In a dramatic twist echoing the thrill of a courtroom drama, an Ohio appellate court has unleashed a pivotal decision in a high-stakes legal skirmish between a homeowners association and a management company. The court, with a gavel of justice, struck down a lower court’s move to disqualify a defense attorney, a decision reverberating through […]
Being on a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) board can sometimes feel thankless. Never more so than when you face a lawsuit from one of the residents for whose benefit you are trying to manage the place. Read the article…………………………………….
When seeking a place to call home, potential co-op and condo buyers are seeking a place of peace and quiet. No one wants to live in the midst of a tempest. And peace and quiet can be both literal and figurative, of course. The constant din of discord and disagreement caused by endless litigation, for […]
One of the most frustrating issues a community association board of directors has to deal with is what to do if the association, the board, or an individual director is sued. It is the duty of the board to act in the best interests of the association and make decisions that are consistent with the […]
A responsibility matrix is a summary of association and co-owner responsibilities for maintenance, repair, and replacement of the condominium common elements and units. Because condominium master deeds, even when clearly drafted, can be complicated and often challenging to interpret, a responsibility matrix that is properly and accurately prepared can be a helpful guide for management, […]
Accidents, disasters, and other unforeseen events can cause extensive damage to one’s condo unit. In these situations, you must know your legal rights as a property owner to ensure you receive fair compensation for the damage inflicted on your home. Read the article………………………..
If you want the best chance of collecting outstanding assessments, late fees, interest and attorney fees, you need to be organized, have a collection policy and follow your documents. Doing so can make a big difference to your association, as one of our clients recently learned Read the article………………………..
Where a plaintiff condominium association was awarded only $1,606 in counsel fees, a remand is necessary because the trial court abused its discretion by failing to follow settled precedent in computing the “reasonable” counsel fees and costs recoverable by the plaintiff. Read the article………………………..
The attorney-client privilege is not typically at the forefront of peoples’ minds when communicating with counsel, but it really should be. An accidental waiver of the privilege can lead clients to compromising positions, expose them to liability, and place them at legal disadvantage with respect to the particular legal matter. Read the article………………………..
This is the fourth and final installment of a series on resolutions for HOA members, which previously addressed directors, homeowners and managers. Read the article………………………..
Homeowners associations can run into all sorts of legal problems and liability. Rather than attempting to resolve these issues on their own, associations will benefit from hiring an HOA attorney. Read the article………………………..
Have you ever been disappointed with the quality or service of something you have paid for? You aren’t likely to spend your money on that item again. Whether it was poor quality or poor service that caused your disappointment really doesn’t matter. The same is true for your Homeowners Association or condominium. Read the article………………………..
Q: Several years ago the board asked for an explanation regarding our Declaration. The board wanted to know its authority regarding certain issues within the development. The association’s attorney did an analysis of our CC&Rs and issued an answer. Since this analysis and resulting letter is of a general nature regarding our association, is it […]
Q. The association’s attorney attended a board meeting that was open to the owners. One of the purposes of the meeting was to adopt a special assessment. Owners raised questions and asked the association’s attorney to respond to many of the questions. The attorney would not respond to the owner’s questions. Read the Q&A……………………………….
Q: Does the HOA attorney represent the board or the HOA? If there is a conflict in different CC&Rs sections regarding HOA or homeowner’s responsibility to maintain an item and the HOA attorney is consulted who is their client? Read the Q&A……………………………….
You’re a busy practice; you’re presented with a vendor’s standard contract with standard terms and conditions to sign for services to your practice software that submits your insurance claims. Who has time to read all of that information, especially the small, 8-font type?! You sign the vendor’s contract. Read the article………………………..
Americans are a particularly litigious lot, believing as many of us do that we are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty…and the pursuit of recompense for any slight or wrong done to us, real or perceived. This tendency is unfortunately common in the nation’s condos, co-ops, and HOAs, where the ideals of communal […]
If you visit our “Homeowner Associations” category, you can see a vast array of awards both in favor of homeowners and in favor of homeowner associations (HOAs). We will just say this, the trial court decisions on who gets fees are affirmed on appeal in a majority of situations, Read the entire article……………………………….
Q: I participated in the “How to Run a Board Meeting Effectively” seminar several weeks ago, that you put on and I had a quick question. A statement was made that any time there is a quorum of the board, that the formalities of a board meeting must be adhered too. Read the Q&A……………………………….
HOAs are governed by an elected board of directors who are responsible for enforcing rules and managing the development. Associations may also hire a property manager to help with day-to-day operations and owner relations. However, there will come a time when the HOA encounters a complex problem that requires the help of an attorney to […]
When my co-op and condo board clients decide to start a lawsuit against one of their tenant-shareholders or unit-owners, they want to know what the litigation will be like. Will they win? How long will it take? How much will it cost? The answers to those questions are rarely satisfying because litigation can be uncertain, […]
The attorney-client privilege is one of the oldest and most respected privileges in the law. The purpose underlying this fundamental privilege is to ensure that clients receive accurate and competent legal advice by encouraging full disclosure to their lawyer without fear that the information will be revealed to others. The privilege covers written and oral […]
Attorneys who practice community association law are often asked whether a community manager is covered by the attorney-client privilege. In general, the attorney-client privilege shields communications intended to be confidential between an association and its attorney. Materials prepared by an attorney and that reflect the attorney’s thoughts, conclusions or opinions (attorney work product) may also […]
On January 21, the Superior Court issued a noteworthy decision providing that the attorney-client privilege protects communications with property managers – as “necessary agents” of the board – in connection with litigation involving the condominium. Furthermore, the Court ruled that communications with the Board’s engineering expert – which included the property manager – were not […]
Some boards only engage legal counsel when a situation has become dire. Others are overly cautious and call the attorney at the drop of a hat, but unusually high legal bills often lead to membership scrutiny. Read the entire article……………………………….
A community association is required to keep and maintain certain records for the association. As a result, associations are faced with being ordered to turn over records in all types of lawsuits. What do you do if you are served with a subpoena will depend on the type of subpoena. Read the entire article……………………………….
When a homeowners association hires an attorney — or any vendor, for that matter — it should always formalize the agreement through a written contract. A contract establishes the working relationship between two parties as well as serves as a form of protection and point of reference in case of any disputes. While the specifics […]
When you’re an attorney who represents condominium associations, you don’t usually have the media knocking on your door. It’s a niche corner of the legal profession that’s generally quiet; it takes a major event to disturb that. …Something like a tragic condo collapse that has killed at least 97 people might do it. Read […]
Before Jaime Harrison ran for U.S. Senate or became chair of the Democratic National Committee, he was a director on the board of a condominium in Alexandria, Virginia while I was an owner-occupant. We had annual elections for board positions. Sometimes there was an election, other times we left without voting because there was not […]
We all hope to avoid conflict and to resolve disputes informally before they go to court. That is why associations are required to have written dispute resolution policies. But sometimes, a lawsuit is unavoidable. If you are a manager or board member for an association that has been sued, there are a number of important […]
“Our HOA uses dues to pay for the retention of a lawyer. If there’s a dispute with a homeowner, the board uses that lawyer to fight ‘on the board’s side’ against the homeowner. Doesn’t the lawyer represent the members? Isn’t it their role to help settle disputes without taking sides?” Here, we find out how […]
Q: I am a unit owner in a condominium association. I sent the association’s lawyer a request for an opinion on an issue concerning the association. The attorney responded that she is unable to respond to owner inquiries, and that I should submit my issue to the board. As a member of the association, doesn’t […]
Lawsuits can be costly, and they create a great deal of friction between a homeowner and the HOA board. Fortunately, few lawsuits filed against an HOA actually make it in front of a judge. This article will cover why an HOA might get sued, and what you can do if your association is hit with […]
When notices from the H.O.A. prove unsuccessful in recovering delinquent assessments, transferring collections to a law firm is likely the next step. However, there is a prerequisite that must be fulfilled prior to the transfer, and there are certain documents and information that should be sent to the law firm in order to help solve […]
When people think of obtaining legal advice, a specific image often appears you sitting across from a cigar-chomping man in an expensive suit. However, competent, ethical legal expertise is an important asset for all boards to acquire and lean on. In many situations, the right legal counsel can make the difference between running a successful […]
For homeowner association volunteers, a very real concern is the possibility of legal threats that may be levelled against the board. In a recent “Ask the Experts” webinar, Attorney Chris Gelwicks provided information on what community association board members should do when faced with threats of litigation from homeowners. Though these threats may be considered […]
Some boards only engage legal counsel when a situation has become dire. Others are overly cautious and all the attorney at the drop of a hat, but unusually high legal bills often lead to membership scrutiny. Read the article……………………………….
The COVID Pandemic has created some extra time for people to handle projects they might not otherwise have time for. A good example of this is reviewing your building’s co-op and condominium formation documents, such as house rules, proprietary leases by-laws and any contracts for any necessary updates. Read the article………………………………..
With next year’s budgets in preparation, boards may be looking for ways to cut costs and reduce spending. Often, Board’s will look to their owners to volunteer for a variety of maintenance tasks, from snow shoveling to planting flowers. While minor work can be performed by volunteers with relatively little liability exposure, that is not […]
If an attorney represents your condominium association or homeowners association (HOA), it would be wise to find out if that attorney represents or has ever represented your management company. Why? Because that is a conflict of interest. Read the article………………………………….
Clients are often disappointed to find out that an attorney’s fees are not part of every judgment. Most think it is only fair that because they have been wronged, one way or another, the wrongdoer should pay all of their expenses. That just doesn’t happen often. Read the article…………………………………..
People often view Community Associations as simple collections of rule-obsessed homeowners that do little more than debate the color of the flowers under the monument signs leading into the community. But at their best, Community Associations are the epitome of the concept of a neighborhood—a like-minded group that comes together to live under a shared […]
Q: Are condo owners entitled to see correspondence between the board president and the association’s attorney? Are the owners the client or is the board the client especially if association monies are used to pay the legal fees? Our board is stalling the annual meeting and election and refuses to hold it via teleconference where […]
Q: Are condo owners entitled to see correspondence between the board president and the association’s attorney? Are owners the client or is the board the client especially if association monies are used to pay the legal fees? Our board is stalling the annual meeting and election and refuses to hold either via teleconference where owners […]
Q: As a condominium unit owner, am I entitled to any representation from the condominium association’s hired lawyer? Read the Q&A…………………………
A good condo lawyer is required to do many things including assist in collecting outstanding condo fees or assessments; and analysis, interpretation and preparation of the corporation’s governing documents. Next to the condominium manager, a condo lawyer may be the most important vendor employed by the condo corporation. They provide expert advice that solves problems, […]
As we say good-bye to 2019 and welcome 2020, many of us have created a list of New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps your community has made a resolution to lower expenses? Perhaps your community took it one step further and resolved to lower legal expenses? But how is an association to do that? Below is a […]
As our community association clients settle into a new year and new issues, many boards with new members find themselves with questions or confusion about the attorney-client privilege. Because this privilege is complicated but incredibly important, we thought it would be helpful to go over the basics and how boards can and should preserve the […]
Condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowners associations are often referred to as “community associations.” This is with good reason; the associations usually govern a neighborhood of friends and people who regularly interact with one another in a social setting. For that reason, their governing boards of directors can often fall into the trap of operating in an […]
Facing litigation from an HOA member is something all board of directors must take seriously. From pet issues to issues involving discrimination, knowing how to handle the situation is best left to a qualified attorney and a professional community association management team. Navigating real estate and other types of associated laws is something most volunteer […]