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Property Managers not immune from claims by owners.

Claims are brought against community associations and community association managers (CAMs) all the time for various complaints relative to the maintenance, management and/or operation of the community.   Read More……

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Preparing your Community Association for Aging in Place

Much has been said, sung, lamented and discussed about aging. People age, buildings age, communities themselves age and the beat goes on. No place is this aging more evident than in multiple community associations across our country where the inhabitants

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All I Ask About Running a Meeting

I wonder how many meetings I’ve attended in my lifetime. It must be in the thousands. Of course, there have been the multitude of corporate meetings I’ve participated in, either with customers or internally. Then there are the many meetings

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Condo Etiquette – the power of please and thank you

Do you ever have days when everyone seems downright rude? I have no idea what the cause is — perhaps it’s the barometric pressure or the phase of the moon. But when you try to keep calm and carry on

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What is the purpose of a committee?

Members of an association often have tasks that require more in-depth study by a small group. That’s where a committee comes in.  Read More……

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Effective community management

Like in other industries, the workforce in the community management industry is rapidly changing. Take the HOA manager for example: the stereotype is someone who sits at board meetings, finding delight in firing off violation letters about someone’s car is

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Board Member Education

If you are a new member of your community association board of directors, you are in for an educational experience. Among the many subjects that you will deal with are architectural review, contracting, communication, meeting conduct, insurance, financial reports and

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The HOA election is over, so what’s next?

The ballots have been counted and the new board has been chosen. Immediately following the board member acceptance of their new Board of Directors positions, it’s time for business.   Read More……

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Improving Your HOA Website Security Settings Can Allow For Greater Flexibility

Homeowner association websites contain a wealth of information, from minutes of the board of directors meetings, the declarations and bylaws of the homeowner association, to rules and regulations and social calendars. This information helps members of the association stay up

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3 Ways To Create Better Relations Between Boards and Homeowners

Most of us appreciate the need for a governing authority, within a community, to maintain uniform and equitable standards. These standards are meant to assist in providing harmony within the community. While all those reasons sound simple the administration and

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Effective Steps Co-op / Condo Boards Can Take with Disruptive Members

The managing agent remembers it well. There had been an incident in a co-op she managed that caused some damage to the building. She advised the board that, based on her experience, it would not be to the property’s advantage

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Violence Toward the Board – What Can You Do?

Once again we read about an unhappy owner in his homeowners association acting out his aggression toward the association’s board of directors. This time, the owner shot and killed two members of the association’s board of directors because the board

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It’s Spring, Time to Ward Against Water Issues

It may be April Fools Day, but it’s no joke that every year around this time insurance companies see many flood issues and claims from homeowner associations. What’s worse, flood insurance is expensive and the typical HOA insurance policy does

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When Homeowners Attack

I spoke at a “board member boot camp” Tuesday night to give legal tips to new homeowners association board members, and briefly touched on security and safety issues for board members. Luckily, I said, homeowner violence against HOA board members

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Homeowners Associations and Biodiversity, Part One

I recently read a study about the positive role that homeowner’s associations (HOAs) can play in preserving urban and suburban biodiversity. Because so much urban/suburban land is managed in small parcels (individual houses and yards), having an overarching biodiversity management

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Are folks really being forced to buy homes inside associations?

Many folks in various association groups on Social Media complain about the concept of shared ownership community governance and lament the fact that they cannot purchase homes (particularly in Florida) anywhere else other than inside a mandatory community association.   Read

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Start early on shaping next year’s budget

Quick question for community association volunteers: When does budget season begin and end? If you have prepared an annual budget, perhaps while on the board or finance committee, you know that preliminary meetings usually take place in late summer or

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When a condo association messes up a home sale

If you own a condominium or a property within a homeowners association, the association’s behavior could derail your home sale. The lender looks not only at your financial situation, but also at the financial condition of the condo association or

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The Status Woe In Homeowner Associations

There is a tendency for traditions and habits to take hold and be repeated without question. This is often the case with homeowner association boards. Rules are enacted with good intent. Budgets are squeezed with the idea that less is

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An Active Adult Community’s Obligations with Respect to Transport Buses and the Disabled

Active adult communities often purchase transport buses for the use of their owners and residents. In relation to such a purchase, that community must consider whether any such bus must be equipped to service the disabled. Title III of the

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Property Managers not immune from claims by owners

Claims are brought against community associations and community association managers (CAMs) all the time for various complaints relative to the maintenance, management and/or operation of the community.   Read More……

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Not All HOA Bylaws Are Etched in Stone

Many people who live in housing developments are required to join homeowners associations. A homeowners association is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of any common areas, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and other recreational areas.    Read more….

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Homeowner Groups Can Support Native Species in Suburbia

Although it’s known that construction of homes in suburban areas can have negative impacts on native plants and animals, a recent study led by University of Massachusetts Amherst ecologist Susannah Lerman suggests that well- managed residential development such as provided

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Repairing Waterways One Subdivision at a Time

My enthusiasm was kindled a few months ago when Barbara Brown, president of our homeowners association, shared a consultant’s report that she had commissioned at her own expense regarding the potential for creating a neighborhood wildlife sanctuary.  Read more….

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What, Why, How?

Here at BLMH, our board is constantly operating in the question “Why?” It’s a fundamental for any maintenance and financial planning. Those are the primary tasks facing a HOA board. BLMH is not a social club and there are serious

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Carolina Forest fire a lesson in importance of woodland neighborhoods always being prepared

Now that the smoke has cleared, county officials are looking for lessons to take away before the next disaster. And residents of not only Carolina Forest but other forested parts of Horry County are wondering what to do to help

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How to Overcome a Stagnant Board of Directors in Your Homeowners Association

A stagnant board of directors slows down the business initiatives of an Association and may cause the Community to lag behind comparable neighborhoods. Overcoming stagnation at an HOA requires establishing more open lines of communication with board members and seeking

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Condo Police: How to Use an Association’s Power to Fine

In my experience, even well-meaning unit owners may occasionally incur fines. With about two-dozen new condominium projects having come to market in and around downtown Seattle in the past five years, and many more around Puget Sound, condominium life is

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The Big Bad HOA: Not Actually So Big and Definitely Not So “Bad”

We see many news articles about a big, bad homeowners’ association interfering with Harry Homeowner’s “right” to live peacefully in his neighborhood. Whether it is demanding the removal of a flag pole that is too tall or forcing an owner

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Architectural Standards

One of the central roles of a homeowners or condominium owners association is the enforcement of architectural standards. The establishment of architectural standards is at the core of many declarations of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCRs or “declaration”). Owners want

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Using Your Condominium Newsletter to Tell the FHA Story

Why does FHA matter to your community? How will you tell the story? Have you ever tried telling a very technical story to someone who isn’t very tech savvy? You know from the glossy-eyed look of your listener that they

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Four Simple Steps to Community Building this Spring

Since we just turned our clocks ahead a few days ago, it means that spring is right around the corner. As we awaken from the cold, dark winter, spring will usher in new beginnings, warmer weather and longer days. The

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HOA Director Code of Conduct

As a member of a volunteer homeowner association board, it’s useful to codify the goals and behaviors an effective director should seek in a Code of Conduct. It not only serves as a constant reminder for those that are serving

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Community Association Living [Part 4:Staying Out of Trouble]

My practice consists mostly of representing homeowners against their HOA (single-family homes) or COA (condos) and about half of my clients retain my services because they are being sued or about to be sued by their association. The problem is

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5 Things You Need to Know About Hiring Contractors

Did you know that the IRS and the Department of Labor have teamed up to audit businesses? If that doesn’t make you shake in your boots, you either don’t employ any contractors or you are hopelessly naive about what a

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Before Litigation, Community Associations Should Consider Mediation

The March edition of the King County Bar Bulletin contains the following article that I co-wrote with my paralegal Elizabeth Demong. We argue in this article that community associations and owners should strongly consider engaging in mediation before initiating litigation.

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What Shaped the Future of Community Management Technology?

Savvy community managers have adopted technology innovations throughout the years to improve efficiency and increase margins. Think back 10, 20, 30 years ago – can you imagine a community management world without mobile phones? Or the internet?   Read More……

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Health Concerns and Economics Are Leading More Condominium Associations to Ban Smoking

The battle between smokers and non-smokers may be reaching a tipping point in community associations. More boards are introducing master deed or by-law amendments prohibiting smoking completely – in individual units as well as in the common areas of their

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Together We Stand – Divided We . . . Are Liable? Personally?

We write regularly about the role of community associations’ boards of directors, as well as the role of each of the directors on the board. Today I saw an interesting article about potential liability of directors.  Read More……

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Taming Transient Turmoil: Managing Renters in Condos

As housing markets in many parts of the country—including New Jersey—have foundered, many developers have opted to convert portions of communities originally intended to be condominiums into rental properties. When a development with no owner-occupied units converts to rental, it’s

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Neighbor to Neighbor: A Guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution

Can’t we all just get along? It’s a million-dollar question. When people move into a community, they often look for the friendliness and camaraderie that living in an association brings. But with many personalities often butting heads on everyday-living situations,

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Better, Stronger, Faster… What We All Need to Know About Electronic Communication

These days, there are few people who don’t have a business website, a Facebook account and even a Twitter handle. It’s the same for buildings. As the rise of online social media invades nearly every aspect of our daily life,

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Building a Better Board: Common Traits of Successful Boards

Working in groups can be a challenge. Working in groups when people’s homes—and possibly their life savings—are involved can be a far greater challenge. It’s one faced every day by those brave souls who volunteer to serve on their co-op

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Pssst…My Neighbor is Violating the Covenants!

All Colorado community associations are required by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) to adopt responsible governance policies governing issues like collections, meeting procedure, and records inspection. CCIOA does not provide a lot of guidance for the terms of

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FHA certification and recertification

FHA certification makes it easier to sell units in your condominium association. Applying for FHA certification has become more straightforward recently.  Read More……

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The best way to welcome neighbors

With today’s era of computer technology and “Going Green” many boards question if the benefits of sending out a Welcome Packet outweigh the cost. There are several reasons that negate sending out welcome packets:   Read More……

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Volunteers make the community

In many areas across the United States, community associations are very prominent. However, they cannot be successful without the benefit of volunteers. The members of the board of directors are elected volunteers, committee members are appointed volunteers. It is the

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What do you need to lead?

So, you submitted your name, you spoke with a few folks around the neighborhood, you may have even created a flier or posted your stand on issues on the association web site. And then the outcome of the election is

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The Key to Community Success

Community associations today are much more prevalent than in the past. You’ve seen them, you probably live in them or have lived in them, know someone who lives in them or will live in one in the future. So why

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Xeriscape to save water and costs

Many people believe that a colorful and vibrant garden needs lots of water. In reality, the same can be achieved through the application of Xeriscape practices, which can result in water savings of 35 percent to 70 percent. Xeriscape landscaping

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