Federal Laws & Regulations

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Articles About Federal Laws & Regulations and Community Associations

  • Enforcing Occupancy Requirements in Your Condominium (WI) December 14, 2017 If your condominium association documents include restrictions on occupancy (how many people can reside in a unit), be aware of what the federal law states on the issue to avoid potentially costly lawsuits brought by disgruntled unit owners.   Read the article……………….
  • FHA Update December 11, 2017 Non-action may no longer be a safe choice. In October of 2016, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) added certain provisions to the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) which impose additional liability for condominium associations, homeowners associations, and landlords based on non-action.  One of the main additions to the FHA was the inclusion of a prohibition of quid pro quo harassment. Under the new provision, it is illegal to request or demand conduct in exchange for the ...
  • HOA Governance: The Pros and Cons of an HOA Rental Cap October 31, 2017 The policies of any HOA are sometimes a touchy subject because, at any one time, homeowners are simultaneously responsible for and subject to the rules set out by their home owner’s association. There are a number of perfectly normal policies that are put into place like a stylistic agreement to keep the neighborhood looking nice and everyone’s property values going in the right direction. However, problems sometimes arise when a particular policy favors the homeowners who moved in (and began ...
  • Baca POA notified of cease and desist action (CO) October 19, 2017 A Baca Grande Property Owners Association (BGPOA) member served a cease and desist letter to the homeowners association dated Oct. 16 alleging conflicts of interest involving the POA board and several violations of the Equal Housing Opportunity Act.   Bayardo Reno Sandy, who owns property on Heatherbrae Road in the Baca, is protesting new building regulations enacted by the board last month. He is one of many BGPOA residents over the past several months who have objected to the treatment of ...
  • Condo financing aimed at renters September 28, 2017 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 more rural-based co-housing communities are sprouting up in common suburban environments. Developers now are promoting the financial logic of building up, not out.  Condominiums now will shoulder much of the future city-dweller load. The condo market has resurged as all ...
  • Must communities retrofit for handicap accommodation (FL) September 6, 2017 The question often arises as to whether condominium, cooperative and homeowners’ associations need to install wheelchair ramps, elevator or swimming pool lifts or redo common area bathrooms to accommodate handicap persons.   The general answer is that associations may have to waive certain rules to reasonably accommodate the handicap, such as allowing emotional support or service animals in a no-pet building but the association does not have to spend association funds on modifying the common areas to accommodate the handicap, ...
  • FHA Extends Condo Rules for Reverse Mortgages, Other Loans August 31, 2017 The Federal Housing Administration this week extended its current rules regarding condominium lending as it continues to work on permanent updates.  In a new mortgagee letter, the FHA implemented an open-ended extension of the existing condominium rules as laid out in previous letters released in 2012 and 2015 — essentially freezing the status quo until FHA updates the Single Family Housing Police Handbook 4000.1 with a final rule for condos.     Read the article………..
  • Is Anybody Home at HUD? August 22, 2017 Now, however, HUD faced an existential crisis. The new president’s then-chief strategist, Steve Bannon, had called in February for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” It was not hard to guess that, for a White House that swept to power on a wave of racially tinged rural resentment and anti-welfare sentiment, high on the demolition list might be a department with “urban” in its name. The administration’s preliminary budget outline had already signaled deep cuts for HUD. And Donald Trump ...
  • HOA Liability for Discriminatory Harassment: A Primer August 11, 2017 Title VIII of the Civil Rights of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), is a federal law which prohibits discrimination in housing and housing-related services due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. Because the FHA applies to entities that set terms and conditions for housing and provide services and facilities in connection with housing, it applies to HOAs and other community associations. By now, most HOAs across the country are already aware ...
  • Westbury condo settles discrimination lawsuit (NY) August 9, 2017 A Westbury condominium complex has settled a lawsuit that challenged the building’s accessibility for disabled residents.  As a result of the settlement of the suit filed in Dec. 2015 by Long Island Housing Services, the Westbury Terrace Condominium made a few accommodations, including the installation of a buzzer system to allow all residents the ability to grant access to the building from an apartment during hours that a doorman is not on duty, as well as allowing a disabled owner ...

Federal Laws & Regs Archives


Installing Consumer-Owned Antennas and Satellite Dishes

In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules for Over-the-Air-Reception Devices (“OTARD” rules). The OTARD rules prohibit restrictions on a property owner or tenant’s right to install, maintain or use an antenna to receive video programming from direct broadcast satellites (DBS), broadband radio services (formerly referred to as multichannel multipoint distribution services or MMDS) and television broadcast stations (TVBS). However, there are exceptions to the OTARD rules, including provisions for safety and preservation of historic areas. The FCC later amended the OTARD rules to apply to rental property where the renter has exclusive use of an area, and to customer-end antennas that receive and transmit fixed wireless signals.

More on OTARD

Service and Comfort Animals

Revised ADA Regulations Implementing Title II and Title III (Comfort and Service Animals)

Pet Ownership for the Elderly and Persons With Disabilities; Final Rule

Freedom To Fly the American Flag Act

On July 24, 2006, President Bush signed into law “The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act.”  This act ensures that all Americans, including those living within the jurisdiction of homeowners and condominium associations, will be able to exercise their right to display the United States flag, the symbol of our nation’s freedom, at their homes.

Freedom To Fly the American Flag Act

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool And Spa Safety Act (VGBA) is a United States law named after the daughter of Nancy and James Baker and the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III. Graeme Baker died in a tragic incident in June 2002 when the suction from a spa drain entrapped her under the water.

The goals of the Act were to enhance the safety of public and private pools and spas, to reduce child drownings, to reduce the number of suction entrapment incidents, injuries and deaths; and to educate the public on the importance of constant supervision of children in and around water.

The Dept. of Justice has granted an extension for existing pools to comply with the new ADA Standards for providing accessible entry and exits.  The DOJ’s Q&A attempts to answer questions regarding whether your pool shall require accommodations. Check with your attorney to determine the current status of the Act and how it can impact your association

Read the Act

Questions and Answers regarding Accessibility Requirements for Existing Swimming Pools at Hotels and other Public Accommodations

Accessible Pools Means of Entry and Exit


FHA Condominium Mortgage Insurance

As authorized with the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) implemented an approval process for condominium projects and insurance requirements for mortgages on individual units, under Section 203(b) of the National Housing Act.
The new approval process and insurance requirements were put into action with Mortgagee Letter 2009-46b and was effective for all case numbers assigned on or after December 7, 2009, except as noted in the mortgagee letter.
The program insures a loan for as many as 30 years to purchase a unit in a condominium building–which must contain at least two dwelling units and can be detached or semi-detached, a rowhouse, a walk-up, or an elevator structure.

The loan is made by a lending institution, such as a mortgage company or bank and is insured by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration.

This has been a total mess with constant changes and proposed changes. Trying to keep up with it here would be impossible.  We’ll provide the basic information, but you really need to your attorney to deal with this appropriately.

Latest Changes

Is Your Condominium Association FHA Certified?

The Condominiums page allows users to search for FHA-approved condominium projects by location, name, or status. These properties are not for sale by the FHA. The search can be configured to find specific types of projects through the use of the pull-down menus and entry fields. Detailed help is available online or contact the Single Family Administrator. Please note: It is not necessary to enter information into every field. The less information entered, the larger the resulting list. Enter only the criteria (full/partial) that you know to be correct or helpful in streamlining your list to your needs:

Link to search form

The CAI Guide to FHA Certification 


HUD: Reasonable Modifications Under The Fair Housing Act

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) are jointly responsible for enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act (the “Act”), which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability.  One type of disability discrimination prohibited by the Act is a refusal to permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises.  HUD and DOJ frequently respond to complaints alleging that housing providers have violated the Act by refusing reasonable modifications to persons with disabilities. This Statement provides technical assistance regarding the rights and obligations of persons with disabilities and housing providers under the Act relating to reasonable modifications.    Read More……PDF