Disaster Planning & Management

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Disaster Planning & Management for Condominium & Homeowner Associations

  • Have a condo? Pay attention to percentage ownership If you own a condominium, or plan to, read closely. You might not own exactly what you think.  When his association levied a special assessment, a reader of this column was unhappy to learn he was charged 20 percent more than his upstairs neighbors. How could this be?  It turned out his unit came with ...
  • Insurance Carriers Exclude Color Matching Requirements from Policies The summer of 2017 saw a number of severe storms in the Midwest, with resulting insurance claims. As policyholders have made those claims, some have been surprised to see new provisions in their insurance contracts.  Things are not always black and white in insurance policies, especially when it comes to the impact of a Minnesota ...
  • In Case You Missed It: What You Should Know About the Radburn Bill (Webinar Video) (NJ) On August 22, 2017 and September 13, 2017, Hill Wallack‘s Ronald L. Perl, Esq., Caroline Record, Esq. and Jonathan H. Katz, Esq., in conjunction with Wilkin & Guttenplan, P.C., presented two webinars dealing with what you and your community association should know about the new Radburn Bill.   Read the article……………..
  • Earmarking Reserves In Your HOA Most homeowner associations are entrusted with substantial common elements which must be maintained, replaced or renewed. All of this costs a lot of money. Borrowing said money is a very bad idea because it comes at a very high price in the way of interest and fees which must be repaid along with the principal. ...
  • Polk circuit judge OKs portion of Poinciana homeowners’ lawsuit against HOA (FL) After nearly two years of effort, a lawsuit filed by three homeowners against one of the state’s largest homeowners associations is finally moving forward.  Polk County Circuit Judge Larry Helms ruled two counts alleging breach of contract can proceed to the discovery stage, though several other allegations were dismissed from the latest version of the ...
  • Rockville HOA Under Investigation After More Than $100K Missing (MD) A homeowners association in Rockville, Maryland, is under investigation after a report of more than $100,000 missing from their coffers.  Rockville police said they opened an investigation in August into the King Farm HOA and want to talk to a former employee. No arrests have been made, and the general manager of the HOA did ...
  • Veteran Faces Fines From His Condo Association for Flying His Navy Flag: ‘It’s Ludicrous’ (CT) A Navy veteran who suffers from PTSD is engaged in another fight after his Connecticut condo association asked him to remove the military flag he’s placed in front of his home.   Read the article…………..
  • Are There Any Exceptions to the Requirements in the New Condominium Act? (ON) As many of our readers know, the new Condominium Act (the “Act”) amendments that are soon to be in effect will create new requirements and obligations for condominiums and their Boards. What our readers may not know is that the amendments also contain some exceptions to these new requirements and obligations.  In this blog, we ...
  • Unit owners can’t use records for solicitations (IL) Q. I recently read about a change in Section 19 of the Condominium Property Act concerning books and records of an association. I understand owners will no longer have to state a “proper purpose” to examine and inspect certain books and records of the association. Can you describe what books and records requests this will ...
  • Project Management: What Every Board Member And Manager Needs To Know Your association is gearing up for a large project. Maybe it’s time to re-do the clubhouse or plan for that $2M dollar concrete restoration project that was put off for far too long. Other large scale projects can include painting, concrete restoration, interior restoration, deck/paver repair or replacement, and foundation repairs, and so much more.  ...
  • No Regrets: How to Research a New-Construction Condo Before You Buy (NY) Recently I was considering buying a condo in a four-unit new-construction building in Brooklyn. The pictures of the unit in the glossy marketing materials, naturally, looked gorgeous. But after some intensive digging into the building and its developer, I bailed. I had narrowly avoided buying the real estate equivalent of a lemon.   Read the article……………..
  • The Critical Importance Of Properly Serving A Construction Lien Claim (NJ) So, you properly file your construction lien claim within the time allowed by the New Jersey Construction Lien Law (“CLL”), and then timely send out a copy of the lien by certified and ordinary mail to the address of the condominium building where you performed your work. All set, right? Not so fast, according to ...
  • Electronic Signatures Can Now Be Used to Amend Restrictive Covenants (MI) The legislative history of MCL 450.835a demonstrates that Michigan House Bill 5591 (2016) was originally introduced to deal with an extremely large Michigan Homeowners Association that was having difficultly amending its documents. The Lakes of North Association in Northern Michigan that had approximately 4,700 members and was composed of 8,028 lots. The restrictive covenants required ...
  • ‘Services rebate’ sought for Brandon condo owners (MB) A local property management company says condominium owners continue to be taxed unfairly, and urges the City of Brandon to consider a “services rebate.”  Two representatives of Brydges Property Management appeared before city council on Monday night: company president Brenda Brydges and Ron Funk, general manager of the Brandon office.  “All the condo units are ...
  • Homes could replace part of golf courses at The Meadows as country club struggles financially (FL) Golf swings at The Meadows Country Club could soon be paving the way for many more housing units. That’s something that doesn’t sit too well with Pamela Campbell. She has lived in her piece of paradise right next to the country club for 19 years.  “It’s extremely upsetting because I feel the changes that may ...
  • With Insurance Claims, Time Is of the Essence In our upcoming special November issue, “Governing Powers Through a Legal Lens,” several prominent lawyers advise boards and the residents of co-ops and condos on the vagaries of establishing liability for leaks, fires, and other unwelcome mishaps. Their advice, though varied, contains a thread: when filing an insurance claim, time is of the essence.    Read ...
  • Parents miffed after HOA locks popular neighborhood gate (TX) Mckinley Thompson has raised a family in the Villas at Remington Point for six years and counting.  He says one of the appeals for his kids is easy and safe access to a local pool, playground and elementary school via a convenient gate near his townhouse.  “I’ve never had a problem,” he said. “We pay ...
  • Attorney for woman shot by PBSO deputy to sue condo complex (FL) The Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who shot his ex-girlfriend, then fatally shot himself Thursday, was on duty and used his service weapon, Boynton Beach police confirmed Monday.  Meanwhile, an attorney for the victim, Yuly Solano, said Monday night he’s planning lawsuits against the condominium association where the shooting took place and possibly the sheriff’s ...
  • What to Do When Your Neighbor’s Dog Won’t Stop Barking We’re all in agreement here – dogs are simply amazing. But, there are few things more annoying than a dog that barks nonstop, especially if it’s not your dog.  Perhaps you work a night shift and can’t sleep during the day because a neighbor’s dog is barking nonstop; or you have just put your baby down ...
  • Gated community withdraws suit over WOW Trail plans (NH) Homeowners in the South Down development on Paugus Bay have voluntarily withdrawn their lawsuit against the state Department of Transportation but are prepared to refile it if plans for a public recreational trail along the shorefront advance.  Residents of South Down and Long Bay, private, gated communities of more than 600 homes, sued to halt ...
  • WWII tank moved out of River Oaks neighborhood (TX) It was ticketed by police for parking violations, it fueled tension among neighbors, and just weeks after it was parked at the corner of Del Monte and River Oaks Boulevard, a tank used during World War II was moved to a ranch in east Texas.  “When you drive down River Oaks Boulevard and you see ...
  • Got a condo complaint? There is now an office in Miami-Dade to handle it Miami-Dade condominium owners who have complaints or concerns about management at their condos, board elections or special assessments will now be able to seek answers at a new office in Doral.  Florida’s government opened an office in Miami-Dade for the division of condominiums, timeshares and mobile homes of the State’s Department of Business and Professional ...
  • Downtown San Diego high rise residents fear a peeping tom is using a drone A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said downtown San Diego high rise residents should contact police if they see a drone flying outside their window.  Dozens of people have posted on the Nextdoor App about seeing a drone spying inside their windows during the past two weeks.  “My wife started yelling about some drone blinking lights ...
  • AB 634 Signed! Reduced HOA Control of Solar Energy System Installations (CA) The Governor has signed AB 634 into law changing HOA control over solar energy system (“Solar”) installations. HOAs may no longer adopt policies and guidelines that prohibit Solar installations on common area roofs protecting HOA property and homes from damage and members are stripped of the right to protect common area property by membership vote. ...
  • Pensacola Beach neighborhood says dog park needs to move (FL) Citing concerns about poorly behaved dogs and dog owners, a Pensacola Beach homeowners association is asking Escambia County to move a beachfront dog park to a more secluded area.  The association, which represents the De Luna Point neighborhood, wants the beach dog park located off Fort Pickens Road moved further west between Park West and ...
  • Clients Must Use Insurer’s Contractor or Face $10k Cap (FL) Beginning in February, Citizens will be able to force commercial and residential property policyholders who file claims for all non-weather water losses to use the company’s preapproved contractor or agree to limit their total payout to $10,000. This arbitrary figure is artificially low, as many claims involving water losses often cost much more to repair.  ...
  • Ham Radio Legislative Activity In The U.S. Senate Last week, The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to mark-up S 1534 The Amateur Radio Parity Act (a.k.a. HAM radio legislation) when it was withdrawn from the docket. Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz cosponsored and filed an amendment with their fellow Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee. The original Senate ...
  • Pros and Cons of Gated and Non-Gated Community Associations: Thoughts and Considerations A safe neighborhood is a top priority of home buyers. For many of these home buyers, a gated community is an attractive option. The gate represents protection from the outside world by the careful monitoring of those entering the community. Is a gate, guarded or otherwise, an accurate representation of protection or just an illusion? ...
  • The Condo Association Board Socialite Profile The word “community” is prominent in community Associations. This implies more than just a Condo Association where bills are paid on time and reserve studies are built. While those are necessities, they are not enough. A Condo Association should thrive as well. That is where the Condo Association Board Socialite comes in. Their goal is ...
  • Can Your Community Association Stop Bullying and Harassment in Their Tracks? (FL) Bullying in any form cannot be condoned either in schools, workplaces or communities. While a newly filed bill by Rep. Emily Slosberg (HB 123) has the laudable goal of protecting Florida’s senior citizens from being bullied, just how feasible is it in a community association context? From some of the board and membership meetings I’ve ...
  • Always the same old HOA news When there’s news about HOAs on TV or in newspapers, it’s mostly the same old news over and over again. Someone puts up a flag, changes something on their home, has hens, roosters or pigs on their property, maybe playground equipment. Things like that. If reporters happen to call, what happens? Lots of scrambling around, ...
  • Should HOA’s Receive FEMA Funds? With recent storms ravaging homes across the nation, many homeowners are taking a closer look at the laws and regulations put in place to help rebuild after a natural disaster. For most concerned homeowners, one of the main questions is whether or not the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) will offer assistance to community association ...
  • Why did FEMA deny that claim? Uh, that mold was there before the storm (MS) The Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association wanted $1,079,150 to dredge Paradise Bayou and canals.  FEMA: Denied. The Country Club and POA facilities do not serve the public.  A review of a database provided by the Associated Press found $35,084,472 in denied claims for public assistance money — money to rebuild roads, schools and ...
  • Can condo association members vote to rescind a contract? Q: Our Board of Directors of our Condominium has recently voted to sign a contract with Comcast that would provide cable and internet service for the entire community. I understand that under Florida condo law there is a provision that allows the membership to force a community wide vote to rescind that contract. Is this ...
  • West Michigan residents facing aftermath of heavy rainfall in the area In Texas Township, neighbors said no one seems to want to take responsibility for the rising waters in this retention pond.  “Some of our neighbors tried to go to the township and county and nothing came of it,” Ryan said. “We know it’s a problem, but nothing is being done about it.”  They were told ...
  • Dirty water flows through Signal Mountain community (TN) West also told her the pipes had not been flushed since they were installed in 2009, she said, which contradicts the utility’s message to customers Friday night.  Cliff Kent, vice president of the homeowners association, also said the pipes had not been flushed since they were installed.  “I don’t think there’s been adequate communication,” Kent ...
  • Association must follow Condo Act in event of hurricane damage (FL) Question: What is your take on air conditioners damaged by Hurricane Irma? They are on the roof of each of our condos. Some were damaged because another roof came off the building next door, and some were blown over by the storm. The association is planning to assess all unit owners for these air conditioners. ...
  • Here’s The House That Caused This Texas Couple To Get Death Threats (TX) …..A week and a half after the HOA initially approved the color of the Dubrovas’ house, the couple got a letter asking them to re-paint the house.  The realtor who originally posted the picture of the home didn’t want to reveal her identity but said she did not intend to cause such a backlash by ...
  • Will insurance cover an Irma-related special assessment? (FL) Q: My condominium association lost a portion of the roof as a result of Hurricane Irma. The board adopted a special assessment to pay for the repairs. Will my individual insurance for my unit cover this special assessment?   Read the Q&A…………..
  • Common Pitfalls in Dealing with Major Repairs Recent experience as litigation and general counsel for numerous associations who are currently tackling significant repairs suggests a couple of common pitfalls.  First, don’t skimp on the consultant. While some associations decide that using an engineer or architect to develop a scope of repair and oversee its implementation is too time consuming or an unnecessary ...
  • Update on the Discipline Process under the CMSA One of the more unsettling changes for condominium managers coming under the Condominium Management Services Act (“CMSA”) is obviously the complaint and discipline procedures. As we previously reported, under the CMSA anyone will be able to make a complaint to the Registrar of the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority (“CMRAO”) against a condominium manager for an ...
  • Condo board may be ‘terrible,’ but withholding dues will make matters worse Q:  I live in a 55+ condominium community and many residents, myself included, feel that the board is doing a terrible job at maintaining our community, despite the high dues that we pay. We have spoken out at board meetings, but it seems our concerns are ignored. Can we withhold our dues, or perhaps pay ...
  • 6 Big Reasons Why Your Assn. Should Consider Amending Your Documents (OR, 6 BIG REASONS WHY YOUR BYLAWS ARE PROBABLY TERRIBLE) (Or, 6 Big Reasons Why Your Bylaws are Probably Terrible)   There are a myriad of reasons why it may be in the best interests of an Association to amend its governing documents, which include the Association’s Articles of Incorporation, Master Deed, Condominium Bylaws, Subdivision Plans, as well as any Board-adopted Rules and Regulation.  Here are ...
  • New rules to better protect condo owners, buyers on the way in 2018 (AB) The Notley government plans to roll out new rules next year that aim to better protect the owners and buyers of condominiums.  The changes will require developers to provide realistic estimates of condo fees, firm move-in dates and hold buyer deposits in trust while units are being built.    Read the article…………..
  • Kawartha Lakes residents lobby for bylaw changes to tackle unruly renters Some residents in the City of Kawartha Lakes say their peace and tranquility are being disrupted by unruly users of short-term rentals.  In the upscale 17-lot private subdivision of Rolling Hills — just south of Bobcaygeon — the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association say one home has become a short-term rental nightmare.  “You get a ...
  • Upcoming Changes to LARA Corporate Filing Submissions Starting October 31, 2017 (MI) At least once a year, property managers, attorneys or the association itself files corporate documents with the State of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) on behalf of the association. In a Michigan condominium association or homeowners association, certain documents such as Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation or a Change in Resident ...
  • HOA Homefront: Reader asks is Mary Jane OK in Unit 420? Q: I live in California where it is legal to grow six cannabis plants. What can our HOA do about this?   Read the Q&A…………….
  • We’ve Got a Problem: Statute of Limitations on Long-Term Notes (FL) A Florida Supreme Court justice Thursday issued a nearly five-page opinion to point out “the latest symptom of a more serious problem”—a misunderstanding over when the clock starts in foreclosure litigation with multiple defaults and suits.  The confusion centers on whether the date of each missed payment carries any legal significance when calculating lenders’ deadline ...
  • Strabane Manor residents concerned about storm drainage system (PA) Residents of Strabane Manor Townhomes rallied at the South Strabane Township meeting Tuesday to express concerns about sharing their stormwater drainage system with another homeowners association, Strabane Haven.  The residents in the development of townhouses that sits just off of Fischer Road said they were not aware sharing a drainage system was part of the ...
  • Knock, knock! The HOA is here for an inside inspection (GA) If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you live under the vigilant eye of a homeowners association.  Estimates say one-fifth to a quarter of Americans live in situations where a gaggle of neighbors have the right — no, the duty — to make sure you keep up your part of the bargain and not ...