Hiring a Building Restoration Management Consultant and Advocate (FL)

In my forty (40) years of managing community associations, and providing building restoration management services, I have experienced a wide range of repair solutions necessary for many different types of construction due to coastal environment corrosion. The aging of buildings along Florida’s coast lines is not consistent, not typical, each is unique, and all require […]

It’s That Time of Year Again…Now What? (FL)

The snowbirds and spring breakers have all returned home. The weather is warmer, and the days are longer. The summer vacationers have not yet arrived but will soon be here. Unfortunately, this also signifies the potential arrival of a dreaded and uninvited guest: a hurricane. While hurricanes are unpleasant, as with many things in life, […]

Hurricane Preparation Shutters language for rules (FL)

This blog post suggests some helpful hurricane preparation language, rules, and advice.  Your association should have a vastly more detailed set of specifications for shutters, etc. base on your history, location, type of construction, and preferences as a group.  However, here are some helpful language to consider when preparing your own set of hurricane preparation […]

Vacation Rentals and Community Associations (FL)

Over the past few years, Airbnb and VRBO (collectively referred to as “Vacation Rentals”) have become a very popular form of short-term rental. Vacation Rentals include a range of rentals from houses, condos, or in some instances rooms for a period under 30 days’ at a time. While some owners believe they have this right […]

Hurricane Preparedness for Florida Condos & HOAs

Every year, natural disasters destroy hundreds of homes, cause catastrophic damage to thousands of others and change families’ lives. In Florida, hurricane seasons vary, with two or three storms some seasons, sometimes followed by a much-welcomed, prolonged period without a major storm. Living in a hurricane-prone area can be troublesome, and condo and homeowners association […]

I’d Like to Submit a Complaint. . .

One of the most important roles of a community association board is enforcement of its association’s governing documents, including CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations. One way a board may become aware of alleged violations of the governing documents is through owner-submitted complaints. In some communities, reviewing owner-submitted complaints can be a full-time job and […]

Getting rid of amenities: Is it worth the trouble?

2024 has not delivered much financial relief. Money continues to be tight and everyone is feeling the pinch. Naturally, organizations are looking for new and creative ways to save or generate money, and governed communities are no different.  Condo and HOA members may be considering wealth-building initiatives including charging for visitor parking, upgrading to more […]

4 Step Process to Enforcing Condominium Bylaws

Enforcing condominium bylaws is essential for maintaining the harmony and integrity of a community. At Hirzel Law, we understand the complexities involved in this process and offer a straightforward four-step approach to ensure compliance and resolve conflicts effectively. Here’s a detailed guide on how to enforce condominium bylaws, incorporating our expert process:   Read the article…………………………….

Avoid These Common Board Member Mistakes: A Guide For Condos And HOAs

Being a board member for a condominium association or homeowners’ association can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. From managing finances to resolving conflicts among residents, board members play a crucial role in maintaining the community’s well-being. However, even the most well-intentioned board members can make mistakes […]

Service Provider Selection Process for HOA Board Members: A Comprehensive Guide

Selecting the right service providers on behalf of the association is a critical responsibility for HOA board members. This process impacts the quality of services provided to the community and reflects on the board’s ability to manage community resources effectively. Here’s a detailed guide to help board members navigate the service provider selection process efficiently […]

The Ethics of the Fiduciary Duty from the Litigators’ Lens

The topic of an association’s board of directors’ fiduciary duties is not new to this publication. However, as trial attorneys that have seen a lot of HOA litigation, including representing community management companies, we have seen how this duty plays out in court cases for both board members and community managers. Moreover, as our industry […]

To Give or Receive: A Guide to Crafting a Gifting Policy for Managers, Management Companies, and Boards

Gift-giving in the workplace amongst managers, management companies and vendors can be a thoughtful gesture, but it can also be complicated by the untrue perceptions or lack of understanding where “the line” is. To ensure a positive and ethical environment, management companies need clear gifting policies that managers and our vendor partners understand and abide […]

Four Steps to Amending HOA Covenants, Bylaws, and Rules

Homeowners’ associations evolve over time as the world around us changes. For example, a new law gets enacted (e.g., marijuana legalization), or new safety or communication needs arise. Sometimes in response, an HOA must create a new rule or amend a bylaw. Boards must know how to change HOA rules properly. You’ll want to be […]

Using mediation to resolve HOA foreclosure disputes (CT)

Foreclosure can be tough for everyone involved, especially within a Homeowners Association (HOA). When foreclosure is looming, both community relationships and financial stability are at risk. In such cases, mediation can be a powerful, less aggressive and more cost-effective solution compared to court proceedings.    Read the article…………………………….

Keeping Your Community Association Solvent in A High Inflation Economy

If you are like me, you are becoming acutely aware of rising costs in our current economic environment. While inflation appears to be cooling off a bit, it certainly is not coming down at the rate necessary for most Americans to see much of a difference. In a post COVID world, we have seen prices […]

Breaking the Barrier: Getting Your First Reserve Study!

Whether it’s been years or decades, every association faces the need to get its first Reserve Study. Sometimes the trigger is new legislation, a big special assessment that the owners don’t want to repeat, a new board, a volunteer finally tiring of the task and risk of preparing the Reserve Study in-house, or just concern […]

Conflicting Interests In Your HOA

When people are elected to positions of power, there is always the possibility that a conflict of interest will develop. It is almost impossible to avoid them but how they are handled is critical. For example, when it comes time for painting your homeowner association and there isn’t enough money to do the whole job […]

HOAs and political signs

Few things divide a community the way politics do, and considering 2024 is a U.S. presidential election year, HOAs might already be thinking about strategies to minimize conflicts between neighbors.  Read the article…………………………….

Block Parties in Community Associations

Block parties are an excellent way for residents in condo associations and HOAs to come together and celebrate community spirit.  Here are nine considerations for board member to ensure these events are not only fun but also safe and compliant with association rules and local laws.   Read the article…………………………….

Some Quick Rules About Making Rules (FL)

Boards of Florida condominium associations and homeowner associations are allowed to make rules regarding use of the common areas, access to records, the right to speak at meetings,and in a few other areas.  Here are a few rules regarding rules:   Read the article…………………………….

Insuring Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on HOA Grounds (CA)

QUESTION. Are homeowners who install an EV charging station required to carry insurance and name the association as an additional insured? –Andrew S.   ANSWER. Yes, owners are required to carry insurance. Unfortunately, the Legislature created some confusion over the additional insured requirement.     Read the Q&A………………………………..

HVAC Defects in New Brooklyn Condo: Who Pays for the Fix? (NY)

Five years ago, a man bought an apartment in a newly construction Brooklyln condominium. From the beginning there were problems with the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. The problems persist, and the repair cost is now $90,000. The sponsor has taken repair funds out of the building’s operating budget, leaving the budget in the red […]

Spring Is Here – Time To Get Your Architectural Review House In Order

Winter is over and spring has finally arrived! For many homeowners this means that the time has come to begin thinking about home improvement projects. Installing gardens, refreshing landscaping, expanding patios, constructing sheds, and house painting are common spring and summer projects. For associations, and their architectural review committees, this could mean an influx of […]

The Art of Taking Meeting Minutes

Taking good meeting minutes is a bit of an art form; on the one hand, minutes should be brief (hence the term “minutes”), but on the other hand minutes need to contain enough information to accurately report all actions that took place during the meeting. So, what is the secret to taking good meeting minutes?  […]

Best Practices to Combat Payment Fraud

Community association management companies are under siege from high-tech con artists determined to rip them off. From phishing schemes and business email compromise attacks to account takeovers and vendor impersonation, fraudsters have become more brazen and sophisticated.    Read the article…………………………….

The role of the HOA in managing insurance claims for condos and co-ops

When a disaster, such as a fire or a storm, strikes a condominium or cooperative, the homeowners’ association (HOA) plays a crucial role in managing the insurance claims process. As a governing body, the HOA must ensure that damage to communal areas and shared structures is addressed promptly and efficiently. This includes filing claims with […]

Avoiding the Pitfalls of HOA Lending

Spend a few minutes with any industry banker and they can in succinct fashion tell you the nuances of association lending, such as: the loan1 must be for a specific stated purpose; it is considered a commercial loan between the bank and the association as a corporate entity and not the individual homeowners; and the […]

Beware of Scams Related to the Corporate Transparency Act

There has been a great deal written lately about the impact and filing requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act, which is a 2021 federal law aimed at detecting money laundering, terrorist finance and other illicit financial activity. Community associations have been told they are not exempt, and their directors must comply with the Act’s new […]

The Increasingly Complex Board Election Process (CA)

The Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code (“CC”) §§5100-5145) mandates the following board election process for incorporated and unincorporated associations. Failing to comply with this process can lead to owner challenges of the election results and litigation, which in turn can lead to the election being voided, the association paying the challenging owner’s […]

Condos In Hawaii: 3 Key Issues To Know

Some 400,000 of us here in the islands live in condos, governed by quasi-governmental agencies.  Sometimes residents can face legal fees in the thousands over fairly minor disputes, as Stewart Yerton has reported. And for some, insurance costs have skyrocketed lately.    Watch the video………………………….

Vacation Rentals and Community Associations (FL)

Over the past few years, Airbnb and VRBO (collectively referred to as “Vacation Rentals”) have become a very popular form of short-term rental. Vacation Rentals include a range of rentals from houses, condos, or in some instances rooms for a period under 30 days’ at a time. While some owners believe they have this right […]

Best Practices for Disaster Preparedness and Response in Arizona HOAs

In Arizona, where natural disasters such as wildfires and floods are not uncommon, an effectively tailored emergency response plan is imperative for Homeowners Associations (HOAs) to safeguard lives, properties, and maintain order amidst chaos. These plans are critical in reducing confusion, preventing unnecessary expenses, and minimizing the risks of fraud during and after a disaster.  […]

Maximizing Efficiency with Technology in HOA Management in AZ

HOA management in AZ has transformed with the advent of technology, providing homeowners associations (HOAs) and property management services an edge in administrative efficiency and community engagement. Technology streamlines the exhaustive processes involved in HOA management, from financial record-keeping and dues processing to maintenance coordination and community oversight.    Read the article…………………………….

Does a Condominium Have a 115% Cap on Increasing Assessments? (FL)

The increase in costs, especially insurance premiums, have been difficult for condominium associations in the past couple of years. I have been asked on many occasions if there is a cap on increasing the budget by more than 115% from the previous year.   Read the article…………………………….

What New HOA Board Members Need to Know: A Comprehensive Guide

Becoming a new board member of a Homeowners Association (HOA) board is both an honor and a responsibility. As a board member, you’re entrusted with the stewardship of your community, ensuring its smooth operation and the well-being of its members and residents. Here are some things that will help you to be an effective and […]

Q&A: Regulating Risk

Q. During the warmer months, owners in our condominium building have noticed a few e-bikes/scooters with lithium batteries around our community. At night these e- bikes/scooters seem to be housed in owners’ or renters’ dwellings. Based on some news stories we’ve seen (although I’m sure they are pretty isolated incidents), we have concerns that these […]

Holding Orderly, Efficient Annual Meetings – It’s Not as Hard as It Seems!

Talk to anyone familiar with common-interest community governance anywhere in the country, and they will tell you the same thing: apathy is rampant among residents of co-ops, condos, and HOAs. Not only is it difficult to get owners and shareholders to run for their boards of directors, but it’s a struggle to even get them […]

Fund HOA Reserves: How to Fund a Condominium or Townhome

A critical position that every board member is in is managing and supporting the HOA reserve fund. Even when it seems impossible, discouraging, or outright unnecessary, its very purpose and best practices proves all of that wrong. Let’s peel back the curtain and see how HOA reserve funding is achieved with careful strategy and tools […]

Boards & Boundaries: How ‘Available’ Should You Be?

In multifamily residential communities, where neighbors share common space, amenities, and maintenance—if not actual walls—establishing and maintaining boundaries can be a bit tricky……Non-physical boundaries are yet another thing. Living in close proximity to one’s neighbors requires a certain tolerance of other people being in one’s business, as well as (one hopes) a certain restraint in […]

Managing Four Common Types of Conflict in HOA and Condo Communities

Conflict within HOA and condo management teams is inevitable and can arise in four primary forms. Anyone who has worked with community associations knows that conflicting opinions are common. For example, I recall a well-intentioned board passionately arguing over the selection of paint colors. Since everyone’s goal was to increase property values, all members agreed […]

Tree Care & Maintenance: Keeping Your Biggest Landscaping Elements Healthy

Trees provide us with many benefits, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious. Whether your community is an urban high-rise surrounded by hundreds of others, or a sprawling suburban development with acres of grounds, its trees are an integral part of the landscape—one that we often take for granted, but which requires specific, dedicated care and […]

Smooth Transitions: HOA Turnover Tips for Florida Developers

Developers who create residential subdivisions in Florida are typically obligated to form a homeowners’ association (HOA) to govern the community. Mandated by permitting authorities like counties, cities, and water management districts, the HOA manages the subdivision’s common areas, such as open spaces, retention ponds, stormwater management systems, amenity centers, parks, entry features, walking trails, and […]

Association Contracts (FL)

Whether your community association is a condominium, cooperative, or a homeowners’ association, Florida law empowers your association to enter into contracts in connection with the maintenance and operation of the community. Often times, your association is all but required to contract with third parties in order to maintain and operate the community, as it does […]

Lifting the HOA Veil

In real estate sales, sellers are required to disclose any material fact that any prudent buyer would want to know before completing a purchase. Property located over a toxic waste dump would be an obvious example of disclosure and the need for it. There are less catastrophic issues, like roof condition or a leaking crawlspace […]

Water damage in condo buildings (IL)

The irony. Your condo building stretches 20 storeys high, but it took less than 20 minutes for your floor to be engulfed by water.  When a pipe bursts in a condo building, it doesn’t take long for the water to fill up hallways, stairwells and individual units. The incident may end quickly, but the effects […]

Effective Board Leadership: A Strategic Approach

Prioritize goal setting with tangible outcomes. Establishing result-oriented goals should be the initial focus for all board members. These goals should stem from a thorough evaluation of the association’s current needs and its future aspirations.   Read the article…………………………….

How NYC co-op and condo boards can crackdown on illegal short-term rentals

New York City’s crackdown on illegal short-term rentals has made it more difficult for apartment owners and renters to skirt the law and rent out their units. But illegal short-term rental schemes haven’t disappeared completely.  Just two months ago, the city levied $845,000 in fines against a real estate firm for an alleged illegal Airbnb […]