HOA Lessons Learned – Case 1 Construction After the Fact

Construction projects are often a part of a condominium association board’s most impactful business and can define the year, or several years, as these projects can be large and far-reaching, changing the nature of a community. In Florida, an appellate case highlighted the need for strict compliance by the condominium board of directors to their […]

HOA Lessons Learned – Case 2 Horse Trail

HOA governing documents typically can be amended, including to change how members may use the community property. However, it is critical to understand the process required to amend the documents effectively. In Washington state, an appellate case highlighted the need to clearly understand the precise language of the governing documents to make changes to them. […]

HOA Lessons Learned – Case 3 Lease Agreement

As nightly rentals and short-term leasing accelerate in community associations, HOA boards have been challenged to both meet the desires of their individual members while balancing the wishes and interests of their wider communities. It is not uncommon for new, tighter leasing restrictions to be added to an HOA’s governing documents, but when these documents […]

Exposed! True Tales of HOA Audit Trouble

We conduct a lot of HOA and community association audits and related financial procedures each year. The vast majority uncover nothing more than a few easily corrected mistakes or minor procedural errors – a testament to sound financial oversight by boards and property managers.    Read the article……………………………….

Community Association Board of Directors: Essential Roles and Duties

Many Georgia community associations recently held their annual meeting and elected a new board of directors. One of the common questions facing community association volunteer leaders after election to the HOA board of directors is, “What are my duties and responsibilities?”  Read the article………………………………

HOA Law Tip: How to Properly Conduct Board Business by Email Without a Meeting (GA)

As HOA and condominium association boards of directors continue to operate their communities under unusual and often difficult conditions created by the pandemic, many boards are turning to email correspondence to handle board votes on routine HOA business. With the increased popularity of email votes, boards should consult with an HOA attorney to ensure that […]

Civility Resolutions (GA)

While disputes between owners and board members in community associations are nothing new, tensions have continued to rise during the current COVID-19 pandemic. You may have personally experienced an uncivil encounter with an owner, whether in the community or on social media, about your community, your community’s board of directors, current events, or some other […]

7 Tips For Better HOA Financial Reporting And Management

Financial reporting and management are key components of your job as a homeowner association (HOA) manager. Your clients depend on you to help them keep the HOA in good financial standing. This includes everything from day-to-day tasks like collecting fees and paying bills on the HOA’s behalf to assisting your client during annual audits and […]

Facing The Future: 8 Ways 2020 Will Continue To Affect Community Associations In 2021

Remember this time last year, when the biggest problems facing community associations included short-term rentals, emotional support animals, and short-wave radio antennas? Those were the days!  2020 taught us that there are much bigger things to worry about in this world. Half of us got our own emotional support animal (or at least thought about […]

Cause & Effect: How New Georgia HOA Laws Impact the Holidays

As we look optimistically towards 2021, we remain in awe of the volunteers and professionals who kept community associations functioning through unprecedented times.  Community associations and the professionals that they partner with faced more than 16 Executive Orders impacting HOA and condominium association operations and three new Georgia laws passed by the Georgia Legislature during […]

Five Financial Tips for New HOA Board Members

Congratulations, you’ve been elected to your HOA board! As a board member, you have a fiduciary duty to use sound business judgment in your role. That means you need to think like a business owner and not just a committee member – and that includes understanding the HOA’s financials.  As a new board member, you […]

The Role of Community Association Treasurer

Last, but certainly not least in our blog series exploring the roles of Association officers, we discuss the role of the Treasurer. Like the Association Secretary, the Treasurer may delegate many of the tasks for which he or she is responsible to the association’s managing agent; however, the Treasurer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that […]

How To Deal With False HOA Mistakes

Like any organization, homeowners associations (HOAs) make mistakes. Even the best HOA can suffer from occasional mismanagement, human error, and other problems that negatively impact residents. Association managers can help their clients handle mistakes. When the association is at fault, managers can mediate the HOA dispute and resolve it.   Read the article…………………………

HOA Financial Management in the New Normal

The direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for a while. Careers have been interrupted, we’ve actually gotten used to working from home, and travel – business and vacation – has been severely limited. On the bright side, we’re spending more time with family and friends, getting to those home-improvement […]

5 Tips To Improve HOA Communications

Healthy communication is the key to successfully managing homeowners’ associations. HOAs need to keep its members informed about any changes in the association’s rules, important announcements, and business matters, such as how the board spends the HOA’s money. Communication can also enhance the quality of the HOA by fostering a greater sense of community among […]

Six HOA Financial Mistakes to Avoid

In pandemic times like these, it’s always a good idea to revisit the basics and ensure your HOA financial practices are in order. Through the years, we have looked at a number of HOA financial mistakes and provided advice on how to fix as well as prevent these regretful blunders.    Read the article…………………………………

Appeals Court Nixes Order Declaring Water Damage Covered Under State Condo Act (GA)

Reversing a trial judge, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a relatively low-dollar dispute over damage from a leaky water heater that the winning lawyer said finally clarifies that a statute requiring “fire and extended coverage” for condominium associations does not extend to water damage. Read the decision (PDF)…………………………….

5 Costly Financial Mistakes To Avoid In Your HOA’s Budget

Proper budgeting can be an art. When carefully planned and well-executed, a homeowners association (HOA) budget can serve to improve the lives of everyone in the HOA community. A reasonable HOA budget helps ensure that the association has a bright future. It creates more resources for improvements, maintenance, and amenities for residents.   Read the article……………………………………

2nd Edition: HOA Audit Tales of Terror (GA)

Halloween is around the corner and along with scary clowns and vampires come HOA Audit Tales of Terror from your BJM team. The word “audit” alone can be scary and bring up fears of long hunts for missing receipts or accusations about erroneous accounting treatment. In reality, most audits confirm sound fiscal procedures and financial […]

Avoiding Campaign Sign Controversy in Your Community

As summer comes to a close and the leaves begin to fall, every day is one day closer to Election Day. Although the November election is still two months away, residents around Metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia have begun to show their full support of candidates facing election, through proud displays of campaign signs. Given […]

How To Manage HOA Violations

As a homeowner association (HOA) manager, dealing with violations is often the least enjoyable part of the job. Yet it’s also one of your most important duties. Your HOA clients are counting on you to help keep their community safe, peaceful, and welcoming to all residents. That’s why you need to know how to manage […]

Demonstrating that Your HOA Cares (GA)

The coronavirus pandemic has hit every household to some extent. In some cases, that means more residents are spending more time at home as work, school, and other activities remain virtual. Unfortunately, the economic disruption has also hit home, with many families struggling to make ends meet. This may impact their ability to maintain homes […]

Tips To Reduce HOA Violations

No one likes homeowner association (HOA) violations. Board members don’t like to see people break the rules, residents don’t like being penalized, and HOA managers don’t like to play the role of the enforcer. But HOA rules are important for the overall success of the community. Many HOA rules cover noise, parking, holiday decorations, landscaping, […]

Cost Of HOA Audits

A homeowners association (HOA) audit can be expensive. Depending on your client’s needs, HOA audits cost between $4000 and $6000. This is because an HOA audit is a very thorough, time-consuming process that must be performed by a certified public accountant (CPA). However, the cost of an HOA audit is a valuable investment for any […]

Keeping Association Management Data Safe From Unauthorized Users

Data protection is important for any business. When you’re an association manager, it’s vital to protect your clients’ data to earn the continued trust of clients and to retain their business. Managing a homeowner association (HOA) or condominium association (COA) requires you to process a lot of private, personal information about your clients and the […]

What Not To Do When You Receive Communications From Your HOA Board

As the manager for homeowner associations (HOAs), it’s important to develop a good relationship with your client’s board. The HOA board is the association’s leadership, setting its policies and community guidelines. Association boards are made up of members who live in the community and oversee its direction, however, most board members also have full-time jobs […]

Avoid Issues Arising From Unwelcome Financial Surprises

As we prepare thousands of HOA, individual, and business tax returns while helping clients avoid tax surprises, we also want to help community association property managers and board members avoid common budget and financial surprises.  Here are 10 potential surprises, and how to avoid or address them:   Read the article…………………………

20/20 Vision on Your HOA’s 2020 Financials

Whether you are a property manager, a management company principal, a new or a seasoned community board member – a clear 20/20 vision of your Homeowner Association’s 2020 budget begins today. It may seem a little early for this discussion, but it is better to understand your community’s financial health now, so you have plenty […]

Prohibiting Weapons on Association Property (GA)

The debate over gun control may rank amongst one of the most divisive issues across the nation. With tragedies such as Columbine, and the more recent Aurora, Colorado theater shootings, many groups are pushing for stricter gun control laws across the nation, while others are standing their ground to preserve their Second Amendment rights. Every […]

Georgia Courts Strike a Blow to HOAs

Recently, the Georgia Court of Appeals rendered a decision that will negatively impact many homeowners associations that have not yet adopted the Georgia Property Owners Association Act.   Read the PDF………………………………..

Annual Meeting – Make it the Best

Has this happened to you? You send your annual meeting notice, prepare reports to present to your homeowners, prepare ballots, get ready for the association’s most important event of the year, but too few people show up to establish a quorum. Or, enough show up to establish a quorum, but it’s mostly those owners unhappy […]

Keeping It Civil: How a Civility Resolution Can Help Your Community (GA)

Disputes between owners and board members in community associations are nothing new. It’s likely that, at some point, your Board of Directors has experienced or will experience an uncivil encounter with an owner, whether in the community, at an Association meeting, or even on social media. Most of these situations are isolated passing incidents, but […]

HOA Dispute Over Backyard Playset, Other Amenities Snowballs Into Federal Lawsuit

As was chronicled in a recent article in the Gainesville Times newspaper, Martin Moreira and his wife Zulema filed suit against the Pointe West Homeowner’s Association after their plans for a backyard makeover were nixed by the association. They filed the discrimination complaint in federal court in April after the HOA had issued fines and […]

Community Association Keys to Financial Success

Pretty much every community association starts out financially sound. The common areas, amenities and building are shiny and new, and the developer maintains everything. Then the developer turns over the community to the residents, time passes, board members come and go, and the community starts to age. The real challenge is to maintain that financial […]

Court affirms homeowners association’s right to restrict leasing (GA)

Fard Pasha filed suit against the Battle Creek Homeowners Association, Inc. (the “Association”), seeking a declaratory judgment that an amendment to the Association’s “Declaration”—which restricted the ability of the neighborhood’s homeowners to lease their property—was unenforceable as to him.  Read the decision…………………..

3 Solutions to Common Holiday HOA Issues

Residential property management can become challenging during the holidays when residents begin violating rules that help make the community better for everyone. Most residents aren’t doing this purposefully — they’re likely not aware of the rules. Here are three common problems that you’re likely to face this holiday season and solutions to help you effectively […]

Drone Use in Community Associations (GA)

Whether we like it or not, drones are a reality today. Just like all exciting new technology –whether iPhones or robots –many worry foremost that their privacy is at risk. As drones become more commonplace, will we be vulnerable to unwanted surveillance or stalking? Will neighbors, strangers, the government or big companies use drones to […]

What exactly are members entitled to see? (GA)

Homeowners ask much from their boards of directors and managers, but one of the most common and often contentious requests is to review association books and records. Whether the request comes from an owner simply looking for more information on community operations or a disgruntled owner with an agenda, owners’ expectations of what records they […]

Is Your Georgia Condominium In Compliance with the Law? Mandatory Georgia Insurance Requirements

Condominium regulations in Georgia are outlined in the Georgia Code. Section 44-3-107 specifically addresses insurance coverage requirements for condominiums. Broadly speaking, condominium unit owners are not obligated by statute to maintain insurance, but condominium associations are. Per the Code, condominium associations in Georgia must have casualty insurance policies and liability insurance policies.   Read the article……………………………

Insurer prevails on late claim dispute against homeowners association

QBE Insurance Corp. was justified in denying a homeowners association’s claim for hailstorm damage because it filed its claim nine months late, and failed to adequately explain the late notice, says a federal appeals court in upholding a lower court ruling.  Read the article…………..

Community Association and HOA Board Finance 101

Every month, your property management company, a board member, or someone with financial experience should be producing some sort of financial reporting for your community. These reports provide an overview of your community’s revenue and expenses against your financial projections or budget. If not, this should be your first order of business at the next […]

Striving To Success – Lessons learned from eight years on an HOA Board of Directors

Neal Bach, President of the Atlanta, Georgia accounting firm Bach, James, Mansour & Company, was published in the January/February 2015 edition of CAI’s Common Ground™ magazine published by Community Associations Institute. In this article, Bach shares his own community association leadership experience and offers valuable tips to help members thrive (or survive) on a community […]

CAI Best Practices: Ethics

Simply put, when someone is employing ethics, he or she recognizes what is right and what is wrong and is choosing to do the right thing; however, as a great deal of business ethics literature will attest, “the right thing” is not always straightforward. For example, most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply […]

Top 5 Community Association Financial Fails

As a CPA (and HOA board member) who has been providing tax and audit support to community associations for over 15 years, I work mostly with communities and property management companies that are well-run and trying to stay that way. However, every once in a while I run into a situation that causes a double-take. […]

Look Twice Before You Cash That Check!!

The general rule in community association collections is that any payment on a delinquent account is a good thing, even if the payment is for less than the full amount owed. However, depositing a payment of less than the full amount owed can be dangerous if the owner includes language on the check or other […]

Top 10 Attributes of Successful Community Association Boards

In addition to working with many community association and HOA boards on tax and audit matters, I’m also the president of my neighborhood’s Homeowner Association. At our next board meeting, we will start discussing new board member candidates along with next year’s budget. We want to have candidates identified early, so we can publish their […]