Guilty By Association: Common Pitfalls in Planned Community and Condominium Formation and Management (PA)

Many homebuilders are familiar with the general structure of condominiums and planned communities in Pennsylvania, and the purposes of the associations that manage them. However, due to the complexities of these communities and the statutes that govern them (68 Pa.C.S.A. Sections 3101, et seq. (condos) and 5101, et seq. (planned communities)) (the “Acts”), there are […]

Condominium Associations Need to Check Their Insurance Policies (PA)

Section 3312(c)(2) of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act requires that the Association’s insurer “waives its right to subrogation under the policy against any unit owner of the condominium or members of his household.” This means when the Association’s policy pays for damages to the Unit or Common Elements, the insurance company cannot try to get […]

Home Owner Association Snow Removal: Your Questions Answered (PA)

It is November 15, and temperatures are forecast to reach almost 70 degrees later this week. Naturally, I am thinking about snow removal for condominiums and homeowners associations. Even though snowfall was almost nonexistent during the winter of 2022-23, boards need to prepare for the upcoming season and revisit some of the questions we discuss […]

Delayed Decisions On Accommodation Requests Lead To Trouble

A recent federal court decision in U.S. v. The Dorchester Owners Association, No. 20-1396 (E.D. Penn. Jan. 25, 2023), is instructive as to how boards of directors can put their associations at risk when they fail to make timely final decisions on accommodation requests or impose unreasonable conditions in granting those requests. In this case, […]

Condo Charged with Discrimination for Delay in Approving Assistance Animal

In a recent case out of Pennsylvania, a condominium association was found to have violated Fair Housing laws for its delay in approving requests for reasonable accommodation for an emotional support animal belonging to a resident and for imposing conditions on the animals’ use of the common area.   Read the article………………………..

Delayed Decisions On Accommodation Requests Lead To Trouble

A recent federal court decision in U.S. v. The Dorchester Owners Association, No. 20-1396 (E.D. Penn. Jan. 25, 2023), is instructive as to how boards of directors can put their associations at risk when they fail to make timely final decisions on accommodation requests or impose unreasonable conditions in granting those requests.  Read the article………………………..

Assistance Animals (AZ)

A recent case in Pennsylvania, U.S. v. The Dorchester Owners Association, No. 20-1396 (E.D. Penn. Jan. 25, 2023), ruled that The Dorchester Owners Association (“Association”) engaged in discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) in connection with requests for assistance animals.   Read the article………………………..

House Bill 1795 Comes Alive! (PA)

House Bill 1795 becomes effective May 2, 2023.  It has made changes and additions to Pennsylvania laws regarding community associations.  Read the article………………………..

Associations Cannot Ban Sex Offenders from Community (PA)

Many condominium and homeowners’ associations worry about people who are registered as sex offenders under the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), usually referred to as “Megan’s Law.” Many associations I work with have considered a range of ideas, from not allowing Megan’s Law registrants to use the community pool all the way to […]

Construction Defect: Why You Can’t Sue Your Builder’s Insurance Company (PA)

As a litigation attorney, I meet with many clients seeking advice because their new home construction or renovation project was done poorly. Whether these homeowners are dealing with big or small construction companies, the same problems arise when it comes to construction defects.   Read the article………………………..

Sign, Sign, Everwhere a Sign…..In My Association

Every year, usually around election season, the signs come out.  Let’s discuss some recurring sign issues that pop up (pun intended) in community associations year after year.   Read the article………………………..

Surfside Towers Collapse Causes Tighter Maintenance and Capital Reserve Requirements for Associations (PA)

It has been about half a year since the terrible collapse of Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Florida. Because of this tragedy, condominium and homeowners’ association boards and owners have been concerned about the structural safety of their buildings. And now Associations are facing hard questions from mortgage companies concerning both maintenance and capital reserve […]

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign….In My Association (PA)

Every year, usual;ly around election time, the signs come out.  Let’s discuss some recurring sign issues that pop up (pun intended) in community associations year after year.Read the entire article……………………………….

Avoiding Litigation in Your Community Association

As a Community Association attorney, I’ve been on both sides of the fence as it relates to association litigation. Whether I am initiating litigation against others on behalf of the association or defending the association for claims brought by others, the following holds true: litigation is expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining for those involved.   Read […]

Condominiums, Homeowners’ Associations and Bankruptcy: The Automatic Stay

In the last installment of the series, I went through some of the terms that Associations need to know when a Unit Owner files for Bankruptcy. This edition will talk about the “Automatic Stay” and how it affects Creditors like an Association. The first thing to remember is that Bankruptcy is a way to allow […]

Can an Association Invest Its Capital Reserve Funds? (PA)

Has your Board, especially if it has a financial professional on it, ever looked with dismay at the low interest that a Capital Reserve Fund is earning? They may think that if they could get a better return on that Reserve Fund, then they could do more projects. Or they could reduce assessments.    Read the […]

Peace of the Puzzle

Article in CAI’s Common Ground about avoiding conflict in your community Read the entire article……………………………….

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Fair Housing in Your Community Association (PA)

When a board member or community manager hears the phrase “fair housing”, many thoughts come to mind regarding what this means, and how it may impact their association, but, more often than not, their perceptions are based on historical misinformation passed on to them by others who themselves did not properly understand fair housing. The […]

Condominiums and Corona: Managing Risk and Residents’ Expectations as Pennsylvania Recovers From the Pandemic

As we settle in to another week of pandemic life in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, residents of condominiums and planned communities may be susceptible to spread by virtue of their proximity to neighbors and access to shared amenities. Governor Wolf’s standing order, coupled with the CDC’s health directives, impose vague but important guidelines.    […]

Should HOAs Publish a List of Delinquent Owners? (PA)

I am not going to beat around the bush here: it is generally a horrible idea to “publish” a list of delinquent owners for others to see, even if the [usually decades old] governing documents in the community provide that it is permissible. This is even true if a delinquency list is not posted electronically […]

An Introduction to Short Sales and Foreclosures for Community Associations

More than ever before, community associations are coping with financial shortfalls caused in no small part by the burst of the housing bubble and seemingly non-existent economic growth. Two issues which associations frequently encounter are short sales and foreclosures. This Blog post will discuss the implications of short sales and foreclosures as each relates to […]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Fair Housing in Your Community Association (PA)

When a board member or community manager hears the phrase “fair housing”, many thoughts come to mind regarding what this means, and how it may impact their association, but, more often than not, their perceptions are based on historical misinformation passed on to them by others who themselves did not properly understand fair housing. The […]

Properly Handling Your Community Association’s Online Presence

It’s almost 2020, and chances are, your community association has a virtual presence on the Internet. Whether your association runs its own website, has a site run by a management company or some other third-party vendor, or is active on a social media site, association leaders and Managers should take some steps in order to […]

Avoiding Inconsistent Enforcement in Your Association … Community Leaders Take Heed

Inconsistent, or selective, enforcement of covenants, restrictions and rules & regulations by a Community Association is, unfortunately, a frequent occurrence. Community leaders must understand that inconsistent enforcement by an Association for even a minor issue can lead to major liability for an Association. This article will explore some of the issues surrounding inconsistent enforcement and […]

Emerging Issues in Planned Community and Condominium Disputes (PA)

From disagreements over short-term rentals to an infamous Tigger mailbox that elevated a neighborhood dispute all the way to the Commonwealth Court,1 Pennsylvania has seen a growing trend in litigation involving unit owners’ associations established under the Pennsylvania Uniform Planned Community Act 2 (the PC Act) and the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act3 (the Condo Act). […]

Associations are Only Required to Make Reasonable Accommodations, Not All Accommodations

This is a post about reasonable accommodations that does not involve an emotional support animal. I cannot remember the last time I did not write about dogs. Recently, the Pennsylvania Federal Courts ruled that an Association does not need to provide the exact accommodation requested, if the Association offers accommodations that achieve the same function.  […]

Pennsylvania Man Not Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees in Homeowners Association Declaration Amendment Lawsuit

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled this month that a man from Pittsburgh is not entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and court costs from litigation he won against his homeowners association. Matthew Serota filed suit against the London-Towne Homeowners Association in 2015 after the association amended its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (the “Declaration”) […]

Court rules in favor of West Chester homeowner’s association sued by woman who slipped on fallen branches (PA)

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a ruling relieving Indian King Residents Association (IKRA) of liability for a resident’s injuries.  Plaintiff-appellant Ruthann Hackett injured herself in 2013 after slipping on fallen branches in a common area managed by IKRA.  The court determined that appellant was a licensee on the land. In the ruling, Judge Jacqueline […]

Hills and Ridges Doctrine May Provide Protection to Property Owners in Slip-and-Falls (PA)

In Collins v. Philadelphia Suburban Development, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 72 (Jan. 31, 2018), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently upheld a verdict against a slip and fall plaintiff who filed a negligence claim against a property sidewalk owner, Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp. (PSDC), and a snow removal company, Ross’s Home Improvement (Ross), following a […]