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Ohio Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 2, 2012
  • Fireworks and Effective Rules (OH)
    While all of us here at Williams & Strohm, LLC look forward to and enjoy watching fireworks with our friends and families during the Fourth of July holiday, the close living situations that exist in many condominiums and subdivisions typically makes these communities inappropriate locations for the use of fireworks. As Ohio has updated its laws to allow more freedom to citizens to use fireworks within the state, boards must now take extra care to make sure they have adopted appropriate rules governing the use of fireworks within their communities.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Pools
    When I first started practicing community association law, I was warned about the 3 P’s – pools, pets, and parking. While I have certainly dealt with issues involving the 3 P’s, they have not consumed nearly as much time as other issues. I attribute that, in part, to our firm’s proactive approach to educating our clients about these issues and assisting them with putting frameworks in place to limit issues before they arise. With pool season starting in earnest this weekend, this post is a reminder of some of the unique issues and liabilities that pools create and the best ways to limit those liabilities.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Strengthening Community Associations: The Vital Role of a Comprehensive Assessment Recovery Policy and Procedure
    Community associations are founded on principles of shared responsibility and collective maintenance. From maintaining common elements to providing essential services, every member’s contribution in the form of assessments is vital. However, ensuring timely payment of these assessments can often be challenging. This underscores the importance of establishing a robust policy and procedure for collecting assessments. Such a framework serves as a roadmap for addressing delinquent assessments and directs the collection efforts of the law firm representing the community.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Improper Amendments Are VERY Expensive
    Earlier this year, I blogged on the case of Johnson v. Board of Directors of Forest Lakes Master Association, 454 P.3d 623 (2019) unpublished (Kansas) and explained how improperly passing and/or filing amendments can be VERY expensive. This is true in every state, and today we learn of another way that amendment errors can be costly.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Helpful Tips for Effective Board Operations and Decision-Making (OH)
    Effective governance is the backbone of any community association. The board of directors plays a pivotal role in overseeing the association’s affairs and making decisions that impact the entire community. However, navigating the complexities of governance requires more than just good intentions—it requires a solid understanding of legal principles and best practices. Here are a few legal tips for community association boards to ensure effective operations and decision-making:    Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating Dispute Settlements and Business Decisions: A Guide for Community Associations
    In the complex realm of managing condominium and homeowner associations, disputes with contractors and other critical business decisions can unexpectedly arise. Successful navigation through these challenges requires proactive measures, clear communication, and careful decision-making. In this guide, we explore how to handle dispute settlements, important business choices, and the significance of release agreements for associations.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Governing Document Reviews and Amendments (OH)
    It is important for boards to be familiar with and to regularly review their community’s governing documents. The governing documents of a community generally consist of the declaration of covenants and restrictions (often referred to as declarations), the code of regulations/bylaws, the articles of incorporation, and possibly, rules and regulations, and these documents provide the foundation for every action an association takes   Read the article…………………………….
  • Effective Communication Strategies for Community Association Boards (OH)
    Effective communication is vital for board members. In fact, it is the cornerstone of a thriving community association. Enhanced communication can make owners feel informed, involved, and empowered, and ultimately encourages confidence and participation. Let’s delve into why communication matters:   Read the article…………………………….
  • Evaluate Your Sign Restrictions Now To Avoid Legal Issues In the Future (OH)
    As we are approaching the end of winter, it is a perfect time for boards to review their association’s governing documents and understand whether signs may be displayed outside homes in their community. With the warmer months ahead, many owners begin renovating and enter into agreements with contractors that may require them to display advertisements outside their homes. Then, come fall, residents may want to display signs showing their support for political candidates or other important issues. This is why winter is a great time for board members to prepare for potential sign issues they may face throughout the year.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Architectural Reviews
    February is the time of year when those of us in Ohio start thinking about sunnier and warmer days to come. For many people, that means making plans for summer projects and improvements to their homes. Establishing architectural standards and reviewing applications for exterior improvements is one of the most important jobs for many HOA and condominium boards, and this is a great time for board members to review procedures and ensure that their association is handling that responsibility properly.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Fines & Enforcement Considerations (OH)
    Imposing an enforcement assessment, commonly referred to as a “fine,” on an unruly owner or property is a popular and usually effective mechanism for enforcing rules within a condominium or subdivision. Fines alone, however, cannot address all scenarios and must be imposed in accordance with applicable laws.Read the article…………………………….
  • What Board Members Should Know About the Corporate Transparency Act
    Being a member of a condominium or homeowners’ association board of directors has its challenges. One of those challenges is keeping up with new information related to community associations and board responsibilities on the state and federal level. This blog covers new federal reporting requirements for both condominium and homeowners’ association board members.   Read the article…………………………..
  • Compliance with State and County Recording Requirements For Amendment Filings Is No Easy Task (OH)
    When associations amend their governing documents, not only must the amendment be approved in the manner prescribed by the governing documents, but it must also comply with both State and County recording requirements. Counties often have additional requirements beyond those included in the State statute. If an amendment does not comply with all requirements, the County will refuse to record the amendment.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating the Legal Snowdrift: Ensuring a Solid Snow Removal Contract (OH)
    As winter arrives, associations and community association managers must prepare for the inevitable task of establishing smooth and safe snow removal operations. While hiring a professional snow removal service is essential, paying close attention to the language contained in these contracts is equally crucial. Unclear wording can result in legal complications piling up as rapidly as snowflakes. To avoid such issues and limit the risk of liability, it is imperative to review your snow removal contract to ensure it includes the following key elements.    Read the article……………………………
  • Recreational Marijuana Use in Ohio Community Associations: A Cause for Concern?
    On November 7, Ohio voters will decide whether Ohio laws will permit the use of marijuana for recreational adult use. This includes not only the consumption of recreational marijuana, but also the ability to grow a certain number of marijuana plants at one’s home. As the voting date approaches, a number of board members and others in the community association industry have asked how the new law might impact community associations. This article provides a snapshot of the various issues that may arise in conjunction with adult recreational marijuana use in associations.   Read the article………………………………
  • Five Things an Association Should Consider to Enhance Halloween
    Over the past decade, Halloween has become an increasingly popular holiday. Costumes have become more elaborate, communities are hosting more events centered around the holiday, and more people are decorating their homes with creative decorations. While all of this is in good fun and spirit, the occasion can be stressful for an association.    Read the article………………………………
  • The Role of Community Associations in Owner vs. Owner Disputes (OH)
    Like the Hatfields and the McCoys of yesteryear, one of life’s undeniable and consistent truths is that some people just cannot get along. This is often especially true in residential communities, where people are living in close proximity to each other and may have to interact with their neighbors on a regular basis. Too often, antagonistic actions, misunderstandings, and pent-up frustrations can lead to altercations between residents.   Read the article………………………..
  • Tips for Negotiating a Contract (OH)
    Before entering into a contract, an association has the opportunity to negotiate terms that provide more protection for the community. One critical aspect of contract negotiation is defining the scope of work. It is essential that all parties involved understand what the project entails and how it will be completed.   Read the article………………………..
  • Approving and Signing Association Contracts (OH)
    Associations act through their boards of directors. This means that, for an association to take any action, the board of directors must collectively vote to approve that action. As it relates to contracts, boards of directors should vote to approve contracts and document all votes approving contracts in the association’s minutes. The minutes should read something to the following effect: “Motion made by Jim Smith to approve the contract dated July 31, 2023, with XYZ Landscaping. The motion was seconded. The motion carried.”   Read the article………………………..
  • What Do I Need to Know About My Homeowner Association?
    If you own a home or rental property in a condominium or in a housing development where the homeowners share certain common property, you are probably a member of a condominium owners or homeowners association – collectively referred to as a common interest realty association or CIRA.   Read the article………………………..
  • A Condominium Association’s Right of Entry (OH)
    As lawyers representing Condominium Associations, we are often tasked with asserting a Condominium Association’s right of entry into a unit or limited common element. Reasons for the Association’s entry may vary but usually are related to performing common element repairs which must be completed within the interior of the unit, immediate repairs to a component of a unit when the owner fails to address the immediate problem and, safety inspections for items such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, or inspections related to potential code violations that could affect the health, safety, and well-being of other residents in the community.  Read the article………………………..
  • A Condominium Association’s Right of Entry (OH)
    As lawyers representing Condominium Associations, we are often tasked with asserting a Condominium Association’s right of entry into a unit or limited common element. Reasons for the Association’s entry may vary but usually are related to performing common element repairs which must be completed within the interior of the unit, immediate repairs to a component of a unit when the owner fails to address the immediate problem and, safety inspections for items such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, or inspections related to potential code violations that could affect the health, safety, and well-being of other residents in the community.    Read the article………………………..
  • Yay, Nay, or Abstain? (OH)
    Board members hold a crucial responsibility of making day-to-day decisions for the association and planning for future projects. These decisions often involve complex matters such as hiring contractors, determining assessments, taking enforcement or collection action against fellow owners, and setting an annual budget. Despite the potential unpopularity of some decisions, board members are obligated to participate in the decision-making process due to their fiduciary duty.   Read the article………………………..
  • Adopting Enforceable Rules (OH)
    Just as there is truth to the saying that “good fences make good neighbors,” the same may be said about developing and maintaining reasonable and clear rules for a community association. Rules provide clear guidance on what is allowed and expected of owners within a community, and thus allow owners to carry on as they wish within those guidelines.   Read the article………………………..
  • Safeguarding Association Assets in Turbulent Financial Times (OH)
    As George Bailey explained to the frightened citizens of Bedford Falls trying to withdraw their savings in the film It’s a Wonderful Life, “The money’s not here. Your money’s in Joe’s house. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Macklin’s house, and a hundred others.” He might not have known it, but George was describing modern fractional reserve banking used around the world.   Read the article………………………..
  • Your Community Pool May Require Lifeguards (OH)
    In Ohio, any pool serving more than three residential dwellings is considered a “public pool,” which means that nearly every condominium and homeowners association pool is classified as “public” despite its private ownership and access. This means that your community pool falls under the regulations outlined in the Ohio Health Code. Apart from chemical monitoring and equipment requirements, the Ohio Health Code mandates that public pools must have lifeguards on duty if certain conditions are met.    Read the article………………………..
  • Should Your Association Allow Garage Sales? (OH)
    Spring is finally here, which means summer is right around the corner, bringing with it the opening of association swimming pools, more frequent visits from the association’s landscaper, members spending more time outdoors, and…garage sales!   Read the article………………………..
  • 7 HOA Pool Safety Rules Every Board Should Enforce
    Many homeowners associations manage swimming pools that are available for member use. One of the pillars of pool management, though, is promoting the safety of pool goers. To accomplish that, a board must enforce certain HOA pool safety rules.   Read the article………………………..
  • Be Aware of Alternative Property Uses (OH)
    When it comes to short-term rentals, Airbnb has become a household name. Whether you’re traveling and need a house, apartment, or condominium for a short period, chances are you will turn to Airbnb or similar platforms. Short-term rentals not only offer families traveling together a chance to stay under one roof but also provide property owners with an opportunity to earn extra income.   Read the article………………………..
  • Adopting Enforceable Rules
    Just as there is truth to the saying that “good fences make good neighbors,” the same may be said about developing and maintaining reasonable and clear rules for a community association. Rules provide clear guidance on what is allowed and expected of owners within a community, and thus allow owners to carry on as they wish within those guidelines.   Read the article………………………..
  • Contractual Considerations for Short-Term Rentals
    Property owners (“Owners”) interested in engaging in short-term leases should carefully consider the structure of their contracts (“Leases”). Anticipating potential disputes and consequences is essential for avoiding future litigation. A well-written Lease can serve to facilitate friendly, productive, and profitable landlord/tenant relationships.   Read the article………………………..
  • Getting Approval For Home Renovations In HOA Communities
    Homeowners typically need to secure approval for home renovations in HOA communities. And while the process can vary from one association to another, there are a few general guidelines you can follow.     Read the article………………………..
  • Don’t Gamble With Your Community’s Well-being (OH)
    The recent changes to Ohio’s sports gambling laws, which took effect on January 1, 2023, have prompted many board members to inquire about the possibility of community associations holding bingo game or raffles. In short, the laws related to bingo and raffles remains the same.   Read the article………………………..
  • Know Your HOA Fence Rules Before Putting Them Up
    Every homeowners association has its own set of rules that apply to various things, even fences. It’s important to understand these HOA fence rules so that homeowners can avoid violations and board members can enforce them consistently.  Read the article………………………..
  • A Code of Ethics for Community Associations
    In Ohio, community associations are organized as nonprofit corporations. Just as a board for a corporation must be accountable to its shareholders, a community association board must be accountable to its members who have elected them to be responsible for managing the association’s activities. One measure of accountability is for the board to operate ethically.  Read the article………………………..
  • HOA Fidelity Bonds: Why Your Homeowners Association Needs Them
    HOA fidelity bonds are critical to the operations of homeowners associations. But, what are these bonds anyway? And what do they cover?  A fidelity bond is a form of insurance that protects homeowners associations from unanticipated financial losses such as fraud or theft. Other names for fidelity bonds include crime insurance or fidelity insurance.   Read the article………………………..
  • Cautionary Tales: Know Your Association Website Information and Protect It
    As more community associations enter the digital age and establish their own websites, boards enter a new world that may be unfamiliar. Association websites are a great tool for providing owners with the community’s governing documents, handbooks, and other relevant information, such as when the pool will open and close. Many owners have stated that communication through an association website is their preferred method of correspondence from the board.   Read the article………………………..
  • Waiver of Subrogation – Association Insurance Policies (OH)
    Our firm recently had an interesting question posed by a condominium association board member. The question was: “Why is there a waiver of subrogation clause in the association’s insurance policy for property/casualty insurance, and can the clause be removed from the policy?” I thought this was a good question and warranted a blog post to inform other board members and managers as to why the waiver of subrogation clause exists and why the clause is required for condominium associations.   Read the article………………………..
  • What Does Your Association’s Insurance Cover? It May Be More Than You Thought
    Often, we meet with board members who are surprised to know their association’s property/casualty insurance policy covers more than the exterior of the building or other portions of the common elements. Depending on how the insurance provisions of the governing documents are written, many governing documents for condominium associations require the association’s insurance to cover the exterior of the building and structural portions of the building, as well as certain components of units as defined in the governing documents.    Read the article………………………..
  • Final Word on Senate Bill 61 (OH)
    Recently, our firm has posted a few blogs explaining the Senate Bill 61 (“S.B. 61”) and its impact on condominium and homeowner associations. Those posts, we felt, encompassed what boards and managers needed to know regarding the effects of S.B. 61 to their associations. But we are still receiving calls and emails from concerned board members and managers asking what amendments they need to “comply” with S.B. 61.   Read the article………………………..
  • How To Deal With Wild Animals In HOAs (OH)
    It is not unheard of for wild animals to visit an HOA neighborhood. This is particularly common for communities in mountainous areas, forests, or near nature preserves. And depending on the environment, there are several wild animals an association and its homeowners may encounter. But, beautiful and majestic as they are, these animals can bring all sorts of problems.   Read the article………………………..
  • Final Word on Senate Bill 61 (OH)
    Recently, our firm has posted a few blogs explaining the Senate Bill 61 (“S.B. 61”) and its impact on condominium and homeowner associations. Those posts, we felt, encompassed what boards and managers needed to know regarding the effects of S.B. 61 to their associations.   Read the article………………………..
  • Common Considerations for Homeowner Associations Regarding Short-Term Rentals
    Short-term rentals have become a popular way for homeowners to earn extra income when they are away from their property. Websites like Airbnb and Vrbo have made short-term rentals easy and accessible. For homeowner associations (“HOAs”), management companies, and other community members; however, these short-term rentals present various problems.   Read the article………………………..
  • What Is The HOA Open Meeting Act? Are There Guidelines?
    While the Open Meeting Act does not universally apply to homeowners associations nationwide, it is still worth understanding what this law entails. In doing so, HOA boards can conduct more effective and collaborative meetings.   Read the article………………………..
  • HOA Online Voting: How To Do It Right
    Elections are a normal part of homeowners associations. Homeowners elect members yearly or every few years to serve on the board and lead the community. As with any election, though, HOA elections can be messy. Many associations need help getting a good voter turnout or organizing the ballots.   Read the article………………………..
  • Board Member Terms and Staggering Elections- Getting It Right to Benefit the Community (OH)
    Community association owners may not fully appreciate how the length of time board members serve on the board and staggered elections can directly impact the community. Making sure the governing documents for the association provide for longer board terms and staggering elections are necessary tools for efficient and effective community associations.   Read the article………………………..
  • HOA Board Members Ethics Model
    Leaders of organizations, corporations, and governments should abide by a set of ethical standards when performing their duties. This also applies to volunteer leaders of homeowners associations. Here is your guide to HOA board member ethics.  Read the article………………………..
  • Collection of Delinquent Assessments Through Bankruptcy (OH)
    When an owner becomes delinquent on association assessments or other obligations, they may consider bankruptcy as a solution to their financial problems. A bankruptcy filing triggers a number of federal laws that affect an association’s ability to collect delinquent assessments.   Read the article………………………..
  • Lawn Jockeys In HOAs: Should The HOA Board Take Action?
    While homeowners generally have free rein over what they do with their property, the same can’t be said for those living in HOA communities. One of the more restrictive rules associations have is what decorations owners can put up. But, when it comes to lawn jockeys in HOAs, should the board have similar rules?    Read the article………………………..
  • Indemnification: Protecting Board Members (OH)
    For many new board members who are trying to get up to speed on their duties and obligations, few things could be as important as reviewing their governing documents to ensure they contain comprehensive indemnification provisions. No board member wants to be in a position of serving on the board with the possibility of being held personally responsible for paying the costs to defend a lawsuit. Ensuring adequate indemnification protection for board members is included in the association’s governing documents affords peace of mind while board members continue to serve their community.    Read the article………………………..
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