Court Upholds Association Foreclosure for Unpaid Fines

A Connecticut court recently upheld a foreclosure action after an owner refused to pay fines assessed for her failure to construct a deck in accordance with board approved plans. Although this case was decided by a Connecticut court and is not binding in Washington, it demonstrates how a court in Washington might decide a similar […]

Denying Access: Consequences for Arrears and Non-Payment

The synopsis for the 2013 horror film The Purge is pretty extreme: in the future, society implements a 12-hour period called “the purge,” wherein any and all crime is legalized. Always wanted to vandalize your boss’s car? Thinking about shoplifting a Snickers bar? Now is the time to act on those—and other, far more nasty—antisocial […]

Is your association selectively enforcing its deed restrictions?

When a community association takes legal action to force an owner to comply with deed restrictions, the owner’s first defense is almost always “selective enforcement”. This defense essentially alleges that the association is not treating its members fairly and equally.   Read the article……….

Can an HOA Change Its Mind about Fines?

A rather unusual community association decision was issued yesterday by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Without question, the facts are rather convoluted and not of that much interest to other associations, but there’s one takeaway worth noting.   Read the article…………..

Rules are Rules

Funny story. A condominium association I represent is located in such a way that I could see their amenities – a small swimming pool and tennis courts – from my office window. One summer, the association was involved in some pretty contentious litigation over a serious, ongoing covenant violation. We were conducting depositions in my […]

Noise Rules: Keep it Down—But Keep it Fair

When you live in a multifamily building, however, peace and quiet can be hard to come by. From the guy upstairs who gargles loudly at precisely 6:47 a.m. every morning to the neighbor with the yapping Chihuahua—at some point the soundtrack of your neighbors’ lives will inevitably intrude upon your own.  Read the article………….

Going by the Book – The Importance of Following the Rules

It happens in business, government, and industry every day: employees learn the rules of a new job, and very shortly thereafter, they start taking shortcuts to circumvent them. Rarely is this done with malicious intent. More often, it is simply a matter of achieving such a familiarity or shorthand with the rules that their specificities […]

Access Denied! . . . Or is it? The Condominium Association’s Right to Request Entry to a Unit to Inspect for Default

An association of co-owners within a condominium project is responsible for enforcing the condominium project’s master deed, bylaws and any rules and regulations. In many instances, the association will be able to determine whether an alleged violation warrants a declaration of default as soon as the allegations are brought to its attention. At times, however, […]

What Roger Goodell and the NFL Can Learn from HOAs

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman’s recent voiding of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension caused shockwaves across the NFL. Though the NFL has appealed the judicial ruling, Deflategate is, well, deflated and all but gone. There are, however, valuable lessons to be emphasized for homeowner associations.    Read the article………….

Covenant Enforcement Options for HOAs

What happens when someone decides they want to put up gaudy decorations on their front lawn or decides to let the yard “go back to nature” rather than mow it and keep it in shape? What do you do when a house in the community has a van parked out front where they allow their […]

Dog Poop and HOA Compliance

Picture this: you’re walking through your community’s common area with your family, enjoying an early-evening walk when you hear a distinctive “SQUISH”. You’ve just stepped in poop. Gross!  There are very few things that can ruin a nice walk faster than stepping in a pile of dog poop. If your neighborhood suffers from constant “gifts” […]

Best Practices for Community Association Covenant Compliance

The role of a Community Association is to maintain a quality standard of living for their community. These associations protect property values by maintaining common areas and outlining a set of rules that each resident must adhere to, commonly called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Establishing clear rules, notice procedures, enforcement policies and hearing procedures are […]

Does the Board Have a Duty to Enforce the Master Deed, Bylaws…..As Written?

In Michigan, the terms of a master deed, bylaws or other restrictive covenants are contractual in nature. See Rossow v. Brentwood Farms Dev, Inc, 251 Mich App 652, 658, 651 NW2d 458 (2002). The Michigan Courts have generally held that a master deed, bylaws or other restrictive covenants are to be enforced as written. Specifically, Read […]

Private Zoning vs. Public Zoning: A Community Association Dilemma

Question: My husband and I have recently retired, and are supplementing our income by giving music lessons in our home. Recently, the Board of Directors of our condominium association has advised us that our legal documents specifically state that our unit can only be used for residential purposes and that no business of any kind […]

Don’t Disregard the Formalities of Due Process

The formalities of the law and due process are in place to protect the rights of individuals. When the procedures of due process are skirted it can strip a community association of the ability to enforce its rules or levy fines.    Read the article………..

You Can’t Enforce That!!! Oh yes we can.

It is not unusual for us to encounter communities with strict restrictive covenants that have not been enforced in a strict manner.  Much of the time, this is due to apathy or ignorance.  In other circumstances, Board turnover results in more enforcement.      Read the article………….

Because It’s The Rules

There are seemingly two types of people who live in houses or condominiums that are subject to rules and regulations, known as Codes, Covenants and Restrictions, or “CC&R’s.” There are those who live there because there are CC&R’s, and there are those who live there despite the fact that there are CC&R’s. The concept behind […]

Adverse Impact on “Quiet Enjoyment” in Your HOA, What Does That Mean?

Legalese is challenging sometimes. Words and phrases like fiduciary duty, waiver and hold harmless, and impact on quiet enjoyment are bandied about like everyone should know that they mean.  Most HOA or condo documents have a prohibition of some kind on activities that disturb the “quiet enjoyment” of an owner.     Read the article………..

Time Warner Center (NY) condo board wins right of first refusal suit

A former resident of the Time Warner Center lost his court battle to sell his unit at the Related Cos. luxury property to a buyer of his choice, with an appellate court ruling that the condo board properly exercised its right of first refusal by demanding that he sell the unit to a building resident […]

When Hoarding Becomes A Hazard For The Other Residents

This case involving a housing co-operative provides a good (but sad) example of the difficulties faced by a corporation (be it condominium or co-operative) when faced with a hoarder. In this case, the co-operative appears to have taken all required steps to protect the other co-owners and the corporation. It involved the Police Department, the […]

The Bare Facts about Covenant Enforcement

It’s that time of year again, when the weather is changing and people are spending more time….naked in their doorways? No, this is not an early April Fool’s joke. According the neighbors of the Cardinal Glen’s HOA in North Carolina, this is a problem they’ve had to deal with without any help from the police. […]

A Fine Line: Penalties Meant to Enforce Compliance with Condo Rules

Break the rules. Pay a fine. Repeat.  That’s not the way it’s supposed to work—but community associations that don’t keep penalties for rules infractions up to date may find that residents consider it easier (and possibly cheaper) to pay fines than comply with the regulations.        Read more……..

Policies Association Must Have

Many of the standard rules that are included in the condominium documents are insufficient. Policies may not have the same force as rules and may not be adopted in the same manner. If the Association wants to fine for violation, the items should be adopted as rules. Policies are for guidance.   Read more……..

Hearings and Enforcement: The Other Dispute Resolution Procedure

The California Legislature turned its attention to Internal Dispute Resolution, or “IDR,” in 2014. As a result, Associations must now allow homeowners to bring an attorney, or a third party, to IDR meetings. (The changes are in Civil Code Sections 5910(f) and 5915(b)(4).)    Read more……..

Hierarchy of Rules

You probably read plenty of articles on our blog in which we remind associations to ensure they have adopted and are enforcing their responsible governance policies and rules and regulations. While owners have a legal obligation to comply with the covenants and rules, this may not extend to rules that are in violation of or […]

Dealing With Noise in Your Condo

Question: I recently purchased a condominium unit and live on the third floor. I have a noise problem with the unit above me. I can hear the people walking back and forth, getting out of bed and everyday normal activities. New owners purchased that condo last week. I believe the previous owner installed a low […]

Understand HOA fines ahead of time

Not long ago a California court ordered a man to pay $70,000 for violating a homeowner association (HOA) rule limiting the number of rose bushes he could have to 14.      Read more……..

Defining a Nuisance in your Community

If you live in a shared ownership community, you have likely heard the term “nuisance” bandied about now and then. It is an unfortunate byproduct of living in close quarters with others that at some point, another person’s conduct may impact your enjoyment of your home.      Read more………..

Don’t Get Scrooged By Your Neighbors During the Holidays

Holidays are time for out of town visitors, lots of parties with family and friends, and the inevitable traffic that all of the festivities bring with them. Unfortunately, not all neighbors and communities welcome the season and all that it brings with open arms. Typical complaints that many boards deal with during the holiday season […]

Homeowners Association Rules for a Holly Jolly Holiday Season

The holidays are just around the corner, and for many homeowners association members that means a lot of festivities with friends and loved ones. With all of the merriment that’s sure to ensue, it’s important that residents who are hosting celebrations are not only considerate of their neighbors, but also take note of the Association’s […]

“But Jimmy’s got one…”

Tired of hearing phrases like that each time you send a violation letter? Tired of feeling like you are back in grade school? Enforcement of covenants seems to bring out the same questions of fairness we had when we were all children. We want to be treated fairly and we don’t want to be told […]

What is that Word Wednesdays – Fining Committee (FL)

This week’s word is Fining Committee.   A fining committee also known as a compliance committee, violation committee, grievance or rules enforcement committee administers the fining process when a resident fails to re-mediate violations. The fining committee is the last arbiter that a resident who is accused of rules violation has.    Read more……..

Squeaky Wheels, Autocrats and Sensible Rules Enforcement

The noisy neighbors always seem to get the attention in community associations. You can live in a beautifully maintained well-run community where everything goes according to Hoyle 99% of the time, but then one individual decides to make a fuss about a rules enforcement issue. The whole world looks at your association like a reincarnation […]

Not In My Front Yard! Resident‘s Rights and Rules

Whether you choose to live in a co-op, condo, or single-family home may impact your lifestyle even more than the style of the kitchen inside your place, or even how many bedrooms it contains. That’s because the type of home can signify the number of rules and rights that will dominate your life—even inside your […]

Enforcing Rules by Imposing Fines

One of the most common topics that our firm’s other community association attorneys and I are asked about is how to enforce association rules against residents who purposefully and repeatedly violate them. First and foremost, it is important that rules and regulations, and other requirements set forth in an association’s governing documents, be enforced uniformly […]

Developing Effective Noise Policies

Neighbors in condominium units live as close to each other as neighbors can. Consequently, excessive noise is one of the most common complaints condominium association management companies receive. If your condominium community is experiencing a rash of noise complaints, there are better solutions than trying to insulate walls against sound. Below are some helpful tips […]

Cancellation of violation hearings

What should the board do when an owner requests a hearing to dispute a violation and repeatedly cancels the hearing? Ohio statutes for both Condominium and Homeowners’ Associations have provisions which mandate the procedures a board must follow prior to imposing a fine against an owner for a violation of the covenant restrictions or rules […]

Homeowners Association Tips: Noise Disputes

One of the most persistent and difficult issues landlords, managers and community associations must face are noise disputes. They can be quite difficult to resolve since they cause much unrest and issues with the people involved. If the association acts fast though, the problem could be solved effectively and quietly without things being dragged into […]

Condos Use DNA to Track Down Dogs

How to handle poop – particularly pet poop – is becoming a growing problem for community associations. Owners are always required to pick up after their dog, and many associations actually provide free “poop bags” to assist in this clean up. But not everyone complies with the rules. There are reports of owners who pretend […]

There’s no witness protection program in community associations

Before seeking to enforce rule violations, the board must insist that complaints be submitted in writing and contain the date, signature, address, and phone number of the person filing the complaint. Implementing this type of policy for complaints serves several purposes.

The Mailbox Rule

Homeowners often claim that they did not receive notice of their delinquency from the Association. Sometimes this assertion comes up after the Association files suit against the homeowner. Fortunately, the “Mailbox Rule” can allow the Association to overcome this allegation.  Read more……

Constructively Managing Conflict in HOAs: Tip #2

For those of you who follow our Colorado HOA law blog, you know that last week I started a series of blog entries aimed at providing tips on how to constructively manage conflict in HOAs. I’m convinced that if homeowners, board members and managers keep these tips in mind, it will give everyone involved a […]

Chalk Another One Up to Bad Communication

I recently read an article about a homeowner in Texas who received a violation notice from her homeowners association as a result of chalk drawings left on her driveway by her son – something the owner and neighbors do not feel the Association’s governing rules specifically address. The article goes on to state that the […]

Tips for Handling Uncooperative Tenants in a Homeowners Association

As a Board member of a homeowners association you have many duties. Sometimes you might feel like you’re in a tug-of-war when dealing with uncooperative tenants who refuse to adhere to the rules. The Board must act in these situations though and the group needs to stand firm in all matters.    Read more….

5 ways communities persuade dog owners to pick up poo

In 2010, the problem of dog excrement was one of America’s biggest gripes, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. But despite posted signs, HOA regulations and looks of disapproval from passersby, some dog owners just don’t clean up after their pets.   Read More……