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Directions on How to Run an HOA Board Meeting

Board meetings should be productive, efficient meetings where the board conducts business. Are your board meetings productive and efficient? Does the board meet to conduct business or socialize? Are you getting the most out of your meetings?   Read More……

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Do you know how Life Safety Upgrades are adopted in Florida and around the country?

Have you ever been confused by the Life Safety jargon that applies to your multifamily community or your individual unit/home? Engineered life safety systems, fire flow requirements and uniform elevator keys may not be lingo with which you are entirely

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Special Report: Your Home, Their Rules

Their case is one of hundreds of foreclosures filed since 1993 by homeowners associations in Charleston County for unpaid dues and assessments — some for as little as $332 — according to an analysis of the filings by the Charleston

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HOA: Common Homeowner Association Mistakes

A Homeowner Association (HOA) is responsible for managing a planned community. Most boards take this responsibility seriously, but there are still occasions when board members make bad decisions for the community. Implementing property services helps prevent such decisions from being

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As legal persons, banks enjoy the benefits AND the responsibilities of persons

In the last few years, we have seen more and more banks acquire title to condo and HOA property after foreclosure. Florida statutes provide that legal title passes upon the recording of the certificate of title. I am not going

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Five Steps to Community Involvement

As more and more people are moving into community associations, it should be a priority for board members and community association managers to develop a sense of belonging and ownership for each new member. Educating them from the start in

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Walk-a-Round: The Best Vantage Point for Repairs

First impressions are one of the most important values for a community. Whether a booming economy or tough economic times, it is important that your community looks its best. A seasonal walk-a-round through your community is the best way to

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Successful Budget Preparation

In order to operate a successful community association, there are many important facets of association governance that must be understood and implemented by its board of directors. One of the most important is the budgeting process. Most associations are “multi-million

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Condo Insurance Can Be More Complex

Getting insurance for a condo is a lot different from buying a policy for a single-family house, and it can be pretty confusing for many new condo owners, especially when it comes to insuring personal items like furniture or deciding

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Meeting Moment – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

Usually we talk about how to handle the tough stuff that may come up during homeowner meetings. This month, we’ll talk about the easy stuff: how to avoid “rookie mistakes” — oversights that new or inexperienced meeting chairs often make.

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To Amend or Not To Amend? That is the Questions

Over the years, the law with respect to community associations has changed and morphed in many ways. If your community’s documents are more than five years old, it may be time to examine your documents and determine if they are

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Short Sales and Homeowner Associations

A short sale is a sale of an owner’s property where the proceeds from the sale will fall short of the balance of debts secured by the liens against the property. Nevertheless, because the owner cannot afford to repay the

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HOA Concerns in Contracting with Vendors

Every Homeowners Association (HOA) will at some point hire a vendor to perform certain tasks on behalf of the HOA, or to furnish services to the HOA and its members. In doing so, a HOA may be exposed to liability

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Volunteering means you don’t get paid to support candidates

That would seem to be self-evident, but this being South Florida, it all depends on how you define the words. It’s the right, and I believe the duty, of every citizen to do research and choose candidates to support, by

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Canada: Realtor rallies disgruntled condo owners

While condominium owners love to moan and groan about the problems with the developments in which they live, getting them to join an industry consumer action group is like trying to pull teeth.  “We’ve been trying to have condo owners

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How to Attract HOA Volunteers

Perfume has been used for thousands of years to attract the object of its desire. Oh, that it were so easy to attract volunteers to a homeowner association’s board or committees. Just spritz some Eau de Volunteer in the air

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Colorado Springs HOA Has Unique Opportunity to Build Consensus and Community

Yesterday, the Denver Post ran a story entitled Rebuilding to test covenants after Colorado Springs wildfire. The story focuses on the Mountain Shadows Community Association which was devastated by the Waldo Canyon fire. The Post reports that 346 homes were

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Dealing with the Media

I have a Google Alert set up which gives me a daily report of internet posts and media coverage anytime an association is involved. I see, on average, 10-15 stories a day. As a result, planning for your association to

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Passing the Baton: Tips on Getting the Next Generation of Community Association Leaders Involved

Perhaps you’re tired of seeing the same old faces sitting up at the front of the room at board and membership meetings. Maybe you own one of those faces and are tired of being up there, waiting for reinforcements to

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Practices for Productive Leadership

Know what problem you are trying to solve. This sounds simple and it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people can run around, working on something, but have actually lost sight of the problem they set out to

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Essential HOA Professionals

The board of a homeowner association is charged with making informed decisions. To make informed decisions requires consulting with knowledgeable professionals when the topic exceeds the board’s experience. Professional relationships that every HOA board should have include an attorney, CPA

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Cultivating New Community Association Leaders, Part II

In the first part of this series, I left you with a question of whether or not your current association VP would step into the shoes of a departing President. The answer was a resounding “NO”. Other than general malaise, what

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What to Expect Following an Association Foreclosure Sale

Last month I explained the basics of an association judicial foreclosure through the time of the sheriff’s sale. In an ideal world, all foreclosures would result in a complete monetary recovery for an association and a new owner would timely

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Happy and Effective HOA Residents: Trait #3

When we delved into Trait #2, I mentioned that it’s not uncommon for residents of HOAs to react negatively to board decisions which affect their wallets and pocketbooks. Let’s face it – that’s just human nature. Trait #3 dovetails into

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Balancing Resident Experts’ Help with Your Paid Professionals’ Expertise

Co-op and condo boards have many “non-professional” professionals — lawyers, engineers, insurance agents, architects, teachers, designers, accountants and others who can tap into their work résumé to help expedite matters at your buildings. Savvy boards have learned to complement their

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Cultivating new community association leaders: Part I

I was asked to give a presentation this last weekend at the City of Orlando’s Community Conference. The topic I was asked to speak about was Cultivating New Organization Leaders. My initial reaction upon hearing the topic was “come again”;

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Suit Happens: But Disputes in Communities Can Be Resolved Without Legal Action

Imagine your own family, if you will —each person with his or her unique personality, attitude, experience and background. It’s inevitable that occasionally you might clash with sister Susie, brother Bob or even an uncle or an aunt. In an

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The Debate Rages On: Considering Building-wide Smoking Bans

Concern over health and an evolving legal landscape has prompted a number of  condo and co-op boards in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, as well as communities  across New England to ban cigarette smoking in individual smoking units. Read More……

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Building Community Online: Electronic Media Can Boost Association Communication

It’s hard to imagine how quickly technology has evolved during our lifetimes, and much of that change is a result of how much closer we’ve become—virtually, that is. Whether it’s finding cheap plane tickets, or a restaurant for a Saturday

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HOA Noise Ploys

Noise is a common complaint in common wall communities. That new and beautiful hardwood floor in Unit 2A is Unit 1A’s worse nightmare. Suddenly, a normally soft shoed neighbor sounds like a flamenco dancer at full crescendo. While new construction

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Creating Community in Planned Communities

Over the course of the last 50 years a ‘quiet revolution’ fostered by federal mortgage lending regulations has given rise to the creation of thousands of private community associations with the power to impose charges on members. In some areas,

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Happy and Effective HOA Residents: Trait #2

Yesterday I began posting a series of blog entries outlining traits of happy and effective residents in HOAs. While members of the boards of directors of HOAs certainly have a significant role in creating vibrant, healthy and livable communities  Read

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Rules of engagement key to effective meetings

Have you ever been in a meeting where things didn’t seem to go properly? Perhaps people cut each other off mid-sentence or a healthy dialogue struggled to get started? One way or another, it just lacked order and nothing seemed

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Happy and Effective HOA Residents: Trait #1

For those of you who follow our blog, you know that last spring I posted a series of blog entries outlining the Traits of Highly Effective HOA Directors. This popular series focused on those traits of HOA directors that contribute

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Guard yourself from lawsuits against your HOA

Your homeowners association, or HOA, could be sued because of its crime watch program. There are steps you can take to protect your HOA and your own pocketbook from a lawsuit.  Read More……

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Businesses different than HOA operations

Serving as a volunteer director is hard enough, but it often is made more difficult by directors themselves. The problem is not a lack of good will, good thinking or hard work, but a misunderstanding about the basic nature of

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Avoiding the appearance of self interest as an association director

A reader of my blog recently wrote to discuss a situation in her community where the interests of the membership came second to the interests of some board members. The reader wrote that the community had been polled and the

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What is “Reasonable”?

Reasonable is a term that is used a lot in the world of homeowner associations. It is a term that can have different meanings depending on who is interpreting the term and in what context the term is being used.

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Cities are going bankrupt because they didn’t project their funding needs into the future—will community associations be next?

An assumption of a building component’s “infinite life” is permissible under most states’ statutory reserve requirements. Only those components that are visible and accessible are required to be studied, the rest are assumed to have an infinite service life unless

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Preventing a Condominium Renovation Nightmare

Has this ever happened at your condominium? You’re on the Board of Directors. The building has not been painted in 20 years and could definitely use some restoration. You realize that a special assessment is going to have to be

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“YAY! I’m on the Board!” or, “OMG, What Did I Get Myself Into?”

Boards serve a necessary function in any corporation, and especially within a homeowners association. It would be impossible for an association to function without one. In an association, the buck ultimately stops with the board. The board is elected by

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More Momentum for Smoke-Free Co-ops and Condos, with Help from HUD

Hate dealing with secondhand smoke in your co-op or condominium? As an attorney I often hear complaints from co-op board and condo association members about the extra costs incurred as a result of heavy smokers. Staff sweep up cigarette butts

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Gaining support for your association’s budget

Yikes! The board studied the bids, crunched the numbers and scratched its collective head. There’s no way around it. Monthly dues at your community association are going up 30 percent in 2013. Illinois law allows owners in condominium and homeowner

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Dangerous Dogs List – HOAs Take Heed

Pets That Are a Nuisance; Dogs That Are Uninsurable – Beware! I don’t like to pick on dogs – I love animals – well behaved animals that is. Pets that are allowed to become a nuisance should trot their owners

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HOA Hosted Public Events: ADA Compliance Required?

Asked – Does hosting a public bingo game at our association’s clubhouse expose the association to any liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Read More……

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The Debate Rages On: Establishing a Building-wide Smoking Ban

Concern over health, the environment, and an evolving legal landscape has prompted a number of condo and co-op boards in communities across New Jersey to ban cigarette smoking not only in common outdoor areas but in individual units. This restriction

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What’s Going On In There?

What is the proper role of your community association and its board of directors when it is suspected that there may be something illegal going on inside an owner’s unit? For instance, a neighbor may believe he smells marijuana smoke

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FHA Announces New Procedures to Account for Condos & HOAs

FHA issued a new Mortgagee Letter last week. It requires foreclosing lenders torecognize and communicate with a community association, especially if the association already liened the property. Read More……

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Effective Collection Tactics for Associations Against Owners Who File for Bankruptcy

Associations have been contending with unit owners who file for personal bankruptcy protection in greater numbers since the start of the economic crisis. In response to a unit owner bankruptcy, and in an effort to preserve and protect the rights

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Condo Boards Take a Stand on Delinquencies

A SUCCESSFUL condominium depends, in large part, on owners’ paying their monthly fees promptly and in full. Delinquencies can mean less money for maintenance and amenities — and draw the ill will of fellow residents. While the sheer size of

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