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Condo financing aimed at renters

The rising cost and scarcity of undeveloped land will continue to change how and where we live.  What we have long thought of as alternative housing is getting more consideration in many conventional neighborhoods. Traditional East Coast co-op apartments and

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A Cautionary Tax Tale for Homeowner Associations

Imagine, if you will, that you are a board member of a homeowner association, where all common elements are owned by the association. One day your board discovers that all of the association’s common elements, including all of your privately

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There Goes the Neighborhood

Originally conceived by John D. Rockefeller Jr., Forest Hill was designed as a vision of suburban unity. But vacant homes and nasty squabbles about how to save the historic community may be tearing it apart.    Read the article…………….

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Open Board Meetings are not required by Ohio Law, but may be required under the Organizational Documents

Homeowners elect board members at the annual meeting, who are then responsible for making comprehensive business decisions for the association, such as setting the annual operating budget, entering into contracts, promulgating rules, and enforcing restrictive covenants. Because the board has

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Short Sales and Community Associations

A short sale is a common alternative to foreclosure when a delinquent owner owes lien holders on the property more money than the property is actually worth. A short sale can occur prior to the filing of a foreclosure action,

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FHA Has Issued New Owner Occupancy Requirements for Condominiums

As explained in a recent Kaman Report, in July 2016, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016.” This law allowed FHA 90 days to issue new regulations pertaining to the owner occupancy

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Dealing with Secondhand Smoke in Your Ohio Home

Every Ohio tenant knows that living in an apartment or condo complex is often challenging, especially when your neighbors’ actions interfere with your life in unpleasant ways. Along with noisy neighbors, secondhand smoke is increasingly becoming a common tenant complaint.

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Budget Approval Motion NOT Needed at Owners’ Meeting (OH)

As community associations hold their annual meetings, boards should be reminded that for most associations, owners do NOT need to approve the treasurer’s report or annual budget. The majority of association Bylaws provide an outline for the annual meeting agenda,

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Absentee Ballot Voting (OH)

A common misconception about community association annual meetings is that owners may vote to elect board members prior to the annual meeting using an absentee ballot. Absentee ballot voting is not permitted, however, unless expressly authorized by the association’s governing

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Racist/Discriminatory Language must be eliminated from Community Association Governing Documents (OH)

A recent lawsuit was filed against recorders in all 88 Ohio counties to require the removal of racist language from recorded documents

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Hoarding and Hoarders Must Be Handled With Care

The signs and symptoms of hoarding include foul odors, insects or rodent infestation, dirty windows, dirty or continually closed curtains and blinds, window obstruction from large pieces of furniture or stacks of boxes blocking window interior views

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In re Jackson (collections – bankruptcy)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. holds that the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in awarding sanctions against a creditor for violation of a discharge order in the individual’s Chapter 7

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Law You Can Use: Common condominium questions

The reality is that a condominium is a form of property ownership that has been specifically created by state law and defines ownership, maintenance responsibilities and cost allocations

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Law You Can Use – Common Condominium Questions

The reality is that a condominium is a form of property ownership that has been specifically created by state law and defines ownership, maintenance responsibilities and cost allocations

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Revisiting Condominium Design and Construction Risks: Applying Lessons Learned to a Rekindled Market

For contractors and design professionals, this means higher insurance rates and an increased potential of liability outside of coverage.

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Summer Time Rules

With the increased activity on your community association’s property, boards should review their rule booklets to help decrease issues from arising during the summer months.

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How to Deal With Board Conflicts

Being on the board is a rewarding experience, but may be difficult when internal conflict arises.

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Board Members Should Never Use Their Board Position for Personal Gain

Most association governing documents clearly stipulate that the board members “shall serve without compensation” or “shall be unpaid volunteers.”

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Tax Facts

In case your board is unaware, virtually all community associations must file a federal income tax return. Associations must file or request an extension on or before March 15. As you prepare to file the association’s 2015 tax return, the

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When do community associations need to vote to roll over surplus funds to the next fiscal year?

If an association is filing an 1120 tax return, the Association will be taxed on the excess funds in its operating account

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Using Volunteers for Snow Removal Is Never a Good Idea

With budgets being finalized and the winter season approaching, association boards are again faced with the significant and sometimes unanticipated expenses associated with snow removal. In an effort to reduce these expenses, an unwise board may consider using volunteers to

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Where Do We Stand on Rental Restrictions? (OH)

The law of rental restrictions is a mixed bag at present. Most attorneys who practice association law believe that to restrict leasing, the declaration of the condominium must be amended, but they cannot agree on the number of votes needed

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Eviction of Adult Children of the Unit Owner for Rules Violations

The Ohio condominium law allows the Association to evict unruly tenants under ORC 5311.19(B). But would this apply to the adult children of the unit owner and would those adult children who are violating the rules be considered “tenants” under

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It’s Time to Communicate Your Association’s Snow and Ice Removal Policy

Unfortunately, snow and ice are a fact of life in Ohio. When temperatures drop and snow starts falling, board members are often faced with questions and complaints about snow and ice removal. To better protect the association from liability and

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“My Pets Are My Family” – Pet Restrictions in Community Associations: Part 1

Pets are, and likely always will be, one of the most controversial topics for community associations. Many people have pets, and those that do often treat the animals as members of their family. The next several newsletters will contain tips

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Eye In The Sky: Drone Usage and Rules in Community Associations

Over the past few years, federal, state, and local governments have grappled with the rocketing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. The issue has also become a point of concern for some associations as they deal with

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Lines of Communication: Who Gets to Boss Around the Landscapers?

One of the largest contracts an association often holds is a landscaping contract. Keeping common areas well maintained is one of the most basic association responsibilities. And, of course, one of the most expensive and time-consuming contracts to obtain is

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The Bankruptcy Roadblock: How to Protect Your Association

The situation is all too common: The Association has a delinquent owner that owes several thousand dollars in past-due assessments and other fees. The Board took every step it needed to by following its collections policy, placing a lien on

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Update on Flag Legislation (OH)

On June 10, 2015, the House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill 18 regarding the display of service flags in both condominium associations and planned communities in Ohio. This Bill was updated prior to vote to include additional types of

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U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Impacts all Ohio Community Associations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide. The decision of the High Court invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states, including Ohio. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme

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That Pesky Entranceway Sign and Who Takes Care of It?

If you live in a homeowner association, you will most likely enter the community by driving past an impressive sign structure, landscaped and lit up, with a retaining wall or other masonry feature – or some combination of all of

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Community Associations and the Social Media

Many of our associations are asking us about the liabilities associated with the use of a website, or with the use of an association Facebook page. Yes, even some are asking about Twitter, Instagram and other types of popular accounts.

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No Parking: New Towing Rules in Ohio and Your Association

Recently the Ohio General Assembly passed into law a set of new regulations that seek to clamp down on the practice of abusive towing. The majority of the new regulations affect towing companies and their operations. However, there are sections

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Reservation of Rights

Most community association board members are aware that if a person sustains an injury in the association’s common elements, such as a typical “slip and fall,” and makes a claim against the association for the injuries, the association should be

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Spring Thunderstorms Bring… Falling Trees

Spring and summer in Ohio often means heavy rains and thunderstorms that cause trees and large branches to fall, sometimes causing damage to property. As a result, many community association board members inquire as to who is responsible for falling

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Ohio Updates Its Towing Laws

To address complaints of predatory towing practices, the State of Ohio recently enacted updated regulations for towing vehicles from private property. The vast majority of the changes place additional restrictions and requirements on towing companies, but there are aspects of

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Rental Restriction Pitfall: Hardship Exception

Associations that adopt rental restrictions as part of the Declaration have provisions that commonly contain language that includes a hardship exception. Most hardship exceptions allow for an owner to approach the board and ask for an exception to the rental

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Elderly Residents Who Need Assistance

Many of our communities started with residents that were baby boomers. Now that population has aged and many community members are past retirement age. Unlike past generations, our residents are choosing to stay in their homes instead of moving in

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CAI Best Practices: Ethics

Simply put, when someone is employing ethics, he or she recognizes what is right and what is wrong and is choosing to do the right thing; however, as a great deal of business ethics literature will attest, “the right thing”

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Five-Year Proxies Overcome Owner Apathy

In early November an attorney from our office attended an annual meeting of an association consisting of 44 homes. In spite of the attendance of our attorney, the property manager, the association’s accountant, 5 board members, and 13 homeowners, no

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Issues to Consider When Updating Governing Documents

The governing documents are essential to the successful management and financial health of an association. As a Board grows more familiar with the governing documents, it may find that some of the provisions of the documents are either too vague

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Security Measures and Association Liability

Security measures for common areas, limited common areas, and resident property are a source of constant concern for many Boards, property managers, and residents. Often Boards are concerned with association liability when crimes such as burglary, breaking and entering, assault,

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Every Association Must Complete and File 1099-MISC Forms (OH)

If an association retains the services of an independent contractor, it is important to know when a 1099-MISC tax form must be provided to the contractor and filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Generally, IRS regulations require that businesses

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Understanding Condo Association & Unit Valuation

Quite a few pieces must be in place to ensure no coverage gaps exist in either the condominium association’s or unit owner’s coverage picture.  Three questions must be considered by the agent writing the coverage:    Read more……..

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Is it Time for a “Live and Let Live” Statute?

If you have lived in a condominium or a homeowner’s association, you know that there are rules that we all must follow. These rules are generally about parking, keeping trash cans in the garage, controlling your pets, planting things in

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CAI’s Guide to FHA Certification

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) plays a major in role in housing finance through its Condominium Mortgage Insurance Program. FHA issued regulatory guidance to set standards condominium associations must meet for a

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How to Handle Reasonable Accommodation Requests

A request for a reasonable accommodation typically presents itself when an owner needs permission to break an association rule in order to accommodate a disability.   The Fair Housing Act does require that a community association provide a reasonable accommodation in

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Fair Housing and Children: What Board Members Need to Know

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against individuals based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. The Fair Housing Act applies to community associations in that it prohibits discrimination in the provisions of services or facilities

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Electronic Voting – What Do Your Documents Say?

Through “electronic voting,” or “e-voting,” association members can take action without attending an in-person meeting and/or without the need for paper ballots.    Read more……….

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Proper Use of Reserve Funds Requires Proper Planning

Springtime and warmer weather can often mean the start of major repair or maintenance projects for an association’s common elements. As unexpected improvements become a priority, associations should look to the reserve accounting for funding. The hope is that a

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