Working With Professionals

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Working With Managers and Management Firms

  • Sure, you can read it but this is our STANDARD LANGUAGE January 12, 2017 We have all seen onerous and unfair language in contracts, waivers, releases, invoices, disclaimers, disclosures, notices. Sometimes it is in the dreaded “fine print.” Sometimes it is in large bolded, underlined print. When one party challenges such language, we often hear the response: This is “industry standard.” Don’t agree to proposed language based on an opposing party’s assertion that it is standard or typical language. A vendor or contractor may claim that their contract is “industry standard”. Instead of negotiating what is ...
  • 7 Reasons to Hire an HOA Manager This Year January 9, 2017 How is your homeowner’s association doing? Is everything running easily and smoothly? Do you have interested members at each HOA board meeting? Is your reserve fund fully funded? What would you do if you were faced with a lawsuit or an unexpected project? If you answered no to any of these questions or don’t know the answer at all, below are 5 reasons you should consider hiring an HOA manager this year.    Read the article………….
  • Whose job is it anyway? The difference between the roles of Property Managers and the Board of Directors November 7, 2016 For most members of the condo community, the Property Manager is the face of the condo corporation. They are responsible for day-to-day running of the condo corporation, and I find that people can get confused about the difference between the roles of the Property Manager and the Board of Directors. I’ve heard board members ask “Why can’t I just let my Property Manager look after everything?” and “Isn’t it their job to do this? I don’t have time to look ...
  • Selecting the Proper Condominium Manager October 6, 2016 Question: I have owned a condominium for a long time and have served on the Board of Directors for several years. One big problem involves our condominium management firm.  What criteria should be used for selecting a management firm? What services should the management company perform? Once a contract has been signed, how often should the management be evaluated? What is the appropriate interaction between the board and the management company and its employees?  There is a lot of dissatisfaction ...

Working With Management Archives

 

Working With Attorneys

  • Check Your Privilege, HOA January 14, 2017 The attorney-client privilege is frequently misunderstood in the community associations context. When many owners request information, sometimes their board, board’s attorney or property manager asserts the attorney-client privilege. This may seem to obstruct their attempts to assess their property rights or how community funds are being spent. I recently had a conversation with a friend about an issue she raised at a HOA meeting. She asked the directors whether certain assessments were valid under the governing documents.     Read the ...
  • Want to Sue? You’ll Have to Pay to Play (NY) December 23, 2016 Despite the crazy illogic of it, some cooperatives and condominiums are repeatedly sued by litigious residents who disagree with the board’s decisions. One co-op I represent even had shareholders who were attorneys, which enabled them to sue without charging themselves any legal fees. Meanwhile, the board and the other shareholders had to absorb the cost of defending themselves against these lawsuits.  In order to stop this madness, I wrote the following amendment to the co-op’s proprietary lease (and a similar ...
  • How do you choose your lawyer? November 14, 2016 Most of my clients retained me without me ever meeting the board. To be honest, it is easy for me that way. I’m not spending time driving or preparing for the meeting. Instead, I spend time serving my existing clients. But, is it the best option for the condominium?   Read the article……………
  • The Attorney Client Privilege in Community Associations October 26, 2016 Few legal concepts rival the complexities surrounding the attorney?client privilege in community association matters. The confusion about these complexities, and the resulting misunderstandings, do not discriminate, roping in attorneys, board members, members, and managers alike. This article will shed some light on this complicated topic in the hopes that those involved with community associations will have a clearer understanding of the nature of the privilege.      Read the article…………….

Working With Attorneys Archives




Working With Accountants

  • When To Call In The Professionals To Advise Your Board February 9, 2016 Common areas of a community are vitally important. Not only do they ensure a better quality of life for residents, they also help the resale value of properties. So it makes sense that two of the most important duties of any community’s volunteer board of directors are to manage the affairs of the association and maintain the common areas. For some condominium and community associations, this also applies to the limited common elements.   Read the article……….
  • The Art of Picking Professionals: To Choose or Not to Choose November 13, 2014 Running the day-to-day business of a condo development or an HOA of any size—be it a sprawling, multi-building community, or a single self-contained building—requires not just a functional board but a team of competent outside professionals. These professionals keep things running smoothly and efficiently for residents and boards—from the legal counsel who advises board members on their responsibilities under the law to the accountant who balances the books and keeps tabs on the building’s assets to the property manager who ...
  • Essential HOA Professionals January 22, 2013 The board of a homeowner association is charged with making informed decisions. To make informed decisions requires consulting with knowledgeable professionals when the topic exceeds the board’s experience. Professional relationships that every HOA board should have include an attorney, CPA     Read more………
  • The Annual Audit -Taking Your Association’s Financial Pulse December 22, 2012 The health of your association’s finances can have a dramatic effect on the board of director’s ability to effectively maintain the property’s assets and value. In order to keep the property’s assets in good order and keep home sales on the rise, it is crucial that the board        Read more………

Working With Accountants Archives

 

Working With Insurance Agents

  • The Need for Professional Liability Insurance for Architects, Engineers and Construction Managers April 7, 2016 There are numerous insurance risks associated with every construction project, however, one of the most important policies is all too often overlooked by architects, engineers and construction managers. While many construction firms will do what they can to ensure they have coverage for builders risk, general and excess liability and workers compensation, owners fail to take into account professional liability insurance.   Read the article………….
  • When To Call In The Professionals To Advise Your Board February 9, 2016 Common areas of a community are vitally important. Not only do they ensure a better quality of life for residents, they also help the resale value of properties. So it makes sense that two of the most important duties of any community’s volunteer board of directors are to manage the affairs of the association and maintain the common areas. For some condominium and community associations, this also applies to the limited common elements.   Read the article……….
  • Does your community’s relationship with your insurance agent qualify as a “special relationship”? August 24, 2015 Does your board consider itself “special” in the eyes of your insurance agent? Do you believe your agent has a duty to advise you whether or not the coverage you are purchasing and the limits you are seeking are sufficient?    Read the article……….
  • Filing Insurance Claims: Choosing Wisely Can Save Money August 19, 2015 Boards and associations, just like individuals, carry insurance coverage to protect them from liability, loss and other financial and legal problems, although the issues may be a little different than the typical auto or single-family homeowners’ insurance. But deciding when, and if, to file a claim versus paying out of pocket can be conundrum.   Read the article……….

Working With Insurance Agents Archives

 

Working With Vendors

  • Hiring An Owner’s Rep: Save Time, Money and Peace of Mind February 17, 2017 When an Association’s Board of Directors begin exploring a new construction project, oftentimes the cost of the endeavor is at the forefront of their thought process. And rightly so; depending on the size and scope of the project, it could represent the biggest expense the Community has taken on in many years, and the biggest one it intends to incur for years to come. Therefore, Board members want to ensure that everything about the project goes smoothly, and that their ...
  • The Snow Removal Business Is a Mess February 9, 2017 As a blizzard threatened the Northeastern U.S. on Thursday morning, commercial landlords grappled with a problem that homeowners can relate to: Hiring someone to clear the snow is a slippery business.  There are plenty of good reasons to pay for snow removal services: to clear parking lots so employees can get to work and consumers can walk the aisles, to limit liability for slip-and-falls. Those imperatives helped snow plow services ring up $14.3 billion in U.S. sales last year, according ...
  • How to Resolve Issues With Reluctant Business Services January 30, 2017 Everyone makes mistakes, and businesses are no different. A provider who your association relies on may make a mistake, costing your association money. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are always willing and ready to fix the problem. To resolve issues with reluctant business services, check out these tips.    Read the article…………..
  • Competitive Bids for HOA Services January 17, 2017 When buying an expensive item, you probably shop around a bit to try and find the best price. Similarly, it’s common to shop around for different HOA services to get competitive bids and save the HOA money. If your association is considering getting competitive bids, check out these three facts.  Read the article…………

Working With Vendors Archives

 

Working With the Media

  • Local flag fight gets national attention (FL) June 25, 2014 Despite Mr. Murphree’s claims to the contrary, the Tides Condominium Association is not pursuing legal action against him for his disrespectful flag display. We seek the monies due to the Association from Mr. Murphree and other owners whose accounts are delinquent. The Board of Directors has a fiduciary responsibility to the Association and all its residents. This includes ensuring that all monies due to the Association are collected. We prefer such payments to be made voluntarily, but when they are ...
  • Fact book an eye-opener on community associations June 20, 2014 A community association is a popular lifestyle choice for many people, but it has been difficult to determine just how many — until now.  A new body of research, the “Community Association Fact Book,” tallies the numbers of associations, housing units, residents and property values for the country and each state. It was published by the Community Association Research Foundation, the research arm of the trade group Community Associations Institute in Falls Church, Va.    Read more……..
  • Community Association Residents Are Overwhelmingly Satisfied June 10, 2014 Americans who make their homes in homeowners associations and condominiums are overwhelmingly satisfied with their communities, according to national survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Foundation for Community Association Research.  Almost two-thirds of the 65 million owners and renters in common-interest communities rate their overall association experience as positive, while only 10 percent express some level of dissatisfaction. Twenty-six percent are neutral on the question.   Read PDF report………
  • What if…..? March 3, 2014 It’s no secret that HOAs get a bad rap in the public discourse. In fact the adage, it only takes one bad apple springs to mind when it comes to HOAs and Condos. Local news reporters and politicians love to play on this stereo type of association boards as overzealous, micromanaging ogres who terrorize the lives of residents trapped in communities across the country.   Read more…….

Working With the Media Archives

 

Dealing With Governments

  • Lawsuit settlement over collapsed flume/storm sewer OK’d (PA) February 17, 2017 Bob Duncan, assistant Lower Merion Township manager, said the collapse of the flume involved four properties along the upper portion of the road near the Wawa at Conshohocken State Road. The site includes one property owned and used by the Lower Merion School. The properties also include the Greenhouse Condominium Association and two smaller properties.  According to township officials, a settlement conference took place last month between a judge in the case and the five entities including the township and ...
  • Patton proposes funding plan for Dunlap Lake dredging (IL) February 17, 2017 The dredging project for Dunlap Lake has a new proposal on the table. Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton approached the Dunlap Lake Homeowners Association at their annual meeting at the Edwardsville Moose Lodge Thursday night in an effort to gather support for the estimated $4.5 million project.  Patton proposed a partnership with the City of Edwardsville and Dunlap Lake property owners, inquiring that the city puts forward an estimated $400,000 toward the project and the 355 lots on Dunlap Lake form ...
  • Mayor, HOA reps to conduct meeting February 15, 2017 Glen Carbon Mayor Rob Jackstadt has invited the presidents of area homeowners associations to a meeting at the Glen Carbon Village Hall.  The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23 in the council chambers at Village Hall, 151 N. Main Street.  Jackstadt said the meeting was planned to improve lines of communication between Glen Carbon and local HOA leaders.  “Communication with residents has always been a critical aspect of my administration since 2005,” he said. “I have been ...
  • Leesburg Faced with Dam Lawsuit (VA) February 8, 2017 The Town of Leesburg may be headed to court if no resolution can be found between the municipality and one of its largest homeowner’s associations.  The Exeter Homeowner’s Association filed a lawsuit last year seeking to get the town to take responsibility for a stormwater management dam on the HOA’s property. The HOA has since extended two settlement offers to the Town Council, both of which were rejected following discussions in closed sessions.    Read the article……………

Dealing With Governments Archives