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Utah Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 2, 2012
  • Getting Your Utah HOA Community Ready for the Spring Thaw
    Winter is one of the most beautiful and exciting times to live in Utah. We have majestic mountains with stunning vistas, over 22 million acres of public land, and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation during our long winter season.   Read the article…………………………….
  • From Tragedy Comes Opportunities to Give Back
    Sometimes, a small gesture of kindness and community can mean a lot to those affected by natural disasters. Following the deadly wildfires that tore through the historic town of Lahaina, Hawaii, in early August, many in the community association industry wanted to show their support to Maui homeowners displaced by the fires. The wildfires are considered to be the deadliest in modern U.S. history, according to The Washington Post.   Read the article……………………………..
  • HOAs Must Understand Use and Power of Contracts
    The board of directors in a homeowners association (HOA) is responsible for the functionality and governance of the community. One of the powers and duties delegated to the board of directors is the power to negotiate and enter into contracts, which is highly significant to the operation and bylaws of an HOA.   Read the article………………………..
  • Bringing the Strategic Power of One-Degree Shifts to Your HOA Board Meetings
    Running an HOA board meeting is no simple task–it’s easy to get caught in the weeds and risk losing track of time or missing an important topic. Determining all of the things that need to be discussed and decided upon can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.   Read the article………………………..
  • ChatGPT’s Opinion About HOAs (UT)
    (Very interesting) I recently tried ChatGPT for the first time and decided to find out what computers think about homeowners associations. As Thomas Kuhn has been attributed as saying, The answers you get depend on the questions you ask.” So if you like HOAs, you may get positive answers. If you don’t like HOAs, I’m sure ChatGPT can help validate your concerns. Below are three prompts I inputted to ChatGPT and the responses I received. Enjoy.   Read the article………………………..
  • Addressing the Ongoing Issue of Aging Infrastructure in HOAs (UT)
    Nothing stays new. Over time, things age, including infrastructure, and HOAs need to be prepared for this. Many HOAs run into problems because of aging infrastructure issues. Oftentimes, by the time HOAs realize there is an issue, they don’t have enough funding available, so they have temporary fixes completed. Sometimes these issues also get put aside until they grow into problems that can’t be ignored.   Read the article………………………..
  • The Value of Professional Intermediaries: Don’t Turn HOA Issues into Safety Issue
    Homeowners association (HOA) disputes or enforcement should not require personal, face-to-face, confrontation with members. A recent tragedy in Florida underscores the risk of confrontations in the HOA context. It is alleged that on December 3, 2022, 75-year-old Hugh Hootman shot and killed his HOA president and her husband, Ginger and Henry Wallace, who were both in their 80s.  Read the article………………………..
  • Remember To Let the Community Know About Rules Regarding Holiday Decorations
    The holiday season is upon us. While it’s a special time of year, it can also be a time for more violations and neighborhood disputes. The good news is, HOAs can get ahead of some of these issues by making sure rules and regulations are clearly stated.  Read the article………………………..
  • Happiness and Harmony in the Perfect HOA: Homeowner Compliance
    The end is in sight, folks! We’ve spent a lot of time discussing what it takes to create “the perfect HOA.” A strong foundation made up of governing documents, knowledgeable board members, engaged homeowners, and emergency planning is the basis of that achievement. So what’s the final piece of the puzzle?   Read the article………………………..
  • Keep your community safe with policies and procedures
    The safety and well being of community members should be of utmost importance to your HOA. Associations should act to the fullest extent possible to adhere to all procedures and policies that keep communities safe.  Ultimately, the safety and security of the community is in the hands of the HOA or the management company. That said, it’s important that whoever is in charge do the following:    Read the article………………………..
  • Community Maintenance & Emergency Preparedness in the Perfect HOA
    When it comes to perfection in a homeowners association, there’s one area in which almost all communities typically fail: emergency preparedness & maintenance planning. Okay, yes, that’s two things technically, but they rely largely on the same information to accomplish, and they are very closely related, so they’re typically bundled into one neat package. Community maintenance and emergency preparation both require forethought and strategic planning.   Read the article………………………..
  • Utah Supreme Court Holds HOA Restrictive Covenants Not Signed by Property Owners Are Not Void Ab Initio
    The Supreme Court of Utah recently denied the appeal of a group of landowners (the “Landowners”) who sought to invalidate restrictive covenants imposed on them by a homeowners’ association as violative of public policy. See Wdis v. Hi-Country Estates Homeowners Ass’n, 2022 UT 17 (Utah 2022).   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New 2022 HOA Laws and What They Mean For Your HOA (UT)
    The Utah general legislative session for 2022 was January – March 2022, and the general effective date for legislation from the session was May 4, 2022.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Communication in the Perfect HOA: Homeowner Relationship Management
    Communication is the key to success. Period, full stop, end of story. Without quality, consistent, transparent communication, relationships of all kinds crumble, including those in community associations. Boards have a responsibility to the community to keep everyone informed and involved in the decisions being made. Communication in the perfect HOA should cover a lot of ground:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Staying Informed in the Perfect HOA: Board Member Education
    The more time I spend with community association boards of directors (“BODs”), the more my faith in humanity is restored. Sure, we’ve all experienced the odd bad apple. But more often than not, board members like you are dedicating their time and energy into their communities to make it amazing.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Laying the Groundwork for the Perfect HOA: Your Governing Documents (UT)
    “The Perfect HOA.” What a concept, right? To say the “perfect” anything exists is already a bit of a stretch. (Unless we’re talking about the perfect midnight snack because I think we can all agree that it’s double-stuf Oreos and milk!) So the idea of perfection in something as complex and challenging as a community association can feel impossible.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Fannie Mae Changes and Their Impact on Utah Community Associations
    The tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers in Florida has forced lenders and other industry stakeholders to look for clear and standardized guidance on how to analyze ongoing risk in residential buildings with aging infrastructure and significant deferred maintenance. This concern is expected to grow in the future as most of the nation’s stock of condominium and cooperative projects were built more than 20 years ago. Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Should You Compare HOA Assessments To Other Communities? (UT)
    As a management company, when budget season rolls around every year we get board members asking us, “Can we compare HOA assessments to what other communities are charging?” Not only is this the wrong way to calculate your budget, it is also dangerous for your community’s fiscal health. Here’s why:  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What are my HOA Fees Paying For?
    More than 70% of all new developments in the United States are common interest realty associations, also known as Community Associations. The benefits of community associations are many. For the developer, it ensures that home values remain high, cementing in resale profits as the homes are sold. For the homeowner, it allows you to have access to a wide range of amenities and facilities that you might not have been able to afford on your own.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • When the Grass Flies: A Strategy to Solve your HOA Landscaping Problems
    Almost summertime, and living is…okay well it’s HOA landscaping season so it might be a little chaotic. Water is getting turned back on any day now, pools are reopening in just a few short weeks, and a parade of new faces (landscapers and other assorted grounds maintenance folk) are about to start making weekly appearances. This is going to stress out your fellow homeowners, and if you don’t have a strong management team to handle your community’s summer needs, you’re going to have some headaches of your own.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Should Your Utah HOA Adopt a Reinvestment Fee Policy?
    For most community associations around the country, monthly assessments make up the bulk of an HOA’s income sources. Homeowners need to collectively contribute enough each year to cover the operating costs of the community, contribute to reserves, and fund any capital improvements that will improve life in the community.   Read the article……………………………..
  • Which Laws Apply to My Association? (UT)
    The Condo Act applies to property which the owner (generally, the “declarant”) submits to the Act by recording a declaration as provided in the Act. To determine if the property has been submitted to the Act, look for language in the first few pages of the CC&Rs/declaration that says the property is submitted to the Condominium Act.   Read the article………………………………….
  • Open Meetings, What’s Required? (UT)
    Both the Utah Condominium Ownership Act and the Utah Community Association Act require board meetings to be open to each homeowner (or the homeowner’s designated representative).   Read the article…………………………………..
  • How to Choose Professional HOA Management (UT)
    Before you even start your search for a professional management company, be sure the board has agreed on what the community needs. It may be that you have an active board and a robust architectural committee, and so you only need help managing the books. Or you may find that you just want someone to take over the full day-to-day operation and be on hand to answer the board’s questions whenever you need them. Whatever your needs, you should be able to articulate them into a list, which will form the basis for your request for proposal (RFP).   Read the article…………………………………..
  • HOA Immunity from COVID-19 Liability (UT)
    Utah HOAs can breathe a little easier because associations are now protected generally from lawsuits and claims relating to COVID-19. A new Utah law went into effect August 18, 2020, that provides immunity from civil liability for damages or an injury resulting from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by an HOA, or during an activity managed by the HOA.    Read the article…………………………….
  • A Proven Strategy to Fill Vacant Seats on Your Utah HOA’s Board of Directors
    You are not alone.  Every community association struggles with filling empty board seats. And why not? In today’s society, we are busier and more connected than ever before. More and more things are clamoring to take up our attention and limited free time. Mix that with the fact that a board seat is an unpaid volunteer position, and it’s no wonder HOAs and Condo Associations are struggling to keep board seats filled.   Read the article………………………
  • 7 Strategies to Keep Assessments Low in Your Community Association
    No homeowner ever thought to themselves, “Gee, I wish my condo association charged me higher dues!”  It’s a struggle Boards of Directors face universally. Assessments need to be high enough to accommodate the needs of the community, but not so high that homeowners struggle to pay them. If you serve on a board of directors for a Condo, HOA, Townhomes or Co-op, you’ve probably faced this same struggle yourself.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Myth to Reality: A Strategy to Achieve 1-Hour Association Board Meetings
    For members of the board, an HOA board meeting can be exhausting. Not only do you have to prepare what you’ll be presenting to the rest of the board, plus go over the agenda, previous meeting minutes and any other prepared statements, you then have the meeting itself to look forward to (or dread).   Read the article……………………………..
  • Reserve Fund Investment
    What would you do if you found out the treasurer of your community association had taken the money earmarked for reserves and bet it all on black at a roulette table in Vegas? You might be just a tad upset! Win or lose, gambling with the association’s future is risky and dangerous. It goes against the fiduciary duty to which every board member is held accountable. It’s Time to Review Your Reserve Fund Investment Strategy (Part 1 of 3) Reserve Fund Investment Strategy: Building Your Portfolio (Part 2 of 3) Reserve Fund Investment Strategy: Writing Your Investment Policy (Part 3 of 3)  
  • Covid Comeback: A Strategy to Help Your Community Reopen Safely
    Staging a comeback isn’t easy. Without a strategy in place, things can go from bad to worse pretty quickly. That’s why, when it comes to reopening the country, the states and the economy, everyone has a plan. Does your community have a reopening plan for your facilities and amenities?  Let’s talk strategies to your community association’s COVID Comeback:     Read the article…………………………
  • Who’s in Charge of Your Homeowners Association?
    Can they do that? Whether it’s changing the pool hours, levying a special assessment, or foreclosing on your home, many homeowners are shocked when they realize just how much power an HOA Board of Directors has.  But do they really? It might surprise you to learn that the board has a lot less power (and a lot more responsibility) than you realized. Let’s dig a little deeper into HOA Governance:     Read the article………………………….
  • New 2020 Utah HOA Laws
    Two bills were passed this year in Utah changing parts of the Condominium Ownership Act and the Community Association Act. The new laws that were passed by the two bills go into effect today, May 12, 2020.   Read the article………………………………
  • Statute of Limitations for Construction Disputes (UT)
    Construction Defects can financially cripple community associations. The cost to repair leaky and sinking buildings is not budgeted for when the community is created, is not planned for in reserve analyses, and is not anticipated by homeowners at the time of purchase. Purchasers legitimately expect the residences are well constructed in a manner that “can be maintained.”     Read the article………………………………..
  • Caution in the Face of Coronavirus: Running a UTAH HOA Without Gatherings
    Whether your closet is filled with Costco toilet paper and you’re checking your phone every hour for the latest COVID-19 update or you’re urging your social-media network to stop panicking and just start washing their hands, one thing is certain: coronavirus continues to spread and, according to health professionals around the world, one thing we can do to slow the spread is avoid group gatherings. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy to do when you are trying to maintain a functioning community association. Regular gatherings are the norm for community associations; in fact, in some cases, they are mandated by the governing documents. So, under Utah law, can you keep your association running, meet fiduciary duties, and comply with your governing ...
  • Can an HOA Board Draft their Own CC&Rs? (UT)
    I am routinely asked if I will review amended governing documents (CC&Rs, bylaws, etc.) which the board, the property manager or another person has drafted in order to save money over having an HOA attorney draft them.    Read the article………………………………..
  • 7 Signs Your HOA’s Governing Documents May Be Out of Date (UT)
    Many communities were established with governing documents that worked well for the developer, but may or may not work so well for the HOA and the homeowners. Many of these governing documents are outdated. Whether they are 10 years old or 50, Utah and federal laws, as well as best practices pertaining to community associations have changed substantially in recent years. If your board of directors has not engaged in an audit of your community’s governing documents in the past 6 to 8 years, it should.        Read the article……………………….
  • Navigating New HUD Assistance Animals Guidelines
    On January 28, 2020 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued new guidelines regarding “certain obligations of housing providers under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) with respect to animals that individuals with disabilities may request as reasonable accommodations.” A copy of the new guidelines may be found at https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUDAsstAnimalNC1-28-2020.pdf     Read the article…………………………
  • Beware the Heavy Hand: HOA board members and property managers can be personally liable for damages
    Recently, a Federal District Court in Nevada made clear that homeowners associations, their boards of directors, and their management companies should ensure that their actions and omissions are reasonable, even when dealing with residents that may not be acting in good faith. This article summarizes a case where an HOA initially prevailed in the face of a frivolous assistant animal request, but later was heavily penalized for subsequent unreasonable treatment of the homeowner.   Read the article……………………….
  • Reinvestment fees offset HOA turnover costs, contribute to reserves (UT)
    Many Utah families have utilized their increased equity from the strong buyer’s market and healthy economy to upscale or downscale their housing situation. All of this movement in the housing industry is expensive for nonprofit homeowners’ associations and requires adequate budgeting and preparation for current and future market fluctuations.   Read the article…………………………….
  • HOA Minutes and Utah Law
    As the old saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and unnecessary remarks in HOA minutes. Well, that might not be exactly like the original but, for our purposes, it’s close enough. When it comes to minutes, less is more. Details of things that are said at a meeting should only be included in a few, specific instances described in this article. A homeowners association’s minutes are frequently the subject of records requests and litigation and, as such, their contents must prudently document critical information about the meeting but refrain from including unnecessary information that is vulnerable to misinterpretation and could increase the risk of liability for the association.  Read the article…………………………
  • Keeping Up With Legislation: How do Changes in the Law Affect Your Governing Documents and When Should You Amend?
    A board member in a small, close-knit community recently posed a question to me that I have heard many times in one form or another. He asked, if a local ordinance already bans an activity the HOA is trying to stop, is there any point to the HOA banning the same activity in their governing documents? Can’t the board simply call on the city when enforcement is required?  Read the article………………………….
  • Rules about Rules (UT)
    When an association considers adopting new regulations, they often turn to their declaration (CC&Rs) or bylaws. Association rules are sometimes overlooked and underutilized. However they can be the most efficient and flexible means for implementing restrictions or procedures.   Read the article…………………………
  • Relieving Board Members’ Burdens through Committees (UT)
    One of the most powerful but overlooked tools at the disposal of an association board is that of committees.  HOA boards can face a number of issues and be pulled in many directions that would tax any full time, paid board. But HOA boards are volunteer and are not full time. To deal with this and to avoid board member burnout, many associations elect a large board – 5, 7 or even 9 members. However, having a large board presents many difficulties. It is often difficult to find enough willing and able people to fill a 3 or 5 person board, and larger boards are that much more difficult to fill. Additionally, it is no small task to schedule and ...
  • 8 Misunderstood Points of HOA Governance (UT)
    HOA governance isn’t simple or easy and, unfortunately, board members are just volunteers doing their best with too little time and too little money. I think that’s why even basic principles of HOA governance are often misunderstood by board members (and managers too). Here is some clarification of 8 frequently misunderstood issues:    Read the article………………………………..
  • What to do about Nightmare Renters (UT)
    Oftentimes HOAs feel as though their hands are tied when dealing with problem renters. All one needs to do is a simple Google Search to see a litany of ugly situations. Luckily, HOAs have a variety of remedies that can be pursued to ensure that association rules are being followed by everyone, including renters.    Read the article………………….
  • A trick for resolving disagreements
    Question:  I live in a small planned unit development with four families. This is the second year we have lived in the community, as it is a new development. The control box for the sprinkler system is in my backyard. The park-strip grass we all share is watered by a valve in that control box. Every summer, I consult the water conservation website for irrigation frequency, and follow that guideline. This means that the grass is not lush and green, but rather, closer to yellow in color.  My retired neighbor is extremely unhappy about this and badgers me relentlessly to increase the watering for that area. He has become hostile and abusive     Read the article………………
  • 2018 Utah Legislative Session
    Happy Laws Go Into Effect Day! (okay, I’m sure there’s a better name for that). Today, May 8, the HOA laws that were enacted this year go into effect. Specifically, those laws:   Read the article……………….
  • HOA Revisions (UT)
    This bill amends provisions related to condominium and community associations.  Highlighted Provisions:  This bill: provides that a condominium or community association shall comply with certain requirements before bringing a legal action against a declarant, a management committee or board of directors, or an employee, an independent contractor, or an agent of the declarant or the management committee or board of directors, related to a period of declarant control or period of administrative control; and provides that certain provisions regarding open community association board meetings apply during the period of administrative control.     Read the article………….
  • 2017 Utah Legislative Session – HOA/Developer Issues
    HOAs have not come out unscathed by the 2017 Utah general legislative session, which ended yesterday, March 9. A new law was passed that requires an HOA to comply with rather onerous requirements before it may go after the developer for problems created by the developer.  House Bill 157 (HB 157 3rd Substitute) was passed stating that: (1) an HOA must comply with certain requirements before suing a declarant (the developer of the HOA) or a board related to a period of declarant control, and (2) certain provisions regarding open board meetings apply during the period of declarant control.    Read the article………….
  • The Shakespeare Case and What it Means to Utah HOA’s
    On June 22, 2016 the Utah Supreme Court published the Fort Pierce Industrial Park Phases II, III & IV Owners Association v. Shakespeare case, 2016 UT 28. This case established a bright line rule that the Court rejected strict construction of restrictive covenants in favor of applying the rules of construction typically found in contracts.  While many practitioners of community association law felt that this was already in the law in Utah, there was some confusion due to dicta in St. Benedict’s Development Co. v. St. Benedict’s Hospital, that “restrictive covenants are not favored in the law and are strictly construed in favor of the free and unrestricted use of property.”    Read the article……………
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