Owner Information

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General Information for Owners

  • HOA Homefront: Owners have very broad rights of access to association financial records. April 29, 2017 Q: I am one of a couple employees in a small, self-managed, association. Regarding opening the association records to owners: How much detail are they allowed to see? The manager is concerned that if someone insists on details (i.e. specific individual names and duties) that this information must be provided. I thought that the owners should only be allowed to know how much is spent on maintenance and not be given specific association employee names, salaries and duties because that ...
  • Home Fire Safety for Older Adults April 18, 2017 The U.S. fire problem is severe. Each year, home fires result in a significant number of deaths and injuries. Older adults are burdened with the gravest fire risk, and are consistently more threatened with injury or death by fire than any other age group. Raising awareness among older adults is the key to reducing home fires and preventing deaths. This multi-faceted home fire safety awareness program provides tools to educate older adults and their families nationwide about home fire hazards ...
  • How to Enjoy Life as a Member in Your Homeowners Association March 28, 2017 Whether you’re a resident of a homeowners association or a Board member looking for ways to encourage residents to get involved in their community, here are some great tips for being an active member of your Association and enjoying the place where you live.    Read the article…………..
  • HOA 101: An Introduction to Living in an HOA March 24, 2017 So you purchased a property in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA).  But what does that really mean?  What are your rights and benefits under this structure?  How does an HOA really run?  Where can you turn if you have questions?  Many homeowners miss out on the true value of their HOA because they’re not sure exactly what an HOA is and they’re not sure who to ask. Relax, we’ve got you covered.  Here’s a quick basic introduction ...
  • Smart condo conundrum: Talk to appliances, or text them? March 15, 2017 In today’s so-called smart home, you can dim the lights, order more toothpaste or tell the kids to go to bed simply by talking to a small Wifi-connected speaker, such as Amazon’s (AMZN.O) Echo or Google’s (GOOGL.O) Home.  This voice-first market – combining voice with artificial intelligence (AI) – barely existed in 2014. This year, Voice Labs, a consultancy, expects 24.5 million appliances to be shipped.  Other big tech firms have their own plans: Apple (AAPL.O) is taking its Siri ...
  • Gardening In Your Association: The Basics February 28, 2017 As the bleak cold of winter finally breaks and signs of spring begin to pop up all around, thoughts of vibrant flowers and lush vegetables are on gardeners’ minds. For those green thumbs living in tiny quarters, an impressive garden may seem unattainable. However, many are turning toward urban gardening, bringing plant life into unique spaces and growing gardens in every nook and cranny.    Read the article…………..

Owners – General Information Archives

New Owners

  • New Resident Screening and Avoiding Disparate Impact Claims September 20, 2016 Most well-run community associations incorporate a new tenant application and approval process, and some even utilize such a program for new owners. A typical new resident screening program includes criminal background checks, credit checks, employment verification, and prior rental history. A community association is likely to deny any prospective new resident whose background check produces questionable items. But are associations cognizant of the liability concerns pursuant to recent changes in federal law regarding disparate impact claims for administering a flawed ...
  • 6 Must-Haves in a Condominium Welcome Package May 26, 2016 It’s the condo board’s job to ensure that newcomers to the building feel welcome. For the sake of both the newcomer and the community-based atmosphere of a condo building, condo boards are responsible for ensuring that new residents are well-settled and aware of the buildings rules and regulations. A great way to receive new residents is to prepare a welcome package that shares valuable building and community information with the new addition to your condo family. What goes in an ...
  • The Need for Move-In Orientation September 9, 2015 Though the questions posed at the opening of this article are among the most frequently cited, there are many other issues that buyers may not even realize until long after their closing or moving in day. Just consider the specific areas where problems might arise: HOA contact and informational issues, emergency issues, building access and usage issues, insurance issues, and storage concerns.    Read the article…………
  • Why It’s Important to Read the CC&Rs in Your Homeowners Association October 12, 2014 Do you remember receiving the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) when you moved into the Association? Do you know that they are very important to you as the homeowner? Have you taken a look at these documents lately? If not, now is a great time to brush up on the do’s and don’ts of your community. There is no time like the present to make sure you are in compliance.  Read more………
  • Fences or flamingoes: Be sure you know your homeowner association rules September 29, 2014 A new homeowner moves into a neighborhood governed by a private association, receives an invitation to a potluck that doubles as an annual meeting and shows up with a bottle of wine and a dish to pass.    Read more………
  • Who’s Responsible for Repairs? Board and Owner Maintenance Responsibilities August 22, 2014 Say you’re in bed, and you hear what sounds like the shower going. It’s late, and you’re tired, so you pay it no mind. You wake up at 4 a.m. to get a glass of water and find half the rooms in your apartment flooded— you forgot to turn the shower off! You throw blankets and towels on the floor to soak up the water and call your building’s maintenance staff.    Read more……..

New Owners Article Archives




Insurance for Owners

  • Condominium unit owners allege insurance company refuses to pay coverage (WV) April 13, 2017 Two Webster County condominium unit owners are suing Nationwide, alleging breach of contract by refusing to pay coverage claims under an insured policy.  Wilma Sue Talbott and William Talbott filed a complaint March 22 in Webster Circuit Court against Nationwide Insurance Company of America, alleging failure to honor a written contract by refusing to pay insurance coverage.    Read the article…………….
  • Dogs Take a Huge Bite of Homeowner Liability Claims April 12, 2017 Dog bites man, man sues board. Are you adequately insured?  “My dog doesn’t bite.”  Don’t believe those four innocent words. Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claims paid out in 2016 – a staggering $600 million – according to the New York-based Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and the insurer State Farm.    Read the article…………..
  • Owners, never skimp on insurance — the association policy isn’t enough April 11, 2017 Q:  I am about to purchase a condominium and need to know about insurance. I understand that the condo association has insurance coverage, so do I need anything extra?    Read the Q&A…………..
  • Dealing With Ice is Anything But Neat December 15, 2016 Those of us in the Northwest were recently hit with the first round of winter snowstorms. My children are avid weather watchers (in hopes of future school closures), so I understand that we are in store for several more storms in the coming months. Winter snow and ice inevitably result in a host of insurance claims. Some of these are relatively predictable. Think auto accidents and trees falling. Fortunately, many of these weather related claims are covered under standard home ...
  • 5 Actions an HOA Board Should Take to Clarify Maintenance & Insurance November 7, 2016 One common subject that often causes confusion in a homeowners association is grasping the difference between the maintenance responsibilities of an association and the items that are covered by the association’s insurance policy. Often owners and even HOA board members may not understand the differences between these two subjects.     Read the article…………..
  • Don’t be confused when it comes to condo insurance October 25, 2016 Condominium insurance is often misunderstood, and for good reason.  Typically, owners are protected under two insurance policies: a master policy for the condo association and an individual, or HO-6, policy. The confusion arises over what each policy covers and the potential for gaps — or a lack of coverage — for certain, often costly, occurrences.  The result can cost unsuspecting owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars.      Read the article…………..

Insurance for Owners Article Archives

Buying/Selling Your Unit/Home in an Association

  • HOA basics: What to know before you buy April 29, 2017 Before signing on the dotted line for your new home, make sure you know what your homeowners association fees are and what they cover. Because most new planned communities have HOAs whether you’re buying a detached home, condo or townhome, factoring in that added cost is a necessary part of your home-buying budget. And it’s mandatory.   Read the article…………..
  • A Checklist For Selling Your Condominium April 26, 2017 You’ve been reading countless articles in the paper about overwhelming demand for real estate and, after much thought, you have decided to take advantage of the strong seller’s market and sell your condo. While many local media stories suggest that selling anything in today’s market is as easy as snapping your fingers, the purpose of this blog post is to help you with some of the important considerations that, if planned properly, will help to ensure a smooth sale.   Read ...
  • Association Disclosures Under Section 22.1 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act April 26, 2017 The focus of this article is to provide a brief overview on the disclosures provided in Illinois by a condominium association to a prospective buyer of a unit and: (a) what is mandated by law; (b) what current practice is; (c) associations’ and board members’ exposures to claims for failure to comply; and (d) action needed to remedy the ills that exist in the market today.   Read the article……………..
  • Condos may be appreciating faster than single-family houses April 18, 2017 It’s a real estate question that historically has had an easy answer: Do single-family detached houses appreciate in value faster than condominiums?  The standard answer has been: Of course single-family houses appreciate faster. They are what most Americans prefer to live in, so there’s stronger demand. They come with their own piece of land — and we all know that land is a crucial driver of value.    Read the article………………
  • Co-op and Condo Financing: A Market Overview April 17, 2017 Today, some eight years after the economic devastation of the Great Recession first began to gather steam, financing for co-op and condominium buildings and individual unit purchases is again widely available. The market is overall quite healthy, and though there have been some systemic changes to this part of the financing world as a result of that financial meltdown, today’s co-op and condo financing instruments are remarkably similar to what was typical before the bursting of the housing bubble sent ...
  • Are HOAs Taking Advantage of Mortgage Servicers? April 7, 2017 While Homeowner Association (HOA) liens for unpaid assessments typically have priority over second mortgages and other junior liens (because the HOA liens may “relate back to” the HOAs’ previously-recorded declarations), first mortgages receive special treatment in various states, such as Minnesota. Despite that special treatment, HOAs often demand payment of substantial bills by lenders foreclosing first mortgages. In addition to the regular monthly dues, the HOA bills may come riddled with line items for special assessments, attorneys’ fees, late charges, ...

Buying/Selling Article Archives

Working With Boards

  • Crystal Vision: Why Communication Between a Board and Management Company Matters April 27, 2017 As a board member, you want your community to grow and thrive. Having a vision for your community—the aesthetics of it, its reputation, the kinds of programming it offers and amenities it provides—is critical to its long-term well-being. A well-crafted vision will transcend board and resident turnover and keep your community on track.     Read the article…………….
  • How Healthy Is Your Condo Board? How to Conduct a Thorough Checkup April 25, 2017 As uncomfortable as it might be to get poked and prodded while you’re clothed in a paper gown, medical checkups are essential to maintaining your health. Well, guess what? That same wisdom applies to buying a home—particularly if that home is a condo. Why? Because with condos, you’re paying someone else to be in charge of a lot of the maintenance, from lawn mowing to repairs. What if they slack off and let that stuff go? If so, things will ...
  • Effectively Working with Master Associations April 14, 2017 Having captured what Master Associations are, the challenge is for Condo Boards to find ways to effectively work with them. While there is a tendency to ignore them to a certain degree, that path is the path to failure. The secret to effectively working with Master Associations is simple: You must take off your Board hat and put on your Owner hat. The same tricks and tips that make informed and involved Owners successful will also enable Condo Boards to ...
  • HOA Model Remodeling March 14, 2017 Owning your own home is an American dream. In urban settings, homeowner associations have become a dominant form of new construction, often representing over two thirds of new homes. While HOA homeowners have many rights and privileges, they often concede certain freedoms usually enjoyed in more traditional home ownership. One particular area of concession involves remodeling.     Read the article………….
  • The Rogue One: Directors Gone Bad March 14, 2017 A condo director unilaterally fires the property manager, hires himself in her place, enters into several other contracts without discussing it with the other directors, bullies the other owners, sues the corporation, and causes thousands of dollars in damages. It seems like an unbelievable plot for a movie, but this one is based on a true story!  Sometimes referred to as a “rogue director” or “condo commando” these directors often make decisions without approval, bully the other owners, and ignore ...
  • Workplace Communication January 10, 2017 When most teams within an organization discuss communications, we tend to focus on communication with our customers or for recruiters and HR, that’s communication with our candidates. While this is essential for successful sales as well as recruitment and hiring strategies, effective communication is essential for organizations and their teams. So, how can you ensure good internal communications without losing your primary focus on candidates and/or customers?    Read the article…………..

Working With Boards Article Archives