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Avoiding Community Association Conflicts of Interest: Best practices for board members and property managers

HOA board members, as well as property managers, are bound by codes of ethics (written or unwritten) to put the interests of their respective associations ahead of their own. Conflicts of interest, or even the hint of conflicts, can create

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3 Common Homeowner Responses to an Increase in HOA Fees

We all have heard the question time and time again, “Why do my HOA fees continue to increase?” Although it may not be news most homeowners want to hear, sometimes an increase in fees is the best way to keep

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Unpaid Assessments: Liens & Personal Obligations – Part I

Under state law in Washington and Oregon, Condominium and Homeowner Associations have the authority to adopt and amend budgets, and levy and collect assessments from owners for the common expenses. But it can be confusing what happens when an owner

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Artificial Intelligence: Boon or Bust for Property Managers?

This summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made headlines when he called artificial intelligence (AI) an existential threat to mankind, predicting that robots will one day do everything better than people, thus taking away their jobs.  Building managers, be warned: you

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Common Problems in Your HOA: Mold

Whether the buildings in your HOA community are old or new, mold is a common problem in moist climates. This article contains answers to some of the most common questions regarding mold in an HOA community as well as suggestions

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The Condo Association Board Prosecutor Profile

Is your community lawless? Are your rules out of date and unenforced? If so, that means you probably don’t have a Condo Association Board Prosecutor. This week’s Condo Association Board personality profile is the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor wants to live

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What Should You Know About HOA Dues?

According to Realtor.com, the average HOA fee (also known as a due) was between $200 and $300 per month for a single-family home last year. The exact number is dependent on how many community amenities are offered, the size of

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HOA Volunteer Immunity and the Standard of Care

Unfortunately, one of the most persistent and justifiable worries of volunteer HOA board directors is their vulnerability to lawsuits. In order to gauge one’s own vulnerability, it’s important to consider the many layers of potential immunity and general protection that

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Community associations need to be hurricane-proof, too

As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody’s got a plan until they get hit.” This hurricane season is confirming the need for community associations to develop the right plans, learn from their experiences and continually refine their plans.  Many volunteer community association

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Homeowners Association Safety Tips for Winter Roads and Trips (CA)

Do you live in a homeowners association where snowy weather leads to snow plowing your private roads during the winter months? Preparedness is paramount when it comes to being on the road. With an increased risk of potential driving hazards

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Reading Your CC&Rs

Show of hands: Who has actually read their community’s CC&Rs cover to cover and word for word? Statistically speaking, not many have. And while it may feel unnecessary to read them, we assure you it’s better to familiarize yourself with

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How to Have Successful HOA Elections

One of the centerpieces of a successful HOA is a well-organized election process. However, in order to ensure that your HOA elections succeed every year, it’s important to take heed of a few key rules: follow your governing documents; send

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When Residents Break Rules

All too often, we are asked by boards of directors and property managers what steps can be taken to prevent residents from continuing to break rules in their communities. Seldom, however, do we hear community associations that are active and

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Recruiting Directors In Your HOA

From time to time, it is necessary or desirable to recruit new directors. It may due to a vacancy or an upcoming election. Often volunteers are reluctant to commit until they fully understand the scope of the job and time

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Associations, good financial health pays off in spades

Community associations have good reasons to maintain healthy bank balances: It allows them to keep up with maintenance and curb appeal. They don’t annoy owners by repeatedly tapping them for more.  Here’s another one: Financial stability leads to speedier sales

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HOA Taxes | What Tax Forms Are HOAs Required to File?

In the United States, there are more than 351,000 Homeowners Associations (HOAs). They represent about 40 million households, or 53% of the owner-occupied homes in the country. Said differently, if you own your own home, there’s a good chance that

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5 Ways Hawaii Condo Dwellers Can Protect Themselves

When I accompanied our daughter in her search to buy a condominium in Honolulu a few years ago, we didn’t even think to ask the real estate agent if the unit we liked had a fire sprinkler system or how

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This is the Right Way to Respond to Disaster in Community Association Management

Today is the first day we have been back in the office since our area was hit by Hurricane Irma. I am thankful that all of us made it through the storm in one piece, and I am especially grateful

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Post-Irma Impacts on Association Annual Meetings and Elections (FL)

While recovery from property damage and power outages may take precedence in the hours and days following a hurricane, it is also important to consider—and to take swift action to recover from— not-so-apparent implications of a storm.   Read the article…………….

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A Practical Overview of the Condo Association Reserve Study

The Condo Association reserve study is perhaps the most boring document you can imagine. It is also one of the most important for your community. It is a foundational document for all of your financial planning as a community, and

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Assessing Your Building’s Energy Consumption: How Green Are You?

Most folks know that turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, taking shorter showers, and turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees can help save energy – and by extension, money. However, helping an entire building or association cut costs

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Green Cleaning: Keeping Your Condo or HOA Fresh – and Eco-Friendly

Cleaning products should, ideally, have one primary function: to make things less dirty. But once one delves deeper into the overall goal, things get more complicated. What makes something really clean? Does it just look shinier? Smell better? Or is

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A Look at Cogeneration: Is It for Your Building?

Many residential properties obtain their power from a local energy supplier. But in recent years, boards and managing agents have investigated, and in some cases, installed “cogeneration ” systems that allow properties to produce a portion of the energy they

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Improving Indoor Air Quality: What’s That Smell?

In multifamily buildings that hundreds —maybe even thousands—of people call home, it comes as no surprise that unpleasant smells can become an absolute nuisance. The airways that run through the building, the chutes and areas that house the building’s garbage,

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REAL ESTATE MATTERS: HOA’s actions raises red flags for home buyer

Q: My wife and I made an offer on a property in a self-managed Virginia community of single-family homes. Our offer hinged, in part, on the sales agent’s assurance that maintenance of the community’s private roads was totally covered by

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Weeding Out Your Yard

Nothing ruins a beautiful, well-manicured summer lawn like weeds. From those ugly ones that have thorn-like leaves to the tall, unsightly ones that demand to be seen, weeds are an equal opportunity annoyance. As an HOA board, it’s important to

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Community Associations’ Roles in Battling the Opioid Epidemic

The statistics are devastating: more than 100 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.[1] The rate of death from opioid addiction has skyrocketed over the last two decades, and drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and

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Hurricane Irma Take-Aways for Condo & Community Associations

Hurricane Irma Take-Aways for Community Associations 1 – Review and Update Insurance Policies. All insurance policies should be reviewed and updated as necessary, at least annually. Review dates should be calendared well in advance and incorporated into other annual must-do

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Three Tips to Help You Crack Down on Unenforced Rules

If you are the new manager of an HOA or a new leader in the board, it may have come to your attention that certain rules have been passed over or relaxed, lulling residents into a sense of complacency. HOAs

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Helpful Tips to Consider When Filing an Insurance Claim (FL)

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe after the storm with little to no damage to your property. Our thoughts remain with those whose homes and loved ones were impacted by Hurricane Irma. As local, state and

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Strata management could be hindered, not helped, by your business skills

You might think that all those skills you acquired climbing the corporate ladder and studying for your MBA make you the perfect candidate for your strata committee.  But while some attributes help in both fields, others have a downside that

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Being a Condo Association Board Mentor

You’ve done it. Several years – maybe even multiple terms – as a Condo Association Board member and you’re suddenly an accomplished veteran. You have multiple major projects under your belt, and you’ve improved your community – maybe by starting

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Hurricane Irma Hit – Now What? (FL)

We were just hit by the biggest storm in Florida’s history. Although there is damage, you are grateful everyone is safe and comforted by knowing that you have insurance. But, did you know that you are responsible to prevent additional

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In Heavily Flooded West Houston, a Neighborhood Comes Together to Save Itself (TX)

One of the first rescues was 120 pounds of wet, terrified Rhodesian ridgeback, wide-eyed and shaking on top of a kitchen counter. It was Sunday, August 27. A neighbor kid had been pet-sitting for the dog’s out-of-town owners, when he

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HOA Restriction Enforcement and Architectural Control for Boards

Your HOA has several restrictions set in place for the benefit of all of the residents within the neighborhood. This can include everything from the colors that houses in the community association can be painted to the types of structures

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The Benefits Of Homeowner Association Newsletters

Homeowner association newsletters are a great way to enlighten, inform, remind and encourage. Inviting the membership to HOA events and meetings helps neighbors meet neighbors. Frequent reminders of important rules or architectural policies helps build a friendlier and more harmonious

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Your Property Manager May Soon Be a Robot

The Jetsons, the titular nuclear family of a popular 1960s cartoon show, lived in Orbit City and had a robot maid named Rosie, a slightly obsolete blue machine that did a lot of the household grunt work and even dispensed

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Can a Special Assessment Be a Good Thing?

When you hear the word “special” you usually think of good things — special events, special features, special offers, special pricing, just to name a few. The word “special” generates feelings of anticipation and excitement. It’s even used in the

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Associations dealing with unique problems post Hurricane Irma

Thankfully Floridians heeded the call and evacuated where necessary and prepared one and all for the monstrous Hurricane Irma. While Irma was a lengthy and dangerous storm, the effects on Florida were not as devastating as had been feared. However,

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Rule Skirting and How to Avoid it in Your HOA

Let’s be honest – every HOA struggles with residents who skirt the rules. Sometimes it’s a one-time thing, and other times it’s chronic. No matter what rules are being broken, every HOA needs to address the issues without coming across

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How to make condo meetings fun again

Condo board directors attend a lot of meetings. Most condos have at least one board meeting a month and managers many more. During board meetings, directors make decisions that affect the entire condo community and property.   Read the article…………….

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Owner Participation at an Association Board Meeting – The Fine Art of Herding Cats

Here is part three of the on-going conversation about keeping order and control in association board meetings, and getting the business done. This time, the focus is on participation of members in an association board meeting.  In recent years, I

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Guidance for Working With FEMA for Debris Removal Following Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

As storm victims struggle to survive after the devastation and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey, the first thing individuals and community associations should do is register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Community association residents are most

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How to Handle Neighbor Disputes in Your Homeowners Association

You have two residents in your community who for whatever reason do not get along. Unfortunately they live right across the street from one another!  Your homeowners association manager receives phone calls and emails from these two weekly. Bill calls

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The Top 5 Things Your HOA Board Should Avoid

Being on the homeowners association board can be a difficult task at times due to the nature of the job. However, it’s possible to run a smooth board and community by avoiding the most common mishaps amongst board members.  

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4 Tips for a Successful HOA Board Meetings

When your board gets together, you want to be sure that you accomplish everything on the agenda and that as many voices are heard as possible. Whether you’re just getting started in your HOA or you’re concerned that your meetings

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Tips for Starting a Condo Association Newsletter

Communication is one of the most important aspects of a good community. Figuring out how you can effectively communicate, on the other hand, is a challenge. Starting a Condo Association newsletter is a great way for your community to convey

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Procedure Matters (WA)

One piece of advice we often give our community association boards is that the procedure used by an association to take any given action is often more susceptible to challenge than the action itself. In other words, how you do

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How a Strong HOA Reserve Fund Effects Home Prices!

Reserve contributions are often relegated to “what’s left” status in the budget process, regularly characterized by Board members and homeowners, as a problem for future owners. We’ve been challenging this way of thinking for over 30 years, and finally, there’s

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Four Ways Active Adult Communities Are Changing to Emphasize Lifestyle

Developers are taking note of the new demands placed by buyers in adult communities. Ten years ago the average buyer age was 72 years-old; now it is 62 years-old. With the younger age comes an expectation of services and amenities

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