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12 Things My Board and I Do When We Want to Be Sued

It is well known that Association Board members (directors) have fiduciary duties to their unit owners and associations. It is almost as commonly known that the officers have the same fiduciary duties. Yet associations, directors and officers are often sued

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Post-Foreclosure Considerations: When the Association Owns a Unit

If you are a condominium association who is preparing to complete a lien foreclosure on a Unit, you are sure to have many questions about what to expect if you become the owner of the Unit through the foreclosure process.

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Assess the Situation: What is a Considered a “Common Element?”

You may have read in the most recent CAI Law Reporter that an Association in Maryland was not authorized to suspend use privileges, absent such authority existing in the condominium declaration. Elvaton Towne Condominium Regime II, Inc. v. Rose, No.

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Declaration Amendment – Sometimes There is No Other Way to Accomplish Something

A unit owner sought to expand their unit by building additional living space on the roof of the association. The declaration, like all declarations, defined the various units and their locations. Unlike many declarations, this one allowed top floor unit

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When Things Go Bad – Dealing With the Press

In Associations sometimes things go bad. Despite all of the very best intentions and efforts someone gets hurt or is rightfully offended. Worse yet, at times the press because of either the newsworthiness of the story or a relationship between

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Turnover – Considerations for your Condominium Board of Directors and Officers (WI)

Is your condominium or homeowners association currently controlled by the declarant/developer? Would you like to be prepared when the developer is ready to hand over the reins to you, the owners? In Wisconsin, developer turnover is governed by Section 703.15

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Unit Fire Increases Association Insurance Premiums

What happens when a fire caused within a condominium unit destroys that unit, some common area, and damages other units? It becomes an expensive situation for the association. Even though insurance should pay for all of the damages, the association’s

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Wisconsin appellate court denies insurance coverage to a contractor because work was performed on a building that had synthetic stucco

A slew of lawsuits has plagued the construction industry regarding the use of exterior insulation and finish systems, also known as EIFS or synthetic stucco. Insurance companies were historically required to pay money towards those claims under standard commercial general

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How to deal with a weak homeowners association

Reader Question: Our homeowner’s association has bylaws. The HOA is not proactive in enforcing them and has allowed residents to violate, only addressing the violations if someone files a complaint. This refusal to proactively monitor property conditions puts the complaining

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The Impact Of Airbnb on Condominiums: What Your Association Should Know About Short-Term Rentals

An increasing number of homeowners are renting out their properties on a short-term basis. While short-term leasing is not a new concept for homeowners, the increase is due, in part, to the popularity of home-sharing websites such as Airbnb, VRBO,

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Best Practices for Protecting Association Data

Hacking can be defined as the breach of a computer system in an attempt to exploit weaknesses in a network. As online commerce continues to grow and individuals search for ways to make bill paying more convenient, security threats are

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New Fair Housing Rule: Boards Must be Proactive in Addressing Harassment of Residents

These personal and ongoing disputes will usually make their way to the board level. They present a challenge for the board because they are often “he said, she said” situations

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(WI) Supreme Court Downs Condo Policy on Unpaid Assessments after Foreclosure

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, recently ruled that a condominium policy violated Wisconsin law by restricting a new condo owner’s access to condo amenities,

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High court: Condo policy violates foreclosure law (WI)

The state’s highest court on Friday found that a Lake Geneva condominium association’s policy involving certain assessments violated established foreclosure laws.

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FHA Update: Temporary Guidelines a Start, But More Work To Be Done

The number of condominiums obtaining FHA (Federal Housing Administration) certification has continued to shrink. This is due, in large part, to the fact that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which administers the FHA certification approval process,

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Dealing With Delinquencies: Make Sure Your Association Has a Collection Policy

A homeowner association depends on the regular income from assessments to pay for services, amenities and common maintenance expenses. Without the timely collection of assessments from homeowners, the association simply cannot function properly. Unfortunately, most community associations at one time

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court Provides Associations a Powerful Tool in the Fight Against Blight

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has taken a stand against banks that are dragging their feet foreclosing properties that have been abandoned by their owners. This court decision will be of substantial benefit to some Wisconsin condominiums facing the problem of

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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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Parking Enforcement More Streamlined for Wisconsin Condominiums

The ability of Wisconsin condominiums to remove illegal parkers from common elements has been made easier under a recent law and rule making by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.     Read more………

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FHA Update: “Temporary” Guidelines Are Extended

To the federal government, “temporary” can mean a long time . . . and that is not always bad! The last time I wrote about FHA financing here, I discussed several “temporary” changes in the criteria for FHA certification. These

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Man Out-Foxes With Proxies. What Moxie! (WI)

Dear Condo Q&A:   A candidate for the upcoming Board election may be pulling a fast one. He is going door to door getting proxy signatures which actually vote for himself! These aren’t even on the official forms. Are these absentee

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WI Appeals Court: Fee in Lieu of Room Tax was an Illegal Tax on Condo Owners

Condo owners who did not rent their units to the public paid a “fee in lieu of room” tax to the City of Delevan. Recently, a state appeals court ruled that the fee constituted an illegal tax and the condo

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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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Legal Update: A board can prevent a dissident board member from obtaining privileged information (WI)

Q: One of our board members opposes the association’s enforcement action against his close friend, the developer, but the action was approved by a majority vote of 4-1. Still, the director wants to be at all meetings with our lawyer.

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Gun Laws Uncertain for Wisconsin Condominiums

Associations wishing to consider Wisconsin’s New Concealed Carry law must deal with unclear legislation and the not unusual situation that lawmakers did not consider unique aspects of condominium ownership. This is a review of how the new law applies to

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Pet Rules Regarding Breeds – Right for Your Community?

The trend to consider breed specific restrictions arises in several contexts. Some condominiums which had prohibited dogs now wish to enlarge the population of potential condo buyers by allowing pets. Other associations wish to fine-tune existing pet restrictions. Sometimes, a

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Spring Cleaning Inside and Out!

Even though it’s hard to tell sometimes, spring is finally here in Wisconsin. For many of us, springtime means spring cleaning. Maybe for you that means it’s time to clean out your garage or your attic, but there are things

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Directors’ Bankruptcy Does Not Relieve D&O Insurer of Obligation to Defend

The bankruptcy of insured directors did not relieve the insurer that had issued a directors and officers (D&O) endorsement to a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy of the obligation to defend or indemnify them, even where they had been

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From Good to Great: Principles for Community Association Success

Every community has its own history, personality, attributes and challenges, but all associations share common characteristics and core  principles. Good associations  preserve the character of  their communities, protect  property values and meet  the established expectations of homeowners. Great  associations also

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Minding Our Own Business: What is the Law for Same-sex couples in Wisconsin Condominiums?

The law is, mainly, that a same-sex couple has the same right to housing in Wisconsin as any other couple, and sexual orientation is not our business. This has been the law for many years, though it might now be

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Five Steps to Becoming a More Effective Board Member

Being a volunteer board member can sometimes be stressful and time consuming, but before you decide to throw in the towel and never look back, make sure you aren’t the one getting in your own way! Here are a few

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Spring Ahead: 6 Things to Look for on Your Spring Property Walk-through

In Wisconsin, we’re still in the rainy season, but those sunshine-filled days are just around the corner. April and May are an excellent time to conduct a walk-around of your property to look for damages that may have occurred over

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Introduction to Community Association Living

Community Volunteer Leadership Development Program Community volunteer leaders and members can maximize the benefits of community association living by better understanding the history, purpose, and function of community associations. One way to do so is by participating in the Center

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Governance Guidelines

There are basic expectations that apply to virtually any common-interest community. With this in mind, the Center for Community Association Volunteers developed the Community Association Governance Guidelines – 12 principles that can help association board members increase harmony, reduce conflict

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Rights & Responsibilities for Better Communities

More than a destination at the end of the day, a community is a place people want to call home and where they feel at home. This goal is best achieved when homeowners, non-owner residents and association leaders recognize and

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Community Association Fundamentals

Each common-interest community has its own history, personality, attributes and challenges, but all associations share common characteristics and core principles. CAI developed the Community Association Fundamentals to foster a better conceptual understanding of how associations function and the roles of

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Model Code of Ethics for Community Association Board Members

This model code of ethics is not meant to address every potential ethical dilemma encountered by a community association board member, but is offered as a basic framework that can be modified and adopted by any common-interest community.    Read

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So Now You’re On the Board

The first steps to superior board performance are clarifying your board’s job and then following through with appropriate plans, actions and evaluation of results. The checklists presented here are intended to assist you in those tasks. They cover a significant

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