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Self-Managing Maintenance: Getting the Job Done On Your Own

Whether because of convenience, the desire for autonomy, or a tight budget, some condo and HOA communities opt not to retain an outside management company or an agent to handle their respective day-to-day administrative and maintenance needs. Without proper oversight

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Laundry Room Maintenance: It’s a Wash

Can you imagine living in a condo or co-op that doesn’t have a laundry room? These days, having on-site laundry facilities for residents isn’t an amenity – it’s a necessity, and keeping yours functional and well-maintained is just as important

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Optimizing HVAC: Heating, Cooling, and Conserving

Everyone loves the turning of the seasons, what with leaves changing and snow falling and pools opening and the like. But Mother Nature has little concern for the comfort of humans, so fluctuating temperatures bring the need for residential heating

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Supporting Your Staff: Letting Your Employees Know You Care

Most people go about their days paying little attention to the labor performed by those who make their lives easier. From transit workers to service employees to government officials, how often does one stop to thank the people making everything

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The Roles of Building Staff: Working as a Team for the Good of All

Supers, building managers, maintenance persons, custodial staff, groundskeeping personnel, porters, doormen, concierges—depending on the size of a community, the staff roster for a condo, co-op or HOA can be pretty long. The truth is, in the case of almost any

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Board Transparency: Consistent Communication Is Key

Community living – the very basis of co-op, condo and HOA life—is based on the idea of trust. In a community of potentially hundreds or thousands of residents, every resident can’t be involved in the making of every decision. Too

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Problem Boards: What To Do When Your Board Breaks the Rules

A condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association elects a board for a specific purpose: to manage the community’s day-to-day business, oversee special projects, and draft and uphold the rules and regulations that keep life orderly and harmonious. In fact, the board

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Thinking About Disaster Planning? You Should Be!

Most people think about disasters as something that happens to others, not to them. But after witnessing back-to-back weather catastrophes in Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, and more recently in Puerto Rico, many condominium associations are recognizing that the unthinkable could,

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Assessing Your Building’s Energy Consumption: How Green Are You?

Most folks know that turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, taking shorter showers, and turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees can help save energy – and by extension, money. However, helping an entire building or association cut costs

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Green Cleaning: Keeping Your Condo or HOA Fresh – and Eco-Friendly

Cleaning products should, ideally, have one primary function: to make things less dirty. But once one delves deeper into the overall goal, things get more complicated. What makes something really clean? Does it just look shinier? Smell better? Or is

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A Look at Cogeneration: Is It for Your Building?

Many residential properties obtain their power from a local energy supplier. But in recent years, boards and managing agents have investigated, and in some cases, installed “cogeneration ” systems that allow properties to produce a portion of the energy they

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Improving Indoor Air Quality: What’s That Smell?

In multifamily buildings that hundreds —maybe even thousands—of people call home, it comes as no surprise that unpleasant smells can become an absolute nuisance. The airways that run through the building, the chutes and areas that house the building’s garbage,

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Short-term Rentals Create Ongoing Concerns for Condo Associations

The short-term rental of residential property is producing long-term concerns. Those concerns, which were just emerging when I wrote about this issue three years ago, have grown exponentially as short-term vacation rentals have ballooned, creating what is now a $34

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Insurance Law: Some Important Cases to Know

Insurance liability is a very important issue for a condo or HOA association or a condo board. Most have built up a good relationship with their insurance agents or brokers, and many are content to leave the details to the

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Indemnity Clauses and Liability: Protection Runs in More Than One Direction

One of the unique aspects of community living, whether that community is a co-op, condo, or HOA, is the collective responsibility shareholders or association members take upon themselves when they offer to serve on their community’s board of directors. With

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Insurance Basics: Know the ABCs

For many people, insurance seems like its own mysterious realm, filled with terminologies that sound formidable and enigmatic. At the same time, people also understand the profound importance of insurance and what it can mean for the safety and security

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Got Conflict? Get Mediation!

Understanding what mediation is, how it works, the benefits for all parties, and the types of disputes that can be resolved with mediation, demonstrates how mediation can be an effective alternative to litigation.     Read the article………….

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Bad legal documents can be an expensive problem

Last time I spent the entire column talking about properly, i.e. ethically, amending your declaration and bylaws, a lot of column space and words because it truly is really important to do things the right way. This time, the points

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Obtaining Prescriptions for ‘Therapy Pets’ Is Easy; Rejecting Accommodations Based on Them Is Not

We face many challenges in life. Obtaining a doctor’s note certifying the need for an emotional support animal isn’t one of them. And for condo association board members and managers, this is a source of considerable and increasing frustration.  

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Ethics at the condo, Part 1

Ethics in condominium associations may seem like an odd topic, but ethics should pervade every part of our lives, personally, professionally and at condo associations, and not knowing of some of the ethical issues can lead to problems. There will

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Developers’ Rights Decisions: Puzzling, Perturbing, and Problematic

Litigation is unpredictable. That’s no surprise to anyone who fights court battles regularly. It is also a theme reflected in three recent court decisions dealing with developer rights.  In the first case, Condominiums at Lilac Lane v. Monument Garden, LLC,

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What Boards Should Know About Finances: Keeping Your Community in the Black

Money, money, money. The world runs on it. And your building’s well-being depends on it.  The issue is not just having funds, but managing them. Handling the finances for an entire building or association is a major responsibility, and boards—even

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Hiring—and Paying—Contractors: Who Holds the Purse Strings?

Co-op, condo and HOA living represents a unique social arrangement; it’s a paid-for membership club and a home at the same time. Many people enter into this arrangement without a complete understanding of the responsibilities of membership. Others, fully aware

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Inadequate Reserves: The Risks of Not Keeping Up

There are few feelings worse than encountering an unexpected expense and finding the piggy bank empty. That is why reserve funds and reserve studies are such important elements in the financial well-being of co-ops, condos and homeowners associations. It pays

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New Hampshire Amends Condominium Act

The NH legislature’s tweaks and additions to the NH Condominium statute have continued in 2017 with the passage of House Bills 501 and 502. Both bills go into effect on August 15, 2017. What follows is a brief summary of

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Managing the condo manager

Many condominium associations have management companies; many are simply too small to have one; and many near yearly consider whether they should have one. Regardless, much of the information that follows should be followed by all, even those who will

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The State of Smoking: LegalMarijuana vs. Smoking Policies

While the exhortation to “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” has never really gone out of style, one should take caution before lighting up just anywhere. Many places, from restaurants to airplanes to hospitals, expressly and strictly forbid anyone from

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Issues That Cross State Lines: A Look at Condo Legislation Trends

When it comes to legislation and legal issues that apply to condo associations, co-ops, and other multifamily housing models, the focus is often local—city ordinances, council meetings, and so forth – but there are judgments handed down and bills passed

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Resident Rights: Knowing Them, Upholding Them

To paraphrase the Declaration of Independence, all men and women are created equal with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That may not be the case if you live in a condominium, co-op, or HOA,

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Condo Boards Beware: Risks Outweigh Advantages of Using E-mail to Discuss Association Business

It is a sign of technology’s fast and firm grip that few of us can remember a time when we communicated by mail (letters inserted in envelopes, affixed with stamps and delivered by the post office) rather than e-mail, delivered

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Home-based businesses complicate condo rules (NH)

In a past column, I (briefly) mentioned the concerns about having a business operating out of a residential condominium association. I need to expand on this a bit as it is becoming an issue in more associations.  Most older condo

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Maintaining ‘Niche’ Amenities: Special Amenities May Need Special Care

Once upon a time, when someone purchased a condo or co-op, their ownership came with the privilege of using the building’s amenities. Those who lived in a building with a fitness room equipped with treadmills and weights considered themselves fortunate,

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Prepping Your Property for Warmer Weather

With the end of winter comes relief. No more snow or sleet or slush or sludge; it’s sunshine and windbreaker season, baby! But the board of a condo, cooperative or homeowners association cannot be content with simply waiting for April

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Playground Innovations: What’s New in Fun

Most kids these days have never had more options when it comes to fun: video games and electronic entertainment of every kind are ubiquitous, and all sorts of mobile toys, too. But amid a national childhood obesity epidemic, the need

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Keep community in the condo association (NH)

A few things to think about as winter releases its grip.  If you are a large enough condominium association, say more than 10 units, you may want to explore as a board, or with your management company, the possibility of

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Co-op and Condo Financing: A Market Overview

Today, some eight years after the economic devastation of the Great Recession first began to gather steam, financing for co-op and condominium buildings and individual unit purchases is again widely available. The market is overall quite healthy, and though there

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Seasonal Maintenance: A Year-Round Responsibility

Building maintenance follows a schedule based on the seasons, each of which presents a unique set of challenges to a co-op or condo. At certain times of the year, it just makes sense to do certain regular maintenance projects: weatherizing,

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Aesthetic Rules in Co-ops, Condos & HOAs: A Matter of Taste?

For many people, one of the most attractive aspects of co-op or condo living is the fact that everything, from the windows to the elevators to the numbers on the apartment doors, looks great. Clean, bright, elegant and well-maintained. For

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Caring For Trees: The Right Tree, in the Right Place

Trees may seem like the ultimate in low-maintenance landscaping; they’re naturally occurring, live for decades (sometimes centuries), don’t really require much in the way of watering, and sometimes don’t even need pruning. But while all that is true, in fact

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Don’t Touch that Sidewalk! Doing Too Much Could Be as Problematic for Condo Associations as Doing Too Little

We regularly advise condominium boards to be wary of taking on obligations beyond those state laws or their association’s governing documents require them to assume. A recent decision by a Massachusetts Appeals Court adds a judicial exclamation point to that

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Ethics at the condo, Part II

Ethics is not just a matter of following the law. Slavery and apartheid were at one time legal, but most would agree there were and are unethical. The word “ethics” is derived from the Greek word ethos (character), and from

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Avoiding Discrimination and Its Legal Consequences: The Power of Equality

Despite the fact that most people would agree that discrimination is a bad thing, discrimination persists, which suggests either that existing laws against it are sometimes ignored, or that the legal definition of ‘discrimination’ isn’t always clear. Fortunately, when it

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Building a Stronger Community: Encouraging Neighbors

Are condominiums, co-ops and HOAs cohesive communities? Is community part and parcel of what purchasers are seeking when they buy into a co-op, condo or HOA? The concept of ‘community cohesiveness’ could be defined as a community in which there

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Social Media and Your Community: What Works, What Doesn’t, and How to Choose

Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, oh my! Today, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t use some form of social media to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether they are posting updates on their daily life, sharing articles

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Ethics at the condominium association, Part I

Board members know they are not to run off with the reserve funds. And attorneys know they are to guide boards in the best interests of the association, without fear of angering board members or worrying about whether they will

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Knowing your boundaries in managing condos

The declaration is the Zeus of Condo World. It is the document that sets up the condominium association and all other documents flow from it and is subservient to it. The declaration is required to detail many items, some of

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Back From the Brink: Financial Ruin — and Recovery

happens infrequently, but when it does, it can be an enormous challenge: a co-op corporation or condo development has a long-running squabble with the building sponsor/developer, falls victim to long-term mishandling of funds — or outright fraud — by the

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Outsourcing Services: Getting the Most for Your Community’s Dollar

In the perennial struggle to control costs while still adequately maintaining a building or HOA’s physical plant, grounds, and other day-to-day business, some boards and managers are opting to hire superintendents, custodians, and other staff on a temporary, as-needed basis,

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Service-Based Amenities: Adding Value, But at What Cost?

In major US cities these days, the decision to live in one co-op or condo building versus another often hinges upon the style of living afforded in a particular property. Whether it is defined partly by a full-scale gym and

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A Look Forward Pros Predict What May Move the Needle in Condos/Co-ops/HOAs in 2017

Another year is behind us, and what a year it was! While 2017 and beyond promise to be eventful in myriad ways, it probably makes sense to focus solely on what’s ahead in the world of condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners

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