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Can Associations Referee Neighbor vs. Neighbor Battles?

As anyone who lives in a condominium community can attest, things aren’t always so neighborly between residents that live within earshot of one another. Disputes occur for any number of reasons—from noise issues to malodorous complaints. When neighbors square off,

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What does “sober houses” and “trick or treating” for Halloween have to do with HOA governance and enforcement?

Earlier in the year I posted information about the impact of FHA issues on enforcement of HOA covenants and restrictions. I thought about the far reaching impact of Fair Housing Laws after a colleague raised the issue of whether a

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Funding for Homeowner Association HOA Capital Improvement Projects. What are the choices?

For the vast majority of Homeowner Associations HOA in America, capital improvement needs nearly always outpace the financial resources available to fund such projects. For many, Capital Improvements, Reserve Studies, Reserve Allocations, Annual Assessment Increases, and Special Assessments all send

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Time for IRS Form 1120 Filers to Make the Revenue Ruling 70-604 Election

If your association files Form 1120 for its federal tax return, as opposed to Form 1120-H, do not forget to make your annual Revenue Ruling 70-604 election. It is most effective to make this election at the annual meeting. Revenue

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$100 million Manhattan condos are sending draconian co-ops packing

The toniest of Manhattan co-ops have become the victims of their own extreme exclusivity. High time they learnt something from the more open-minded luxury condominium market, says Josh Spero   Read more…….

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Is Your Senior Housing Community Legal?

The news is full of reports about the enormous rise in the senior population as baby boomers begin to reach retirement age. The population of seniors is projected to grow at a faster rate than the total population of the

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Do you know what Air Bed & Breakfast is and how it might impact your community?

There is a relatively new concept in housing, however, that doesn’t require swapping an entire residence and it is gaining traction quickly as a way for people to earn a little extra money by renting out a room or rooms

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Conflicts of Interest on Community Association Boards

The board of directors of an association must be aware of the potential for a conflict of interest at all times. This can be an especially difficult issue for directors to navigate, no matter whether the board members are appointed

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HOA Project Roll-out

Winter is the time of year that a homeowner association board should be soliciting and reviewing proposals for fair weather renovation projects like painting, fencing, pool replastering, asphalt sealing and roofing. There are several practical reasons for starting the process

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Revising your Rules and Regs? Keep it Simple!

Often associations review their rules when they want to make some change or addition, but it is best to review all the rules at least every 5 years because a few things do change periodically in the make-up and needs

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Can Your Condo Association Be Sued For Failure to Obtain FHA Certification? Maybe! Be Sure To Document The Board’s Decision

We are often asked if a condo or homeowners association is required to obtain FHA certification. And unless the CC&Rs make such a requirement (most do not), we generally respond with a resounding “NO!” But what has not been considered,

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The $100,000 Cleaning Bill: A Condo Board’s Long Fight with a Hoarder

How much is your cleaning bill? It’s probably not $100,000. Yet that’s the final figure after the condo board of The Alfred, a 219-unit building 161 W. 61st Street in Manhattan, added fines, unpaid common charges and interest after billing

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Smoking Bans Being Enacted in Condominium Associations

Smokers, beware! “The times, they are a-changing.” If your next door neighbor in your condominium association cooks his native food which creates an objectionable odor, will your condo board of directors be required to take any action against that neighbor?

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The Delinquent HOA Owner Filed a Chapter 7 – Is it an “Asset” Bankruptcy or a “No Asset” Bankruptcy?

As you likely know, there are different types of bankruptcies that an individual can file. Typically, we see delinquent owners file either a Chapter 13 bankruptcy seeking to readjust their debts, or a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where the owner is

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Condominium Community Gets into Solar Hot Water

In the past, solar and condos have not had a good relationship because many condominium associations veto the installation of any type of solar. But in Maryland (US) the Greenbriar Condominiums is a unique community in that it has a

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Protecting Owners’ Confidential Information

Community association directors and their managers are required to maintain records identifying the people living in their associations. Typically they also keep contact information for the owners, including both listed and unlisted telephone numbers and email addresses that are not

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Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (FHA Report and Guidelines)

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires housing providers, including HOAs, to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices or services to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.

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Dealing With the Disruptive: How to Handle Problem Residents

The vast majority of condo and HOA residents are regular folks who wouldn’t dream of disrupting life in their community by harassing their neighbors, bombarding their board and manager with endless complaints and threats, or filing lawsuits at the drop

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Meeting Minders: A Guide to Running Better Meetings

You may love your building. You may even love your neighbors and the members of your board. But there are few people who can say that they love their monthly board meetings or annual owner or shareholder meetings.     Read

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Homeowner Associations and Their Budgets

Many homeowner associations find it difficult to hold the line on expenses. Inflation erodes endlessly increasing budgets and members scream for relief. But help is on the way. There are practical ways to reduce costs without cutting services. The HOA’s

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Welcome to Your New Lifestyle

Moving can often leave people exhausted and unfamiliar with their new surroundings. Those early days provide a golden opportunity for a Welcome Committee to establish a relationship that will be lasting and rewarding for both the new homeowners and the

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Getting a charge out of your homeowners association

The state has turned to tax incentives, grants, and new laws to facilitate the development of the new charging system. And, while new laws and incentives are helping make the charging infrastructure a reality, legislation, like Civil Code section 1353.9

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You vs. the HOA

Typical HOA disputes in the State of Florida fall into two categories: 1) Unpaid assessments, often with a lien and/or foreclosure by the HOA 2) Covenant violation disputes, with or without fines, which can be a lien and/or foreclosure *****

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Investor-owned homes often fall into disrepair as rental properties

The nation’s housing meltdown became a nightmare for the millions of Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure. But that same downturn has been a bonanza for institutional investors. Backed by venture capitalists, they swooped in and scooped up scores

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Homeowners Association Tips: Noise Disputes

One of the most persistent and difficult issues landlords, managers and community associations must face are noise disputes. They can be quite difficult to resolve since they cause much unrest and issues with the people involved. If the association acts

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Professional CAM Budgeting: Finding the Right Contractors (Free RFP Template)

It’s hard to put together an accurate community budget for the new fiscal year without getting proposals for the recurring services that are the responsibility of the community. As a general rule, August or September is the right time to

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Condos Use DNA to Track Down Dogs

How to handle poop – particularly pet poop – is becoming a growing problem for community associations. Owners are always required to pick up after their dog, and many associations actually provide free “poop bags” to assist in this clean

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Evaluating Green Communities

So you’re buying a new home, and you’re committed to “buying green” — a house with good indoor air quality, that doesn’t cost a fortune to heat and cool, is efficient in the use of water, and it resides in

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Just One Big, Happy Family…? Remedies for Dysfunctional Boards

Finding the right balance of involvement between HOAs and condo boards and residents can be like maintaining a healthy relationship with a significant other—you want to be compassionate, responsive and attentive, but not too needy, nosy or aggressive.   Read more…….

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Barking Dog Disturbances – What Can You Do?

I did a blog recently on noise and how it can add stress to a person’s life. I recently had reason to look into barking dogs and the issues that arise among neighbors, and it’s not about dog owners vs.

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HOA Wellness Survey

The health of a homeowner association is important to measure from time to time. Fortunately, even poor health is curable but identifying the problem precedes the cure. Here are a series of self-diagnosis questions to help you out:     Read

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Condo, co-op boards face tough post-Sandy funding choices

Condominium and co-op boards faced an uphill struggle in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but now they are dealing with even dicier questions. The big question is whether to direct funds towards protecting against future storms or making aesthetic

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High & Mighty: When Boards Go Overboard

There’s nothing worse than being a unit owner in a building and seeing someone on your board breaking a rule and seemingly getting away with it.     Read more…..

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Just One Big, Happy Family…? Remedies for Dysfunctional Boards

Finding the right balance of involvement between HOAs and condo boards and residents can be like maintaining a healthy relationship with a significant other—you want to be compassionate, responsive and attentive, but not too needy, nosy or aggressive.   Read more……

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Rules on Records: Importance of Good Record-Keeping

It’s no secret that helping to run a board of directors or board of trustees for a condo association is a thankless task. There are a lot of issues to take care of, and board members are strictly volunteers  

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Just a Minute! Keeping Good Association Minutes Can Avoid Problems Later

In Bolton, Massachusetts, a condo resident owned a truck with commercial license plates and, when it wasn’t in use, he wanted to park it on the property. The previous board gave him approval to do so, but when it came

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Why So Many Dams In Texas Are in Bad Condition

A 3-part story about a state investigation into one part of it’s infrastructure.  This could be any state. “We have a lot of people call us and say ‘we want to fix this. But we have no money to do

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Have you ever been the victim of a crime in your community association?

I live in a community which has both a wall and a manned guard gate as well as video cameras at our entrance. Still, we have not been without security incidences over the years but most of those were related

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HOA Seasonal Issues: Measures for Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents

With winter just around the corner, HOA communities must start preparing for one of the most dangerous seasonal issues: slick surfaces in common areas such as sidewalks and entryways to community buildings. Slip and fall lawsuits are some of the

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There’s no witness protection program in community associations

Before seeking to enforce rule violations, the board must insist that complaints be submitted in writing and contain the date, signature, address, and phone number of the person filing the complaint. Implementing this type of policy for complaints serves several

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Tips on building a better budget for 2014

As summer turns into fall, community association boards and finance committees start working on their budgets for the year ahead. Their challenge is to balance the association’s needs and responsibilities with owner resistance to assessment increases.  Read more……

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Keeping Your Board Together – End of Year Checklist

It is a familiar scene. Something happens between Board members causing distrust, scrutiny and even rebellion. As community leaders and as fiduciaries, Board members have an obligation to each other and to their communities to set aside differences that might

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Shocking revelation that many developers retain mineral, oil and other underground rights

Recently, several buyers in the Valencia Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida were shocked to learn that their developer, D.R. Horton, had retained the rights to extract minerals, oils and other resources on their lots and under their homes.

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Greasing the HOA Wheels

Money is the grease that oils the homeowner association’s wheels. Without it, HOA business screeches to a grinding halt. Without money, bills go unpaid, needed repairs are delayed, property values fall and tempers rise. In most HOA budgets, there is

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The Mailbox Rule

Homeowners often claim that they did not receive notice of their delinquency from the Association. Sometimes this assertion comes up after the Association files suit against the homeowner. Fortunately, the “Mailbox Rule” can allow the Association to overcome this allegation.

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HOAs: To Reserve or Not to Reserve? (FL)

Many homeowner associations’ boards of directors find themselves working on their association budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. A good deal of those budgets will include line items for the funding of unforeseen contingencies. In some instances, the directors preparing

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What should be included in HOA board minutes?

Q. What should be included in the minutes of a board meeting? Does every item on the agenda have to be addressed in the minutes?   Read more…….

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Budgets…

For many community associations and managers, budget season is in full swing. At the same time, our government is currently shut-down because a budget hasn’t been passed to fund it. I sincerely hope that that your associations manage their budgets

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The Single Most Important Event in the HOA Is…

I lived in a gated community for 26 years of my life. My parents and 2 siblings still live in the same subdivision in Las Piñas City. When my family visited the subdivision last week, I learned that they will

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Aging In Place: How Co-ops and Condos Can Address Their Aging Communities

When we think of the challenges of overseeing co-ops and condominium associations, we might think of late payments and aggressive pets. But another challenge has been waiting in the wings: the aging of America’s baby-boomer generation, many of whom are

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