Condo & HOA Articles

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What is a condo?

Maybe you’ve been thinking of living in a condo, but not sure what’s all involved, especially if you’re coming from a more traditional home.  Condos aren’t apartments, and they’re not townhomes. They’re unique to themselves with specialty floor plans, amenities

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Don’t be surprised by HOA fees

If you’re planning to buy a condominium or any other property with a homeowners’ association (HOA), you need to understand the impact of HOA fees before you sign the contract.    Read the article……………….

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Do You Know Where Your Electronic Records Are?

A thousand dollars here, a thousand dollars there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money – as in, $1.35 billion. In the wake of massive data breaches at Equifax, Target and the National Security Agency, that’s how much money

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Do condo and co-op board members have to disclose conflicts of interest? (NY)

The state legislature recently passed a law that will make life a little more difficult, and legislators hope, a little less ripe for self-dealing, for co-op and condo board members.  “The law, which goes into effect January 1st, requires co-op

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Dealing With Difficult People In Your Homeowner’s Association

Living in a homeowner association, there is likelihood of running into someone that is, how should we say it, less than happy. We all have to deal with difficult people at some point. Some focus on what they don’t like

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How HOAs Respond to Emergencies

Crime, natural disasters, and medical emergencies are usually not top of mind–until they happen. Your homeowners association management company plays a role in the planning and recovery of emergencies–not during the emergency itself. In moments of crisis, such as fire,

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Helpful City Services

Many board members receive homeowner requests for community events, complaints about violations, and questions about trash collection or stray animals. With only a limited budget and limited authority, what are board members to do when these requests go beyond the

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12 Things My Board and I Do When We Want to Be Sued

It is well known that Association Board members (directors) have fiduciary duties to their unit owners and associations. It is almost as commonly known that the officers have the same fiduciary duties. Yet associations, directors and officers are often sued

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Tips for a Great Condo Association Newsletter

Having good communications is one of the keys to a successful community Association. There are a variety of ways you can engage with your Owners – whether it is short-form social media or longer-form newsletter. Here are some tips for

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How are Homeowners’ Association Fees Determined? (TN)

One of the important things to remember about the determination of Homeowner Association (HOA) fees is that no two associations are alike. Which means their regular assessments will be different, since they are based on the specific needs, obligations, and

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Why Keeping HOA Fees Low is a Terrible Idea

Working for one of the largest HOA management companies in Northern California I get a lot of phone calls from distressed HOA board members. I hear the same story emerging from these different homeowners association. It’s a sad pattern that

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Winterization Tips for Condos

The last week saw high winds, power outages, and colder temperatures sweep into the Pacific Northwest, announcing that winter is on its way. For condominium owners, cold weather brings a variety of risks that, if left unaddressed, can impact not

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Do Upgraded Amenities Actually Help Property Values?

All communities can benefit from amenity upgrades.  What is an amenity?  According to Investopedia, the world’s leading online source for financial education, amenities are “benefits of a property whose existence increase the value or desirability of that property. An amenity

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Transparency Trend Reaches Homeowners Associations (NY)

The trend toward greater transparency in cooperatives, condominiums and Homeowner Associations (HOA) continues its relentless march. On October 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law amending the state’s Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. This new amendment expands the rights of homeowners

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Three Bad Reasons to Join a Condo Board

The job of Condo Association Board member is not an easy one. You’re faced with a wide variety of different challenges, and the job is completely unpaid. Most people join Boards for the right reasons – namely to make their

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Homeowners Associations: Join Or Pass?

Like many prospective homeowners, I’ve looked at properties that fall under the jurisdiction of a homeowners association (HOA), and I’ve had to carefully analyze whether the value of those HOA services outweighed the costs. HOA fees are hard for many

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Managing Conflicts in Your HOA Community

Let’s be honest, there is no way to avoid conflict entirely. Which means at some point your HOA will deal with some sort of disagreement. There are many types of conflict, and just as many dos and don’ts for how

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Fiduciary Duties 101 – Limiting the Liability of the Board

A fiduciary duty creates an obligation to act for another’s benefit. A board of director’s fiduciary duty is to the association and its members. So what are the core duties of an association director? Individual loyalty, good faith and fair

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Enforceability of Board Adopted Rules Regulating Leases in Condominiums (FL)

Many community associations in the State of Florida are looking for ways to combat the growing number of rentals in their communities. About a year ago, the Second District Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Le Scampi Condominium Association,

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Quick Tips for Association Board Members: The Four B’s of Writing Minutes for Board Meetings

The minutes of any meeting of the Board of Directors for a Condominium Association or a Homeowners’ Association are public records per Florida law. The minutes are required to be kept for 7 years. Fla. Stat. 718.111(12); Fla. Stat. 720.303(4).

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Recovery Plan – Preparing Your Community for Emergencies (Part 3)

Any emergency situation puts a lot of pressure on all community members. The safety of all community members and staff, and returning to daily tasks are the most important. In our previous two blog posts, we discussed how to evaluate

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Home Sweet Home

Sunset Villas is a condominium complex with fifty units on the shores of Lake Michigan. Owners pay $550.00 a month in dues towards neighborhood and maintenance, including the upkeep of the pool and common areas. When the owners hired a

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Hurricane Insurance, Part 2: 4 Tips for Ensuring Comprehensive Hurricane Insurance Coverage

When hurricanes roll in, violent weather in the form of extreme rain and high-speed winds results in loss of life and property alike. We saw the devastating results near the end of this year’s hurricane season during Tropical Storm Lidia,

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Hurricane Insurance: 6 Tips for a Successful Claims Process

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Lidia, many board members and homeowners are now left dealing with the destruction these storms left in their wake – it’s estimated that Hurricane Irma alone caused more than

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Aversion/Disaster Mitigation – Preparing Your Community for Emergencies (Part 2)

Once you’ve evaluated the current situation or emergency plan (whether you have a plan in place or not, and if you do, how much and what needs to be altered), it’s time to draft or update the plan. Work on

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Not Quite So Limited: Are Sublimits Sure to Limit Your Level of Coverage?

A critical component of any insurance policy is of course its limit, which is usually the most an insurance company must pay for a loss. But many property insurance policies include “sublimits” that provide a lower limit for particular losses. 

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Effective Habit #1 – Be Proactive Or Plan Ahead

You can control your Co-op or Condo’s destiny (whether you are an Owner, Board Member or Management) by getting ahead of various situations. Unlike a reactive board, who are often waiting for things to happen, proactive boards anticipate, think ahead

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Buying in a Shared Ownership Community

Are you looking to purchase in a Shared Ownership Community?   A shared ownership community is one where the owners not only have a deed for the property that they own, but share ownership in common areas of their community as

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Tips for Dealing With Condo Association Enemies

Making enemies in a Condo Association is inevitable. Unfortunately, while they might be your enemy, they’re also your neighbor. Though you might be tempted to escalate the hostile activities, as a Condo Association Board member, that’s not really a great

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How to Resign From an HOA Board Gracefully

Deciding to resign from an HOA board can sometimes be a difficult decision. However, at times, it can often be the best choice for both you and the board if you are finding your schedule no longer allows for the

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Community Next: Homes of the Future

Community Next: Homes of the Future is the latest milestone in CAI’s Community Next series, which offers industry insight to empower community association volunteers, managers, and business partners with a strong understanding of how to preserve, protect, and enhance common-interest communities.  This Fall

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Enforcement: Might a Local Ordinance Help Your Community Association?

What can an HOA or condominium association do when activity is occurring within the community that appears to be objectionable, but which is not specifically addressed in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions or other association governing documents? The

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Beyond Letters and Fines: When to Take Further Actions

The ultimate option the community association has to collect on delinquent assessments is the lien. However, the lien is like the nuclear ‘football’ that follows the president. It can and should be considered only as a last resort, and with

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Tips for Managing Condo Association Employee Annual Reviews

The end of the year often brings one of many challenges for Condo Association Boards, which is Condo Association employee annual reviews. Your involvement in this process will depend on your community. Some Condo Associations can have half a dozen

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How To Take Care Of Your Community’s Top Amenities

Well-kempt amenities can raise the property value of your neighborhood and its homes. They’re also a great selling point for potential residents and help maintain a positive, healthy atmosphere between homeowners.  IKO Community Management talks about how to maintain the

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3 Ways to Strengthen Community Relations this Thanksgiving!

Holiday seasons are always a great occasion for bringing your community together and strengthening relationships. Keeping in touch with residents and bringing them together for festivities are some things you can do to cultivate a happier, more connected community. As

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Tackling the New Website Requirement for FL Condominium Associations

Florida condominium associations with 150 or more units, which do not manage timeshare units, must have an independent website or web portal by July 1, 2018, according to Section 718.111, Florida Statutes. These websites or web portals can either be

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Scavenge No More: Preventing a Trashy Situation

Having trouble with animals raiding your garbage cans and creating an awful mess? You’re not alone. Dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, rats and other animals can have a king-sized buffet if they get into your trash—even if the lids on your

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6 Tips on How to Run an HOA Annual Meeting Effectively (MN)

Time for an annual meeting? All homeowner associations (HOA’s) are required to have an annual meeting each year. In addition to any other specific requirements which may be within an association’s declaration, the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (the “Act”)

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Self-Managing Maintenance: Getting the Job Done On Your Own

Whether because of convenience, the desire for autonomy, or a tight budget, some condo and HOA communities opt not to retain an outside management company or an agent to handle their respective day-to-day administrative and maintenance needs. Without proper oversight

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Laundry Room Maintenance: It’s a Wash

Can you imagine living in a condo or co-op that doesn’t have a laundry room? These days, having on-site laundry facilities for residents isn’t an amenity – it’s a necessity, and keeping yours functional and well-maintained is just as important

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Optimizing HVAC: Heating, Cooling, and Conserving

Everyone loves the turning of the seasons, what with leaves changing and snow falling and pools opening and the like. But Mother Nature has little concern for the comfort of humans, so fluctuating temperatures bring the need for residential heating

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Committees, Do We Need Them?

Yes. The board may delegate authority to the manager and they may also utilize the committee structure to assist them in carrying out their duties and responsibilities. Some committees are mandated by the association’s governing documents, usually in the CC&Rs

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Adding Solar Panels in an HOA Community

Many homeowners are beginning to see the appeal of installing solar panels to their home. As an HOA it is important to consider the benefits and identify ways to work with homeowners so everyone is happy. What your board doesn’t

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Stay Off The Naughty List When Planning Holiday Events

The trick-or-treaters have come and gone, and there is an ever-so-slight briskness in the air.  That means the holidays – and all the twinkling lights, festive decorations and parties that come with them – will soon be upon us.  But

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Outdated Governing Documents Invite Lawsuits (NY)

Most co-ops in New York City were converted back in the 1980s, and that’s when their proprietary leases were written. This critical document outlines the relationship between the co-op as a landlord and the shareholder as the tenant, or lessee.

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Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree-Holiday Decorations in Your Community Association

The title of the article is tongue-in-cheek, to be sure, but like any “good” joke (we can debate whether the word “good” is appropriate here), there is a grain of truth behind it. The fact is, holiday decorations are an

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The Better Condo Life Principles

This post is long overdue. This blog was started to help everyone involved in a Condo Association – Owners, Board, and Management – lead a better Condo life. But what does that really mean? After seeing the Condo Association ecosystem

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How to Approach Disagreements With Your Community or Homeowner’s Association

When you purchase a property in a community that’s governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA), you agree to abide by its rules. If for example, you bought a newly built home in a development, or a condominium or townhouse, such

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Taking the Angst Out of Writing Meeting Minutes

How many of you have been to the meeting immediately following an election, ready to choose officer positions and you get to secretary and not a single Board Member volunteers? Property Managers, Board Members and Homeowners have all witnessed this

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