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Community Manager’s Minute: Soothing the Angry Board Member

This month, Julie Adamen focuses on tips to help deal with 2 common board member conflicts: How to deal with a board member who has an agenda, and how to mitigate conflicts between board members – both incredibly helpful topics

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Addressing and Not Avoiding Conflict in HOAs

Earlier this week, I was asked by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Colorado Bar Association to participate in a luncheon conversation about the use of mediation in HOA disputes. We talked about the types of disputes which can

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Second-hand Smoke

Condominium board members that are feeling pressure from members to address the issue of second-hand smoke will be pleased to learn that there is a combined effort on the part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),

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National Night Out: Building Community

Summer is in full swing and families, while trying to stay cool, are determined to make it the best one yet. For many, this means days at the pool, backyard BBQs and neighborhood block parties to celebrate the season. It

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Association Liability for Criminal Acts

The tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin in a Sanford, Florida homeowners association in February 2012 captured the attention of national news media. Questions arose as to the liability of the homeowners association for his death, which occurred as a

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Ways an HOA Board Can Get Homeowners More Involved in the Association Community

An HOA Board needs the involvement of the entire Association community to function at its best. Often this is just not possible because of homeowner commitment and involvement. No matter what is causing homeowners to stay away, steps can be

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Finding Management — Part I — Options

The board’s choice of management assistance is one of its most important decisions. Even the very smallest associations would benefit from some form of professional management.  Read More……

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How can condo directors avoid personal liability?

We have, in the recent past, blogged about the Boily case. In this Ottawa case, a board of directors was found to be in contempt of court and was ordered to personally pay in excess of $96,000 in legal costs.

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Choosing an Accounting Method for your Community Associations

Deciding which Accounting method to use is not something to take lightly or to think that if you don’t like it one way you can switch to the other method. When you chose your method, adherence to the initial choice

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Do You Know What Your Community Association Volunteers Are Doing? Do They Carry Guns? Maybe You Need To Better Supervise

After the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida last year, I posted a blog article highlighting the need for community associations to supervise their volunteers. Follow this link for that March 2012 blog article. If you have been following the George

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15 Ways to Make Your Neighborhood Better

We all want to be better neighbors — or at least have better neighbors. But what can we do? How do you build a better community for yourself and your family? The answer is actually quite simple: Get to know

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Community Association and HOA Special Assessments

If you ever want to make your neighbors angry, consider implementing a special assessment. Just the thought of writing a big check in addition to normal association dues will make residents cringe and cry out in protest. Let’s discuss the

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Negative Publicity About Your Community and What You Can (Or Can’t) Do About It

In the advanced computer age in which we live, the first place people go to share an event in their lives (whether good or bad) is the internet. Whether it’s an email, a blog, a tweet, or a social network

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FHA Condominium Certifications: The Requirements and Prohibitions

The Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) is a government-owned insurance company that insures home loans for buyers who cannot afford a conventional down payment or prefer to use their available funds in other ways. In other words, a FHA backed loan

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What a First Time HOA Board Member Should Know

If you are a new homeowners association Board member there are a number of things you need to know about the position. This role means you will be making decisions for your Association. As an HOA board member you will

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So You’ve Been Sued — Now What? Handling Lawsuits

Lawsuits are usually not an association’s go-to method for dispute resolution. Expensive and time-consuming, they can quickly turn into a financial burden and may create strained relations in the community. Unfortunately, in some cases there’s no other way out. Last

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Can You Hear Me Now? Better Neighbors Through Soundproofing

When walls are the only separation between you and your neighbors, privacy sometimes goes out the window. People hear their next-door neighbors talking, footsteps from above or even music blaring through the walls. Sound transmission between units is one of

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Listen Up! The Top 5 Things Lawyers Wish Boards Knew

While some condos and co-ops are lucky enough to have lawyers serve as members of their board, the majority of boards don’t have an in-house legal expert. They often reach out to their attorney to answer questions, vet documents and

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Does a Casserole Cure a Covenant Violation?

Jase Robertson, a star of the hit show Duck Dynasty, got a bit sideways with his HOA for burning leaves and keeping chickens in his yard. As you might expect, Jase was sent covenant violation letters and seems to have

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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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