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Canada: Realtor rallies disgruntled condo owners

While condominium owners love to moan and groan about the problems with the developments in which they live, getting them to join an industry consumer action group is like trying to pull teeth.  “We’ve been trying to have condo owners

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How to Attract HOA Volunteers

Perfume has been used for thousands of years to attract the object of its desire. Oh, that it were so easy to attract volunteers to a homeowner association’s board or committees. Just spritz some Eau de Volunteer in the air

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Colorado Springs HOA Has Unique Opportunity to Build Consensus and Community

Yesterday, the Denver Post ran a story entitled Rebuilding to test covenants after Colorado Springs wildfire. The story focuses on the Mountain Shadows Community Association which was devastated by the Waldo Canyon fire. The Post reports that 346 homes were

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Dealing with the Media

I have a Google Alert set up which gives me a daily report of internet posts and media coverage anytime an association is involved. I see, on average, 10-15 stories a day. As a result, planning for your association to

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Passing the Baton: Tips on Getting the Next Generation of Community Association Leaders Involved

Perhaps you’re tired of seeing the same old faces sitting up at the front of the room at board and membership meetings. Maybe you own one of those faces and are tired of being up there, waiting for reinforcements to

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Practices for Productive Leadership

Know what problem you are trying to solve. This sounds simple and it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people can run around, working on something, but have actually lost sight of the problem they set out to

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Essential HOA Professionals

The board of a homeowner association is charged with making informed decisions. To make informed decisions requires consulting with knowledgeable professionals when the topic exceeds the board’s experience. Professional relationships that every HOA board should have include an attorney, CPA

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Cultivating New Community Association Leaders, Part II

In the first part of this series, I left you with a question of whether or not your current association VP would step into the shoes of a departing President. The answer was a resounding “NO”. Other than general malaise, what

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What to Expect Following an Association Foreclosure Sale

Last month I explained the basics of an association judicial foreclosure through the time of the sheriff’s sale. In an ideal world, all foreclosures would result in a complete monetary recovery for an association and a new owner would timely

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Happy and Effective HOA Residents: Trait #3

When we delved into Trait #2, I mentioned that it’s not uncommon for residents of HOAs to react negatively to board decisions which affect their wallets and pocketbooks. Let’s face it – that’s just human nature. Trait #3 dovetails into

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Balancing Resident Experts’ Help with Your Paid Professionals’ Expertise

Co-op and condo boards have many “non-professional” professionals — lawyers, engineers, insurance agents, architects, teachers, designers, accountants and others who can tap into their work résumé to help expedite matters at your buildings. Savvy boards have learned to complement their

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Cultivating new community association leaders: Part I

I was asked to give a presentation this last weekend at the City of Orlando’s Community Conference. The topic I was asked to speak about was Cultivating New Organization Leaders. My initial reaction upon hearing the topic was “come again”;

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Suit Happens: But Disputes in Communities Can Be Resolved Without Legal Action

Imagine your own family, if you will —each person with his or her unique personality, attitude, experience and background. It’s inevitable that occasionally you might clash with sister Susie, brother Bob or even an uncle or an aunt. In an

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The Debate Rages On: Considering Building-wide Smoking Bans

Concern over health and an evolving legal landscape has prompted a number of  condo and co-op boards in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, as well as communities  across New England to ban cigarette smoking in individual smoking units. Read More……

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Building Community Online: Electronic Media Can Boost Association Communication

It’s hard to imagine how quickly technology has evolved during our lifetimes, and much of that change is a result of how much closer we’ve become—virtually, that is. Whether it’s finding cheap plane tickets, or a restaurant for a Saturday

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HOA Noise Ploys

Noise is a common complaint in common wall communities. That new and beautiful hardwood floor in Unit 2A is Unit 1A’s worse nightmare. Suddenly, a normally soft shoed neighbor sounds like a flamenco dancer at full crescendo. While new construction

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Creating Community in Planned Communities

Over the course of the last 50 years a ‘quiet revolution’ fostered by federal mortgage lending regulations has given rise to the creation of thousands of private community associations with the power to impose charges on members. In some areas,

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Happy and Effective HOA Residents: Trait #2

Yesterday I began posting a series of blog entries outlining traits of happy and effective residents in HOAs. While members of the boards of directors of HOAs certainly have a significant role in creating vibrant, healthy and livable communities  Read

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Rules of engagement key to effective meetings

Have you ever been in a meeting where things didn’t seem to go properly? Perhaps people cut each other off mid-sentence or a healthy dialogue struggled to get started? One way or another, it just lacked order and nothing seemed

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Happy and Effective HOA Residents: Trait #1

For those of you who follow our blog, you know that last spring I posted a series of blog entries outlining the Traits of Highly Effective HOA Directors. This popular series focused on those traits of HOA directors that contribute

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Guard yourself from lawsuits against your HOA

Your homeowners association, or HOA, could be sued because of its crime watch program. There are steps you can take to protect your HOA and your own pocketbook from a lawsuit.  Read More……

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Businesses different than HOA operations

Serving as a volunteer director is hard enough, but it often is made more difficult by directors themselves. The problem is not a lack of good will, good thinking or hard work, but a misunderstanding about the basic nature of

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Avoiding the appearance of self interest as an association director

A reader of my blog recently wrote to discuss a situation in her community where the interests of the membership came second to the interests of some board members. The reader wrote that the community had been polled and the

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What is “Reasonable”?

Reasonable is a term that is used a lot in the world of homeowner associations. It is a term that can have different meanings depending on who is interpreting the term and in what context the term is being used.

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Cities are going bankrupt because they didn’t project their funding needs into the future—will community associations be next?

An assumption of a building component’s “infinite life” is permissible under most states’ statutory reserve requirements. Only those components that are visible and accessible are required to be studied, the rest are assumed to have an infinite service life unless

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Preventing a Condominium Renovation Nightmare

Has this ever happened at your condominium? You’re on the Board of Directors. The building has not been painted in 20 years and could definitely use some restoration. You realize that a special assessment is going to have to be

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“YAY! I’m on the Board!” or, “OMG, What Did I Get Myself Into?”

Boards serve a necessary function in any corporation, and especially within a homeowners association. It would be impossible for an association to function without one. In an association, the buck ultimately stops with the board. The board is elected by

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More Momentum for Smoke-Free Co-ops and Condos, with Help from HUD

Hate dealing with secondhand smoke in your co-op or condominium? As an attorney I often hear complaints from co-op board and condo association members about the extra costs incurred as a result of heavy smokers. Staff sweep up cigarette butts

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Gaining support for your association’s budget

Yikes! The board studied the bids, crunched the numbers and scratched its collective head. There’s no way around it. Monthly dues at your community association are going up 30 percent in 2013. Illinois law allows owners in condominium and homeowner

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Dangerous Dogs List – HOAs Take Heed

Pets That Are a Nuisance; Dogs That Are Uninsurable – Beware! I don’t like to pick on dogs – I love animals – well behaved animals that is. Pets that are allowed to become a nuisance should trot their owners

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HOA Hosted Public Events: ADA Compliance Required?

Asked – Does hosting a public bingo game at our association’s clubhouse expose the association to any liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Read More……

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The Debate Rages On: Establishing a Building-wide Smoking Ban

Concern over health, the environment, and an evolving legal landscape has prompted a number of condo and co-op boards in communities across New Jersey to ban cigarette smoking not only in common outdoor areas but in individual units. This restriction

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What’s Going On In There?

What is the proper role of your community association and its board of directors when it is suspected that there may be something illegal going on inside an owner’s unit? For instance, a neighbor may believe he smells marijuana smoke

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FHA Announces New Procedures to Account for Condos & HOAs

FHA issued a new Mortgagee Letter last week. It requires foreclosing lenders torecognize and communicate with a community association, especially if the association already liened the property. Read More……

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Effective Collection Tactics for Associations Against Owners Who File for Bankruptcy

Associations have been contending with unit owners who file for personal bankruptcy protection in greater numbers since the start of the economic crisis. In response to a unit owner bankruptcy, and in an effort to preserve and protect the rights

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Condo Boards Take a Stand on Delinquencies

A SUCCESSFUL condominium depends, in large part, on owners’ paying their monthly fees promptly and in full. Delinquencies can mean less money for maintenance and amenities — and draw the ill will of fellow residents. While the sheer size of

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What Should be on Your Agenda

Planning and conducting an effective board meeting starts with a good meeting agenda. The agenda is the “road map” of the meeting and is a useful and powerful tool to keep both board members and homeowners on topic and in

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HOA Insurance Victimization

An oft repeated scenario in common wall communities is water damage which originates from a neighboring unit. Whether a broken pipe or washing machine hose, surf’s up! and usually between midnight and 4 am (disasters are funny that way).  Read

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A Reporter Calls: Part 2

I talk to reporters almost every day, and one thing is clear: Many of the most negative stories we see are generated by homeowners who have turned to the media for public redress of their personal grievances—valid or not. Reporters

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A Reporter Calls: Part 1

First things first: Get the full name of the reporter and get his or her phone number and e-mail address. Make sure you identify the news outlet. Be friendly and respectful. Don’t convey a tone that indicates defensiveness, anger or

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The Trayvon Martin Case: The Liability of Community Associations for a “Neighborhood Watch”

The tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is a vivid reminder to community associations that neighborhood watch programs, while intended to protect the community with the best of intentions, may also create major risks. Read More……

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Condo Talk: Basic guide to unit owner bankruptcies

The filing of a bankruptcy petition by a unit owner can have a harmful impact on the association’s cash flow. When a bankruptcy petition is filed by a unit owner, an automatic stay goes into effect. The stay prohibits creditors,

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Court Decisions on Pit Bulls Could Make More Community Associations Growl at Dog Owners

Ask condominium managers and trustees about the major headaches in their communities, and pets will invariably be at or near the top of the lists they create. Many issues engender strong feelings in the condominium world, but few equal the

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The Battle With Homeowners Associations

Congratulations! You’ve just bought a new house in a great neighbourhood and you’re ready to move in. A signed contract together with all the necessary documents is resting in your briefcase. Is there anything that can disturb your happiness? Many

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Committees: Delegating Board Authority to Achieve Efficiency

The 2012 amendments to the “Common Interest Development Open Meeting Act” have made it significantly more difficult for Boards to manage the affairs of their HOAs in a quick and efficient manner. Those amendments, as discussed in our previous resource,”Senate

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Termites, Business Judgment Rule and Second Guessing Boards of Directors

Resulting in one of the most important common interest development cases decided by the California Supreme Court, Mrs. Gertrude Lamden disagreed with her homeowners association’s board’s decision to address a terminate problem by spot treating the affected areas rather than

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Helpful hints for condo and HOA members

What Dave Biemel finds most gratifying about serving on the board of directors of Arielle Condominium Association in Palmer Ranch is the feeling of accomplishment in “getting stuff done that didn’t seem like it was getting done before.”     Read

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