Will You Have Your Legal Fees Paid For?

A lot of the phone calls I get have someone looking to sue, but hoping that the other side will have to pay for their legal fees. That rarely happens unless it’s a consumer fraud type of case or an

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HamRadioNow: It Ain’t Parity Until We Say It’s Parity

The Amateur Radio Parity Act drew plenty of critics in its original form (HR 1301, the early days) from hams who thought the government shouldn’t stick its nose into private contracts  After the ARRL and the CAI (Community Associations Institute)

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Southwood HOA Caves on Flag Mailboxes, Bass Mailboxes Coming Soon

In a campaign reminiscent of Rambo: First Blood, a Tallahassee military vet successfully waged his own private media war against the neighborhood rule-Nazis who run Tallahassee’s Southwood homeowners association. At least, that’s the way the story was being presented on

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Time for a review of the Strata Property Act (BC)

Increasing numbers of British Columbians live in multi-family developments which are run as strata corporations. Currently, there at over 30,000 active strata plans in B.C. and over 1.5 million live in about 620,000 strata lots.  Owners of each strata elect

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Real Estate Claims of “Strong Reserves” – Be Careful!

But one trend that continues to surprise me is how often claims of “excellent condo association reserves” and “strong association reserves” appear in our weekly monitoring reports. By following the links, I discover that these phrases on condo listings from

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Going to War Against Neighborhood Racists and the Kempsville Lakes Homeowners Association: The Kids are Still Alright

Last week I wrote about the lady who came to my door trying to get me to join her in trying to get recently installed basketball hoops removed in our neighborhood. Yesterday, after the National Night Out gathering in our

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Commentary: New Florida law governs condo association websites (FL)

In today’s digital world, the public’s view of an organization frequently comes with the click of a mouse, leading to a website. Thanks to a new bill governing the operations of condominium associations in Florida, these associations must abide by

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Take the Salary Survey!

The Foundation for Community Association Research is launching the 2017 Community Manager Compensation and Benefits Survey and you’re invited to participate!  Conducted by independent research firm Industry Insights, Inc., this survey for managers and management company CEOs and executives is

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Do HOA’s and Neighborhood Councils Guarantee Level Freedom-of-Speech Playing Fields?

People often divide themselves into two broadly defined camps, the first of which insists on obedience to all rules, while the other defines itself by its anti-authoritarianism. May I suggest that each faction is asking the wrong question.   Read the

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Are we letting HOAs rule our lives?

In 2015, my family and I purchased a beautiful new home in Wilson Grove in Gambrills. While we thought we were buying our dream home in a dream community, our excitement quickly turned to dismay after our first encounter with

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Are Legal Remedies of Owners and HOAs Equitable?

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy recently wrote in an opinion that, “Property rights are necessary to preserve freedom, for property ownership empowers persons to shape and to plan their own destiny in a world where governments are always eager to

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Real fake news: Wherein social media misappropriation hits home

It was six days after Sept. 11, 2001, and the nation was struggling to come to grips with the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a plane that crashed in a

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Hams hope to get higher with new law

Ham radio operators are hoping to reach higher through new national legislation.  This week, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced legislation called the Amateur Radio Parity Act, which would direct the Federal Communications Commission to provide

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MU study shows emotional support animal certification may need to change (MO)

A study conducted by the MU psychology department shows that the certification process for emotional support animals is flawed.  The study, conducted by Cassie Boness, a graduate student studying clinical psychology, and Jeffrey N. Younggren, a forensic psychologist and clinical

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Industry Perspectives — Quebec flood waters a reminder to build better: CCMPA

On May 11, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in front of a group of reporters in Gatineau, Que. He’d just taken an aerial tour to survey the area’s flood damage. With Premier Philippe Couillard by his side, he talked about

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Insights: Construction defects reforms cost lawyers, but it might not save much for Colorado home buyers

After years of Colorado legislative fights over how to save time and money on litigation, two significant but insufficient things happened over the last three weeks that help nail down the issue of construction defects.  If changing the rules of

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Amendment to SB258 would hurt HOAs (NV)

Members of the Assembly and Senate are trying to pass an amendment to SB258 that would allow delinquent owners to sue their homeowners associations for foreclosing on unpaid assessments.  The amendment, to be decided in conference committee with no public

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Tavares should run from request to buy golf course (FL)

Residents at Baytree Villas want Tavares to buy an 18-hole golf course in their development that closed last week without explanation and run it as a “first-class facility.”  Talk about really bad ideas. Municipal golf courses typically cost taxpayers a

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Lyons: Condo owner can’t take a side in this eviction dispute

Some people might assume I’m an easy sell when residents have a gripe about a condo board or homeowners association allegedly run amok.  I admit that I have enjoyed writing now and again about an HOA or condo board accused

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Good law goes after condo abuses (FL)

For years, too many condominium associations and their management companies have acted as if they were dictatorships.  That soon will stop. By a vote in the Florida Legislature, many of the abuses in which these association managers engaged just became

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Don’t be creepy

Most of you likely know that I’m a social media proponent. It’s a great tool to connect with friends, family, peers, employees, clients and prospects. I’ve worked it into my day-to-day and proactively look to use it to connect and

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ANDY’S CONSUMER TIP OF THE DAY: Homeowners associations (TN)

I’m a firm believer in neighborhood homeowners associations. I’m a firm believer in covenants and restrictions. I don’t want to see someone’s Dodge Dart on cinder blocks in the 3-foot high grass of their front yard anymore than the next

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Leadership is lacking in Colorado’s construction defects battle

The legislative deadlock over construction defect liability has revealed an ugly truth: our state government can’t solve pressing urban problems. Our governor and mayors look on from the sidelines, while two interest groups negotiate over the critical housing issue facing

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Appeals Court Revives Fair Housing Act ‘Blog Post Harassment’ Lawsuit

A recent ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals menaces free speech in condominiums, apartment buildings, and the Internet. It allowed individual bloggers to be sued because their blog posts allegedly created a “hostile housing environment” for condo residents

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Special Economic Zones – Quietly Advancing Freedom And Transforming Countries

Though not special economic zones in the modern sense, zones governed by special rules have existed almost as long as government itself.  The astonishing growth in SEZs over time qualifies as a revolution of sorts, but not the usual, political

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My Turn: Things are heating up in Serrano (CA)

Well, it’s that time again. We’ve got another Serrano Homeowners Association Board of Directors election looming and it’s again shaping up to be a battle for control, with homeowners vying with the developer for control of their HOA. But it’s

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Quietly creating freedom: Private communities and special economic zones

For the last several centuries, nation-states have dominated the political landscape, and set all the rules for everyone inside them.  But now two kinds of special jurisdictions — private communities and “Special Economic Zones” — are quietly taking over functions

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Editorial: Laws that get homeowners booted over fees need changing

The case of Tina and Luis Lopez, who are on the verge of losing their home of 12 years over a $150 payment to their homeowners’ association, exposes a system bereft of fairness and proportion. Even common sense went out

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Proposed Estoppel Bill 398 – Unfair And Inequitable To Community Associations (FL)

Senate Bill 398 (“SB 398” or “Bill”) sponsored by Senator Passidomo is making its way through the Florida legislature and is a step closer to being passed into law. This Bill puts the needs of Florida’s community associations behind that

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Australia: Time for common sense in the war between Airbnb and strata owners

The Airbnb verses apartment owners’ debate is only going to get more intense.  On one hand we have an aggressive, revenue-dominated multinational with a large advertising budget and a strong intent to lobby government.  Their opponents, many of them dwellers

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Crackdown Needed on Airbnb and Uber alike — piracy business models

In November 2013, I found out that a handful of my New York condo neighbors were renting out their units through Airbnb. This was unacceptable and I wrote an article in a major New York newspaper that helped fan a

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There’s Something Rotten at the DBPR: Regulating Florida’s Condo Associations

With more community associations than every other state combined, Florida is a behemoth in the community association management space. Lawmakers in other states look to Florida to set an example for how to legislate an industry that now represents one

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My Position on the Pending Solar Legislation (UT)

I surprised a few people at the Utah Legislature last week, by testifying against a bill that would arguably facilitate the installation of solar panels in Utah. Those who know me (and those who follow this blog) are well aware

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A Lawn is an Arrogant Thing

witnessed my neighbor the other day, replacing some of his lawn with AstroTurf.  Got me thinking.  A lawn is an arrogant thing, isn’t it? I know; I’m a weirdo for thinking this way. I should strive for a lush, beautiful

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Utah Op-ed: Let HOA residents join fully in the solar revolution

As the manager of a Utah business, it’s very important to me that we do our part to help protect the health of our community. That’s one of the big reasons we at Mark Miller Subaru chose to invest in

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As More Americans Work From Home, Co-op Boards Need to Adapt

Can a co-op board stop a shareholder from giving tuba lessons at home?  More and more people are working for themselves, and more and more of them are working from home. Today, according to the Freelancers Union, more than one

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Construction Defects in Community Associations

CAI has a report out on proposed state laws to make it harder for HOAs and condo associations to sue developers for construction defects. They say that, “As of February 28, legislation has been introduced in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts,

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Latest (and Greatest) Colorado Construction Defect Reform Bill—SB17-156

The lack of more affordable housing in Colorado has been well documented over the last several years, and there have been a number of attempts to address reform of the current laws by legislative action. More than 13 communities with

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Promote fire safety, not substandard condo housing for the elderly

Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, a paid lobbyist of Florida condominium associations, in an op-ed on Feb. 14, advocated for a bill that “would allow older high-rises to opt out of an ELSS [engineered life safety system] and, for those who do

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The Super-Priority Saga Continues – Nevada Supreme Court Holds That NRS 116’s Notice Provisions Are Constitutional

The Nevada Supreme Court and the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have different rulings on the same statute. So, what does this mean? I think it probably means that the choice of courts makes all the difference. In Nevada

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Why the Florida Legislature Needs to Fix Condo Sprinkler-System Problem

For more than a decade older high-rise condominiums throughout Florida have been discussing, debating, and exercising their legal rights with regard to sprinkler system retrofitting requirements. In 2003, the Florida Legislature responded by allowing each community to vote to opt

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(Las Vegas Review-Journal) EDITORIAL: Nevada Supreme Court rules for investor in super lien case

The Nevada Supreme Court perpetuated an absurd injustice last week when it decided that property rights and due process don’t apply to mortgage lenders. The justices ruled in favor of a speculator who in 2013 claimed clear title to a

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NO COMMENT?

I’ve answered thousands of questions from reporters, some of them extremely irritating. But you learn to work through tough questions and to work with tough-minded reporters. If you ask why, I’ll bend your ear about engaging with reporters so you

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MI HB 4015: Unfortunately Not the Dumbest Thing to Come Out of the MI Legislature

Representative Peter Lucido (R), from the 36th District (Macomb County), decided to start off the new legislative session with a whole slew of bills, among which are proposed changes to the Condo Act.  I won’t be commenting on the other bills,

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Get ready for higher HOA fees if Prop 206. passes (AZ)

A vote for Proposition 206 is a vote to increase your Home Owner’s Association (HOA) dues by five to 10 percent. Service providers that work with HOAs—such as landscapers, contractors, and other tradesmen—will see their labor costs increase almost 50

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Home sharing: There goes the neighbourhood

When French authorities published new population figures for Paris last week, showing a drop of nearly 14,000 residents, politicians and bureaucrats were quick to identify the cause.  It wasn’t the threat of terrorism. It wasn’t high rents or taxes. It

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Get it right

A young friend of mine lives in a townhouse. This I discovered after making the mistake of asking if she and her husband had decided to sell their condo.  “You mean townhouse,” she corrected.  Ugh. I never get it right.

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HB4919 an affront to consumer rights (MI)

Q: I’m a millennial who just bought a new condominium in Michigan. I’m trying to familiarize myself with current Michigan condo laws, but are there also any current bills before the state Legislature that will affect me?  A: The one

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Bad lawsuit, bad argument, bad outcome (CA)

For six years, we hoped that reason would prevail in Santa Rosa’s legal squabble with homeowners in a gated community near Oakmont that has tried to block bicyclists from crossing through their territory. But reason has lost. So have bicyclists.

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Editorial: A merrier Christmas for area HOAs (NC)

It has seemed like little mystery that the owner of a Garner-based HOA management company would eventually be charged with crimes involving the embezzlement of funds from HOAs.  But last week’s news that Diana Kelly had been charged with 25

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