When Tragedy Affects Your Building – Picking Up the Pieces at Your Co-op or Condo

According to a story in the New York Daily News on August 18, a construction worker died after apparently hanging himself from a fifth-floor window at a Queens condominium complex. By any estimation, this event was tragic, and surely devastating

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8 Ways Your Drone Could Land You in Jail

By 2020, there will be more than 7 million drones in US skies alone. Hobby flying is booming. With ever greater numbers of untrained operators has come increasing numbers of accidents, as well as some hair-raising near-misses with commercial planes.

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Tips to Establish Pet Policy In Your Association

Does your community allow pets? What types? How many? Are there limits on size? If you live in a pet-friendly community, it’s important that your association board set boundaries to keep order within your community. Many of the issues that

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Directors vs. Officers

There is often confusion about the difference between directors and officers in condominium and homeowner associations. Much of the confusion stems from the corporate world. In large corporations the board members of a corporation are often different individuals than the

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Late Fees and Delinquency in a Condo Association

One constant challenge in Condo Associations is the issue of delinquency and debt collection. Homeowner’s Association or Condo Association fees, also called “general assessments,” are the financial lifeblood of your Association. While you may have alternate revenue streams, general assessments

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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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Debunking some toxic mold myths

In 2000, a new “toxic mold” panic swept the country, and after 16 years of untold lawsuits and billions of dollars spent, major myths still plague and unnecessarily panic association boards, managers and homeowners. The myths all too often cause

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The Basics of Homeowners Association Disputes Part 1 – Mediation

HOA disputes are something that we see on a regular basis. Although in a perfect world, none of us would get in disputes with our neighbors, the reality is that disputes between neighbors, or the association and an owner, are

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Renters and Owners: How Are They Treated by Community Association Board Members

Stark & Stark Shareholder Christopher Florio recently joined Ray Dickey from AssociationHelpNow to discuss treatment of renters and owners as it applies to homeowner association board members, community managers, and management companies. They discuss board meetings, parking, and access to

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Dog killed, woman arrested after 4-alarm condo complex fire in San Mateo (CA)

San Mateo firefighters battled a 4-alarm fire at a condo complex on the 2300 block of Ticonderoga Drive overnight.  Firefighters said a resident was taken into custody for fighting with San Mateo police, and attempting to run back into the

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The Business Judgment Rule

Community Association board members frequently ask, “What is the standard we’re held to when we vote and make decisions?” The standard of conduct in Oregon and Washington is colloquially known as the “Business Judgment Rule.” Application of the Business Judgment

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HOAs Gone Haywire, Part II: How To Avoid The Most Common Pitfalls Of HOA And COA Management

With 66 million Americans and climbing currently living in common interest communities such as Homeowners’ Associations, Condominium Associations, retirement communities, vacation timeshares, and gated subdivisions, both the benefits — enhanced control over their environment and property values — and the

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Budgeting for Snow Removal Without a Crystal Ball

For community associations that maintain their own streets, exterior parking lots and sidewalks, snow removal services can easily be one of the highest budgeted expenses each year. In the real estate boom of the early 2000’s, buyers purchased homes without

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Creating Condo Association Policies for Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals, powered by technology companies like Airbnb and VRBO, are shaking up the Condo Association industry. Their easy to use platform is making it such that Owners can easily – and often illegally – rent out their property to

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What You Need to Know About Service Animals in Your Community

Service dogs can help individuals with a variety of disabilities enjoy a greater quality of life and assist in performing daily tasks. What happens when your association’s policies and the need for a service animal conflict? The short answer is,

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Condo Owners Can Speak Freely

Question: We live in a large condominium project, and a number of us are quite concerned about our Board of Directors. We are not permitted to attend their Board meetings, we have tried to get copies of the financial statements

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3 Tips to Give Homeowners a Voice

Not every homeowner who lives in the community is on the HOA board, but every homeowner is affected by what the board decides. That is why it is important to give homeowners a voice in their community. Check out these

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When the Inmates Take Over the Asylum and a Good Board Loses Control

Those of us who have been involved in representing community associations (in my case, for over forty-five years) have, no doubt, experienced a situation where so-called dissidents in a community association, for clearly irrational reasons, strive to seize control of

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Tips to Help Homeowners Association Residents Prevent Kitchen Fires

Fire can be a fear of residents within a homeowners association. They can break out in all sorts of situations, so it’s always good to remind owners in your community about fire safety.  Did you know that nearly two-thirds of

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What Successful Associations Do: Master the Reserve Study

Believe it or not, budget season is upon us again. Each association requires different levels of involvement from their board during the budgeting process. While a professional community association manager will assist you when you’re getting started, it’s important for

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Indoor Air Quality for Co-ops, Condos and HOAs

Few things in life are as precious yet underappreciated as clean air. We take it for granted. Breathe in, breathe out—we rarely even notice the action.  Ensuring that the air we breathe is clean, fresh and safe is one of

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Preparing For the Invasion: How Can Co-ops and Condos Deal with Invasive Species

Trees have their own natural enemies, but perhaps the most devastating for co-op, condo and HOA communities are invasive species of insects like the emerald ash borer (EAB).  Originating in Asia, this predator of ash trees is now present in

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LIGHTS … CAMERA … LEGAL ACTION! Do Associations Increase Their Liability by Providing Security Measures?

Many owners in common interest communities might assume that when their association takes steps to increase security – such as installing street lights, security gates, surveillance cameras, etc. – they are providing additional protection to the owners who live in

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HOA Generationalizing

Homeowner associations can be a melting pot of age groups which carry unique values and perceptions of the world. At times, these values can clash at the HOA level and the board is challenged to restore balance and harmony with

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When a Board Breaks Bad: Righting the Ship at Your Co-op or Condo

Owners and shareholders trust their elected boards with their very lives. Okay… it’s probably not a life-or-death scenario, but residents of co-ops and condos do put a great deal of faith in their association’s representatives to have their best interests

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3 Tips to Reduce HOA Fees

HOA fees are necessary to keep the neighborhood running smoothly. However, over time, the fees can continue to increase. Sometimes, these increases are necessary, but sometimes, there are places where spending can be reduced. Check out these three tips for

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Overreaction in a Condo Association

One of my favorite sayings about Condo Associations is “the emotions are so high because the stakes are so low.” Now that’s not to say that serious things can’t happen. Sometimes you’re dealing with major projects or special assessments that

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The Truth about HOAs: Involved Homeowners are Happier Homeowners

Board members are community leaders. They volunteer their time to make decisions on the well-being and financial health of their association. Every homeowner has a right to know what’s going on in the community and the board should embrace that.

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Dealing with Harassment as a Member of the HOA Board

In a perfect world, an HOA would have regular meetings where members of the community would ask the board questions, raise concerns, and receive regular updates. It would be structured, straightforward, and civilized.  Unfortunately, that’s not how most meetings with

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Ancillary Income: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Most will agree that the best type of income for the owners is the income that they do not have to pay (outside income). That income of course reduces the assessments they pay to the association. Usually these types of

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Meet the New Boss – Your HOA

This updates our 2009 article on Home Owner Associations, the introductory piece of a 3 part series about these important, but controversial organizations (often called Community Associations). The 2nd in the series features an insightful interview with Joe West, CEO

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