Condo & HOA Articles

Back to homepage

Clear Dog Policies Help to Avoid Disputes, Confusion for Community Associations

Doggie disputes are a common issue for many owners and board members in South Florida condominium communities. In today’s housing market, many people who were previously living in a single-family home are now finding themselves living in condominiums or deed-restricted

Read More

Doing Good in the Community

HOA Food Drive – The Homeowners Association of the Historic Westmoreland Neighborhood in Toledo, OH held a holiday home tour and food drive this past weekend. Homeowners welcomed neighbors and tourists into their homes to admire the architecture and decorations.

Read More

How loud is too loud in your condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association?

Last night I attended the Aerosmith concert at the BB&T Center with my husband and some friends. In addition to being amazed that this group, and particularly its lead singer, is still rocking as strongly as ever, I left with

Read More

Let it Snow? Who Should Remove Snow and Ice?

Most Property Managers dread the “snow days.” It takes a lot of effort to coordinate your snow removal vendors, especially if there is a continual downpour of the white stuff and it keeps accumulating. Questions arise such as “how often

Read More

Strategic Planning for the New Year

We all know that it is easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and “emergencies” that command so much of our time. But we also know that, every once in awhile, it is a good idea to take a

Read More

Meeting Moment–Amending Minutes

The first action item on most owners’ meeting agendas is approving the minutes of the last owners’ meeting. Let’s say that — as usual — you have an ambitious agenda, with many action items and a limited time in which

Read More

Foreclosure Trends

“A new trend has surfaced as a result of numerous homeowner associations being fed up with late dues and maintenance bills largely in part to delinquent owners” writes Timothy Kingcade, “the number of HOA foreclosures is climbing as homeowner association

Read More

Is Your Association Prepared for Natural Disasters?

Natural disasters come in many shapes and sizes. It could be a tornado, a flood, Superstorm Sandy, or a wildfire. Regardless of the type of disaster, the devastation and loss is often overwhelming. Nothing can fully prepare someone to handle

Read More

The Quiet Rise of the Much-Maligned Condo

Junius Henri Browne bought one of the original flats in the Rembrandt, an eight-unit apartment building on West 57th Street in Manhattan that opened, in 1881, marking what we’d think of today as the country’s very first condo. The apartments

Read More

Attention Renters: Welcome to the Neighborhood

If you rent a home in our community, you’re part of our community association, and we welcome you. We’d like to meet you at our community events, meetings, and social gatherings.    Read More……

Read More

Is your Condo or HOA board hiding its light under a bushel?

At every one of our Board Member Boot Camps, I ask those board members in attendance whether they advised their members that they were spending the better part of their Saturday at an intensive board member training session. In a

Read More

Snow Removal in Community Associations

From Thanksgiving until the end of winter (and sometimes even later), snow may fall in area community associations and create issues of safety and parking that can escalate and become dangerous. The biggest concern and perhaps the biggest complaint that

Read More

Holiday Decorations in Community Associations

Every year as the holidays approach, community association owners and renters become passionate about two issues: decorations and snow removal. With some forethought, boards of directors and managers can avoid conflict and liability around these issues.  Read More……

Read More

Rules for the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner, and for many people, that means lots of festivities with friends and loved ones. With all of the merriment that’s sure to ensue, it’s important that residents who are hosting celebrations are not

Read More

Funding a big capital improvement project

Let’s say your 120-unit community association next year is facing a huge capital expenditure that includes new roofs and siding. The bill is expected to run more than $600,000. How will you pay for it? Good question. Ideally, you have

Read More

Survival Steps: How The Albert Co-op Weathered Hurricane Sandy (video)

Fred Rudd, manager of The Albert, discusses how the cooperative’s advance emergency planning helped the residents cope with an eight-day blackout in the wake of the devastating hurricane that hit New York last month. More storm reports from New York-area

Read More

Working with an HOA Lawyer Part II: Duties and Responsibilities

Coordinating with a Texas HOA/COA lawyer can be tricky.  Keeping costs down is a great goal, but board members often forget that they also have a duty to the members to make sure that things are done correctly, and that

Read More

Survivor: Condo Association Edition

“Survivor: Condo Association Edition,” describes the steps homeowners associations may take to lawfully remove a board member from office. The article playfully uses the reality TV show “Survivor” as an analogy to show how a “tribe” (homeowners association) may occasionally

Read More

Drones: A Controversial Eye in the Sky for Property Managers

Ashley Halligan writes: “The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, passed earlier this year, will authorize funds exceeding $60 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through 2015. The bill, intended to accelerate modernization in U.S. aviation, includes

Read More

How much do you really want to know about what is going on in the condo unit or home next door?

Ironman III, Magic City, Burn Notice and The Real Housewives of Miami were all shot in Miami Beach properties. Other Florida cities have similarly been the stage for both big and small screen entertainment. Ask some of the neighbors living

Read More

Battling Bully Board Members and Homeowners

You’ve seen them (and felt your anxiety level rising). The homeowner who takes four “guest only” parking spots for his cars. The board president who goes on a vendetta by holding secret meetings, making unapproved purchases and breaking confidentiality rules.

Read More

Steps that should be taken to protect a community association’s funds

When property management companies go out of business, they can leave behind trails of unpaid bills and large losses from community associations’ reserve and operating accounts. There are many ways to protect your association funds.  Read More……

Read More

The Insurance Puzzle – What Boards Must DO and Must AVOID

A key obligation of the association board is to protect the assets of the association. One of the primary elements of this responsibility is insurance, but many volunteer board members have limited experience with insurance. They’re only familiar with purchasing

Read More

How to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

It is important for boards of directors to be aware that conflicts of interest or dualities of interest sometime occur in the course of conducting the business affairs of the homeowner association. The appearance of same can be troublesome –

Read More

The Benefits of Being on the Board

Many co-op and condo owners want to get involved in their community but they soon find out that being on the board is no picnic. Soon neighbors are pestering them asking for feuds to be settled, decisions that affect all

Read More

When Owners Don’t Pay: HOA Boards Struggle to Make Ends Meet

Nothing remained in the New Jersey townhome after the owner, exasperated and struggling, financially picked up and left. And took everything with him. “Not only did he walk away, but he gutted his house,” says Joseph J. Balzamo, a president

Read More

Getting Out the Vote: Holding Fair Elections

When it comes to running board elections in a condo or co-op community, the biggest concern among those involved is making sure the elections are fair and balanced and nobody has a reason to cry foul. Elections can be heated

Read More

Electronic Communication (Emails) Are Discoverable in Litigation

Our firm philosophy has long been “Communication not Litigation.” This philosophy is based on the belief that disputes are best resolved in a voluntary and reasonable manner rather than through the time, expense and aggravation of a lawsuit. Recent developments

Read More

Checking the financial health of HOAs

One of the causalities of the real estate downturn has been the condominium homeowners association. No one could predict five years ago when condos were selling like hot cakes that loose lending and rampant speculation would wreak havoc on a building’s

Read More

Fiduciary Duty: What Boards & Residesnts Should Know

Being elected to the board of directors of a co-op or condo comes with a great deal of power, and with that power also comes a great deal of responsibility. Whether they serve a co-op or condo community, board members,

Read More

‘Redemption’ from Uncollected Debt

Last week Gina Botti blogged about the importance of properly recording an association assessment lien. Although CCIOA states that a lien is ‘perfected’ or in place upon the recording of the association’s Declaration, it is still important to prepare and

Read More

Association Safeguards: A 12-Step Program to Protect You and Your Association

This article addresses those key affirmative steps a board, on behalf of the association, should take in order to protect the association. Although the needs of every community are inherently different, the following steps are applicable to every association and

Read More

Hurricane Sandy – Special Issue of Coastal Condo News

Coastal Condo News offers a special issue with information of value to condo boards and associations as they face repairs and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Sandy Read More……

Read More

Private Loans from Co-op / Condo Reserves: Good Idea? Oh, no, no, no, no

A board member wished to borrow a portion of the reserve fund for a personal business transaction. He agreed to (a) pay seven percent interest on the money, (b) repay the money within 30 days of a demand by the

Read More

10 Ways to Make Your Community Association Thrive

Rather than skip around the issue, we decided to tell you straight up some our our observations that can help your association thrive. So this may post may sound like a lecture but it’s really meant to be a resource

Read More

Components of an Enforceable Rule

What makes a rule enforceable? An enforceable rule meets the requirements of the law and governing documents. What makes an enforceable rule a good rule? A good rule meets the needs and requirements of the community. When writing rules, boards

Read More

Make Sure to Vote – At Your HOA Annual Meeting!

If you are like me, election day couldn’t come soon enough. While I’m truly a political junkie, the negative campaigning became so overwhelming that even I muted the TV during commercials and we quit answering the incessant political calls. While

Read More

Political Yard Signs: When Your HOA Can Tell You to Take Them Down

Ah, November! The month when Americans put up political yard signs hoping to sway their neighbors’ votes — until the community association tells them to get those signs out of the yards. If you’re one of the more than 60

Read More

Does your community prohibit solicitation?

Many associations do have a rule prohibiting solicitations but what is the basis for such a rule? Ostensibly it would be to protect privacy in members’ homes, mailboxes and other personal property such as your car’s windshield. Perhaps another goal

Read More

3 Critical Items for Condominium Association and Homeowner Association (HOA) Budgets

The association budget is a formal and detailed written plan that provides the cornerstone of an association’s financial operations. The budget reflects the needs and goals of the association for a period of time and identifies sources of income and

Read More

Why you need to pay attention to the money

David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of a Kansas City, Missouri business was sentenced in federal court today for embezzling more than $750,000 from dozens of homeowners associations. Dale

Read More

A “Tail” of Two Doggies: Lessons of Both the Absurd and Practical in Dealing with Pet Cases

In my legal practice, few cases are more prone to absurd happenings, bizarre government policies, and expensive litigation than pet cases.  Well meaning associations set up rules to either prohibit pets all together or to limit their size, often in

Read More

Tax-exempt, or Not-for-profit?

We are frequently asked, “If we are a not-for-profit corporation, why do we still have to pay taxes?” Tax exempt and not-for-profit are two completely different concepts in the world of community associations. The notion of being not-for-profit stems from the

Read More

How to avoid becoming a headline – or successfully dealing with it if you do

As you know, from time to time, HOAs end up in the news for perceived abuses to residents of an association or to question actions taken by the board or management. While the allegations in the news coverage may or

Read More

Be Nice to Grumps!

Every Board member knows there are some people who are simply grumps. They enjoy creating a negative environment. While Board members are only human, it’s important to remember to treat grumps the same as any other member of the association.

Read More

Fire Safety: Is Your Community Firewise?

A huge fire destroyed 80 to 100 houses in a flooded beachfront neighborhood in Queens and fires fueled by natural gas destroyed about 14 homes in a New Jersey town by the shore. Hearing about these tragic fires after the

Read More

Can Your HOA Put Its Mitts on Your Mitt Sign?

Ah, November! The month when Americans put up political yard signs hoping to sway their neighbors’ votes — until the community association tells them to get that sign out of the yard. If you’re one of the more than 60

Read More

Would you feel OK living in an HOA?

Homeowners associations aren’t for everyone. You might be suited to living within a homeowners association if you prefer the company of like-minded neighbors. But an association might not be a good fit if you’re a free spirit — the type

Read More

Disaster!

What does a community association board of directors do if a natural disaster wipes out all or a portion of its association? When and where is it likely to happen? Is there a plan for dealing with it? Is this

Read More

Do developers give thought to long-term governance in the communities they build?

While development in Florida and many other parts of the country has dwindled considerably over the last few years, now is the time for reputable developers to give some thought to new ways to ensure success for the product they

Read More