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Understanding CPA Service Levels: Compilation, Review and Audit. A Primer.

The controlling documents of most co-ops and condominium associations outline the requirement for the preparation of your financial statements. In addition, several states have minimum financial statement requirements. It’s important for boards to understand that there are different levels to

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6 Tips to Help Maintain a Positive Perspective in Your Homeowners Association

Among homeowners association managers within our company, we have made training an emphasis. We attend conferences, seminars, classes, etc., so that we cannot only be certified but also continue to gain skills and knowledge to help us do our job

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Economics and Emergencies Are Pressuring and Perplexing Age-restricted Condominium Communities

The marketing brochure for an “age-restricted” condominium development shows a group of smiling, active seniors obviously enjoying the amenities in a community designed for and limited to people their age. There is no hint of bitter battles like the one

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Community Leadership…

Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task“.  Read More……

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Recording Meetings – Should We or Should We Not?

Does your Board record its meetings, either with audio recordings or video recordings? Do you allow members who are present to record meetings? Do you know? Do you care?  Read More……

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Best Practices for Texts, Emails & Speeches

Communications is an important tool often underutilized. Many of us in our day-to-day processing of tasks seem to think that the person(s) we are communicating with, whether it is through email, phone conversation or letter, understands the message. But in

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Crisis Communications: Managing Corporate Reputation in the Court of Public Opinion

A crisis is the ultimate unplanned activity and the ultimate test for managers. In a time of crisis, conventional management practices are inadequate and ways of responding usually insufficient. This author, a communications practitioner with global experience, details a well-managed

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First-Person Narrative: Slimed and Slandered When Running for the Board

I’ve written about co-op and condo board matters for a dozen years. I served two years on a co-op board on the Upper West Side, and recently spent a year as board vice president at my current condo — which,

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The key to safety in a condo fire? Be prepared

Do you know what to do if there’s a fire in your condo? Though there are codes to ensure buildings are constructed to a high standard of safety, there are other things you can do as a condo resident to

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Deferring Repairs? Choose Wisely!

A Boardmember recently asked what defines “too far” with respect to choosing to do a Reserve project on time or to defer the project. When does deferred repairs get to the point of the Board dangerously incurring liability and financial

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‘Yes You Can’ Restrict Condominium Rentals but Beware Unintended Consequences

Like the garden perennials that bloom in spring and fall, some condominium issues surface repeatedly, if not seasonally. How to deal with rentals is one of them. The triggers that make this an agenda item (problems with renters, economic conditions,

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Welcome and wisdom to new condo directors

Dear New Board Member(s): I wish to extend my congratulations and gratitude for accepting what is a major responsibility, that is, serving on the board. The purpose of my letter is to offer some words based upon my own experience

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Protect the HOA / Condominium Operating and Reserve Accounts

I know anyone that has any affiliation with an HOA or Homeowners Association has heard of someone stealing or trying to steal money from the Community. The scams are often as simple as writing a check to themselves, either as

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Annual Insurance Coverage Self-Evaluation

While we can anticipate certain risks that our communities are likely to face, and set aside reserves to cover the situation when the risk becomes reality, we still must rely on insurance as an essential risk management tool. What we can do to lessen

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Annual check-up for community associations

We are often told that, at a minimum, an annual physical is needed to ensure that we are in optimum health. The same school of thought holds true for a community association. Let things go untended for too long and

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Maintain Your Common Areas – Or Else

Cities have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to keep sidewalks in reasonably safe condition. Cities must have actual or constructive notice of an unsafe sidewalk condition and a reasonable opportunity to correct it before they can be found

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Well, you can’t say Horse Ranch sign V.3 is writing on the wall

I know a lot of you have been anxious lately. You saw the crane. You smelled the construction dust, heard the drills and hammers, and saw the hard-hatted, steel-toed workers scurrying about. You even might have been caught in the

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5 ways communities persuade dog owners to pick up poo

In 2010, the problem of dog excrement was one of America’s biggest gripes, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. But despite posted signs, HOA regulations and looks of disapproval from passersby, some dog owners just don’t clean up after

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Common HOA Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them

I am constantly amazed by the ingenuity of the solutions HOA boards come up with to the difficult situations they face. Faced with tight budgets, demanding residents, and difficult personalities, the obvious answers often don’t work. Sometimes, though, we get

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Effective Collection Techniques within Your Association

The success of an association, in large part, depends on its fiscal wellbeing. Associations rely on its members to pay their dues in order to ensure maintenance of all the common areas that owners not only enjoy, but that increase

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50 ways to reduce water consumption

1) When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.  2)Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading

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How to Tame a Rogue Condo Board Member

Have you ever dealt with a bullying or disruptive board member? Sometimes referred to as a “rogue”, this director can arise almost unsuspectingly, wreaking havoc on board meetings and threatening the effective and efficient business of your condo corporation. Sound

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Education a building block for boards

A new educational program is training board members for community associations and encouraging future ones to serve. Those who successfully meet all the requirements will earn recognition as dedicated community association leaders from the Community Associations Institute of Illinois.  Read

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Condo Scene: Keeping safe in a condo fire

Do you know what to do if there’s a fire in your condo? Though there are codes to ensure buildings are constructed to a high standard of safety, there are other things you can do as a condo resident to

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Understanding CPA Service Levels – Compilation, Review and Audit

The By-laws, CC&R’s or other controlling documents of most community associations delineate the requirement for preparation of financial statements of the Association. In addition, several states have minimum financial statement requirements.    Read More……

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‘Flag you!’ – and other 4-letter covenant enforcement words

For HOAs, covenant enforcements can be one of the most unpleasant things to deal with. After all, who really looks forward to telling residents they can’t display a flag they are passionate about?  Read More……

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Reserve Component Failure Modes – Replace Them on Schedule or Not?

When something fails, it fails, and you replace it. Right? Well… sometimes, sometimes not. A leaking roof has clearly failed. But when do you decide that the old (ugly) gold shag carpet and beaded doorway in the clubhouse has “failed”?

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HOA Advice: Stay Ahead of the Curve

Deferring maintenance in a homeowner association has negative and lasting effects. While postponing maintenance may seem to be a money-saving technique, the consequences are usually a much higher cost over time.  Read More……

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What’s the Deal With Special Assessments?

Q. I am a first-time home buyer. I was looking to buy a condo for $167,000, until I discovered there was a special assessment for $13,000. I don’t know what this is for. Is it paid through my monthly fees

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Using Better Communications to Attract Community Leaders

Excellent community governance is the difference between a good community and a great one. Poor community governance can lead to the downfall or outright collapse of a community association. Finding and keeping qualified and interested volunteers within your community is

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The Rise of Homeowners’ Associations and Changing Neighborhood Governance in Urban China

Housing reform is one important part of China’s economic reform towards a market economy. Housing in China was once regarded as public welfare, and was provided to employees by public bodies, such as government agencies, state-owned enterprises and large collective-owned

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New Solar Guide Could Tap 3.3GW Potential Of HOA Communities

Homeowner associations (HOAs) are often the bane of people’s lives, governing community appearance and deciding what improvements people can make to their home exteriors – from garden gnomes to solar panels.  Read More…..    Read Guide…..PDF

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HOA Covenants for Sustainability

Over the past 25 years, the homeowners association (HOA) in America has become the great enforcer of suburban values and aesthetics. In community after community with covenants, the HOA has the final say on everything from whether owners can change

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Know your rights under the Fair Housing Act before you sue

A recent Virginia case involving the U.S. Fair Housing Act is a cautionary tale for disabled people suing their homeowners associations for accommodations and for the associations fighting the disputes. Because both sides made mistakes, neither can claim a complete

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Fire Safety- What are we looking at? (One associations way of explaining to owners)

Here are some photos to help you distinguish the fire system components in our building. The smoke alarm system: There are at least four in each unit. When one detects smoke, all will sound. The button is for testing.  Read

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Dealing with Unruly Homeowners at Board Meetings

What a touchy topic!! I have been on both sides of this issue — as the homeowner and as the attorney representing the association. Maybe I have too much leftover pixie dust, but I believe these situations can be resolved

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HOA and Community Association Tax Returns – Think you don’t need to file an annual tax return? Think again!

When meeting with a community association client (homeowner association, condo association, etc.), one of the first questions I ask is whether they’ve filed a tax return this year. Too often, the answer is no. Unfortunately, that’s the wrong answer. I

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New Solar Guide for Homeowners Associations

The guide, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Encouraging Solar Development through Community Association Policies and Processes, helps HOA-governed communities overcome administrative roadblocks to pursuing solar energy. In a climate where the process for obtaining HOA approval for solar is too complex,

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Catching Up: Chasing delinquent owners? Follow these leads

Community association leaders should be prepared to give no quarter when one of their neighbors falls behind in paying assessments, says attorney William Ward of Stamford, Conn.   Read More……PDF

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What’s the Worst Thing A Board Can Do When an Owner Questions What is Happening?

I see this a lot. An owner has complained, maybe again and again and again, has asked for records, maybe has made threats of some kind. A lot of this kind of activity is bred by frustration – which often comes

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You HAVE a Privacy Policy — It’s Just Not Written Down. That’s Dangerous.

Sure, your doorman probably isn’t gossiping about the people you’re dating. And sure, that fellow co-op board member who wants you out isn’t looking through security-camera footage to prove you’re not cleaning up after your dog. And, surely, you as

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Communicating the Message of Membership Value

As board members, you know the value of having a greater understanding of what the association is responsible for, how it manages its assets and who the contractors are that assist in making the corporation function.  Read More……PDF

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Fires in California and New Mexico underscore need for preparation before the smoke

A community called Burnt Ranch within Trinity County is working towards becoming recognized under the Firewise Communities/USA program. The recognition program enables communities to assess their risks, prioritize an action plan, host a Firewise educational outreach event and take active

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Is Your Condo Or HOA Parking Lot A Breeding Ground For Lawsuits

The Daily Journal, a newspaper for attorneys, reports weekly on various verdicts and settlements. I read those reports as it keeps me up on what kind of cases are being filed and what kind of verdicts and settlements are being

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Parkside HOA members to vote on Waldo Canyon fire-repair payments

In terms of real estate, the Waldo Canyon fire of 2012 was the most costly fire in the history of Colorado, with hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims and the destruction of hundreds of homes.   Read More……

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HOAs: What You Need To Know About Rules

Lobbying for change in your homeowners association’s rules requires procedure, compromise, and perhaps joining the board.  Read More……

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Five Steps to Becoming a More Effective Board Member

Being a volunteer board member can sometimes be stressful and time consuming, but before you decide to throw in the towel and never look back, make sure you aren’t the one getting in your own way! Here are a few

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Reducing the Risk of Break-ins While Away on Summer Vacation

Hopefully, an owner within your association will never have the misfortune to be a victim of a burglary. Burglaries not only result in damage to the home, but more importantly, result in the loss of peace of mind. Criminals everywhere

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Association’s obligations when unit owner dies

When an owner in a community association dies, the board and management face dual concerns. One is showing compassion to the deceased’s family and friends during their time of distress. The other is making sure that assessments continue to be

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Advantages and Challenges of Internet Communications in Community Associations

Whether it takes the form of well written letters, memos, emails, or even an old-fashioned conversation, the ability to communicate effectively is often the difference between having an impact on your audience and having your message simply fall upon deaf

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