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Wisconsin Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 3, 2012
  • Post-Foreclosure Considerations: When the Association Owns a Unit
    The Association has completed its lien foreclosure action and is now the owner of a unit. Now what?   Read the article (PDF)…………………………….
  • Navigating Differences: Reserve Studies and Structural Integrity Reserve Studies
    The core purpose of any reserve study is the same – to serve as a capital expenditure forecasting tool and reserve funding plan to offset such expenditures. These resources provide knowledge on the true cost of ownership for your community and aim to ensure the physical well-being of your association. However, there are some key differences between a typical reserve study and a Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS).   Read the article……………………………
  • A Closer Look at The Latest Changes to CAI’s Reserve Study Standards
    In March of 2022, a task force of fourteen community association industry experts gathered to begin the process of revising Community Association Institute’s (CAI) Reserve Study (RS) Standards. Originally published in 1998, the RS Standards provide a consistent framework under which reserve study providers and common interest communities should operate in tandem – a necessary blueprint for the then-new industry. Since then, both the community association and reserve study industries have rapidly grown, and the RS Standards have been revised to reflect the current climate.  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………………………..
  • Backyard Event Rentals: Problems Posed for Homeowner Associations
    Homeowners may wish to engage in backyard event rentals to earn supplemental income. For example, some homeowners may rent out their pool and backyard space for parties. While this might seem like a clever opportunity for homeowners to make an extra buck, such backyard event rentals will likely cause tension between homeowners and their HOA or community management entity.   Read the article………………………..
  • Wisconsin has a ‘solar rights’ law. But HOAs still sometimes prevent solar installations
    Wisconsin has a ‘solar rights law,’ so HOAs cannot legally ban solar. But many do unintentionally. Kuntz had an intern review HOA covenants.  They found that most restrictions were not written by residents but by developers. Sometimes the rules are specific to solar, but often they apply to anything that changes a home’s aesthetics. HOAs inherit this language and frequently never question it.   Read the article………………………..
  • Long-Lived Assets: The Bottom Line
    Long-lived assets or components are those which do not have a predictable remaining useful life, or their replacements are beyond the scope of the reserve study. When conducting a reserve study, one of the first steps your consultant will take is evaluating the inventory of your community’s components and classifying them into groups, with reserve studies focusing most prominently on reserve components. However, long-lived assets are equally as important to keep an eye on.   Read the article………………………..
  • Homeowners Association Notices Now Due (WI)
    Attention all homeowners’ and large condominium associations; be sure to review the recently adopted Wis. Stat. §182.01(7) and §710.18, regarding regulation and notice filing requirements for residential lot homeowners’ associations, and Wis. Stat. §703.20(1r) requiring large condominium associations to maintain a website for the condominium association,    Read the article………………………..
  • New Website Requirement for Wisconsin Condominium Associations and Their Property Managers
    Condominium associations and their property managers should be aware of a new subsection (1r) added by the Wisconsin State Legislature to the 2021 Wisconsin Act 166 requiring condominium associations of 100 units or more to maintain a website that satisfies the conditions listed below by April 1, 2023. Those that do not comply may face enforcement actions brought by the association members, the unit owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Inflation and Reserves: The Implications on Capital Planning
    As we all know by now, inflation has moved into our lives and isn’t estimated to move out for about a year or more. While some industries are already seeing some relief, this is not and will not be the case for many other industries for the foreseeable future, including those that community associations rely on for capital projects.  Read the article………………………..
  • Condo and HOA Maintenance: Who is Responsible?
    There are many benefits to being a member of a condominium, homeowner (HOA), and townhome community association. By paying assessments, unit owners share the cost for a variety of association expenses including common area maintenance (ex. lobbies, hallways, elevators), amenities (ex. club house, gym, pool), landscaping, utilities, and more.   Read the article………………………..
  • Reserve Funding Strategies
    Boards and managers who want to ensure adequate funds and avoid shortfalls (or at least get into a better financial position) should familiarize themselves with common reserve funding goals and the strategies to achieve them. As outlined in the National Reserve Study Standards (NRSS), four accepted funding goals are available to community associations.    Read the article………………………
  • 7 Ways to Avoid an Unruly Association Board Meeting
    Board members must often make the most difficult decisions for their community association including budgeting and addressing owner concerns. Differences of opinion regarding any of these and other issues can result in confrontation.   Read the article………………………..
  • FHA Condo Approval: Adding Value for Your Community (WI)
    The Federal Housing Administration will insure mortgage loans by lenders that make a loan for the purchase of a residential condo, if the unit is in an FHA-approved condominium community. Considering FHA insured loans account for almost 25% of all home mortgage loans made nationwide, it follows that a unit in an FHA-approved community will appeal to a larger pool of potential buyers. Increasing the universe of potential buyers for a condo community’s units is a decent motivation for an association to obtain FHA approval of their community.    Read the article…………………
  • Condominium Reserve Accounts (WI)
    For a condominium community, the best way to prepare for that inevitable expensive repair is to have a reserve fund. Otherwise, when those big ticket repairs need to be made – like replacing roofs or concrete areas – there will be no money to pay for them, and every unit owner will receive a walloping special assessment instead. The condo association might be able to get a loan to cover a periodic large repair cost, but loans to condo associations are not always available.     Read the article………………..
  • Wisconsin Condo Law and Smoking
    Wisconsin law prohibits smoking in the common areas of all condominiums.  Newly built condominiums can relatively easily prohibit smoking also in individually owned units, although enforcing a smoking ban in privately owned units can be challenging.     Read the article………………
  • Wisconsin’s Small Condominium Law – A Potential Tool to Work Around Local Certified Survey Map Approval and Minimum Lot Size Requirements
    Sometimes a municipality’s certified survey map approval authority, minimum lot size requirements, or building setback requirements can present an obstacle to an owner’s desire to sell part but not all of his or her property. Whether it is vacant land, a retail shopping center, or a mixed-use project, a condominium can facilitate the sale of portions of real property without having to comply with minimum lot sizes or certified survey map requirements of various municipalities.    Read the article………………
  • Litigation With City Results in Municipal Ordinance Favoring Association (WI)
    A Wisconsin condominium association was built as many condominium projects are — with privately owned roads. The difference with this development is that it was part of a larger development plan — one that forced it to share its private thoroughfares with neighboring associations and an apartment complex.     Read the article……………..
  • Post-Foreclosure Considerations: When the Association Owns a Unit
    If you are a condominium association who is preparing to complete a lien foreclosure on a Unit, you are sure to have many questions about what to expect if you become the owner of the Unit through the foreclosure process. Should the Association rent, sell or hold the Unit and what are the risks associated with each? Should the Association pay the taxes? What about the mortgage? Should the Association deed the Unit to the mortgage company or start a quiet title action? What will/can our property manager help the Association do? These are all questions the Association will have to answer. This white paper will walk you through your options, banish common misconceptions associated with foreclosure, and provide you the ...
  • Turnover – Considerations for your Condominium Board of Directors and Officers (WI)
    Is your condominium or homeowners association currently controlled by the declarant/developer? Would you like to be prepared when the developer is ready to hand over the reins to you, the owners? In Wisconsin, developer turnover is governed by Section 703.15 of the Wisconsin Statutes. To ensure a seamless transition, there are certain steps associations should take both before and after developer turnover.   Read the article……………
  • Unit Fire Increases Association Insurance Premiums
    What happens when a fire caused within a condominium unit destroys that unit, some common area, and damages other units? It becomes an expensive situation for the association. Even though insurance should pay for all of the damages, the association’s insurance premiums going forward could increase dramatically. This is exactly what happened to a small condominium association in Wisconsin.    Read the article…………….
  • Wisconsin appellate court denies insurance coverage to a contractor because work was performed on a building that had synthetic stucco
    A slew of lawsuits has plagued the construction industry regarding the use of exterior insulation and finish systems, also known as EIFS or synthetic stucco. Insurance companies were historically required to pay money towards those claims under standard commercial general liability policies. As they did in response to lawsuits involving asbestos and environmental contamination, insurance companies reacted by changing their policy language to limit or eliminate their liability for synthetic stucco claims.  The Wisconsin Court of Appeals, in Kaitlin Woods Condominium Association v. Nautilus Insurance Company, enforced a broad reading of the synthetic stucco exclusion in favor of the insurance company, and against a general contractor that developed multiple condominiums       Read the article…………..
  • How to deal with a weak homeowners association
    Reader Question: Our homeowner’s association has bylaws. The HOA is not proactive in enforcing them and has allowed residents to violate, only addressing the violations if someone files a complaint. This refusal to proactively monitor property conditions puts the complaining homeowner in harm’s way by exposing them to acts of retribution by the offending unit owner or their associates. How can I get the board to take responsibility and be proactive in protecting property owners by monitoring and enforcing the bylaws for which we pay a required yearly fee?   Read the article…………..
  • Best Practices for Protecting Association Data
    Hacking can be defined as the breach of a computer system in an attempt to exploit weaknesses in a network. As online commerce continues to grow and individuals search for ways to make bill paying more convenient, security threats are inevitable. Monetary transactions, including association assessment payments, have become increasingly more susceptible to the risks of cyber threats.  Whether an Association allows members to make payments toward common area assessments online or an Association houses members’ personal information on a computer, hacking can become a real threat. If precautions are not taken, association members may be subject to fraud and/or unauthorized access to their accounts.     Read the article…………..
  • (WI) Supreme Court Downs Condo Policy on Unpaid Assessments after Foreclosure
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court, by a 5-2 majority, recently ruled that a condominium policy violated Wisconsin law by restricting a new condo owner’s access to condo amenities, like a golf course, if the prior condo owner’s assessments remained unpaid after foreclosure.  Read the article…………..
  • Dealing With Delinquencies: Make Sure Your Association Has a Collection Policy
    A homeowner association depends on the regular income from assessments to pay for services, amenities and common maintenance expenses. Without the timely collection of assessments from homeowners, the association simply cannot function properly. Unfortunately, most community associations at one time or another have to deal with homeowners who default on their assessments. Having a clearly defined policy for payment and collection of assessments, and consistently enforcing it, is essential for every association.  Read the article…………
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court Provides Associations a Powerful Tool in the Fight Against Blight
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court has taken a stand against banks that are dragging their feet foreclosing properties that have been abandoned by their owners. This court decision will be of substantial benefit to some Wisconsin condominiums facing the problem of a vacant unit and a bank that seeks to bury its head in the sand. This widespread practice by the banks has damaged many communities across the nation, and the court decision seeks to stop it.    Read more……..
  • 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 questions of “Should Bob steal from Jack?” or “Should Jack lie to his boss?”
  • Parking Enforcement More Streamlined for Wisconsin Condominiums
    The ability of Wisconsin condominiums to remove illegal parkers from common elements has been made easier under a recent law and rule making by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.     Read more………
  • WI Appeals Court: Fee in Lieu of Room Tax was an Illegal Tax on Condo Owners
    Condo owners who did not rent their units to the public paid a “fee in lieu of room” tax to the City of Delevan. Recently, a state appeals court ruled that the fee constituted an illegal tax and the condo owners were not required to pay it.    Read more…….
  • Spring Cleaning Inside and Out!
    Even though it’s hard to tell sometimes, spring is finally here in Wisconsin. For many of us, springtime means spring cleaning. Maybe for you that means it’s time to clean out your garage or your attic, but there are things that condo associations can do as well.     Read more……….
  • Directors’ Bankruptcy Does Not Relieve D&O Insurer of Obligation to Defend
    The bankruptcy of insured directors did not relieve the insurer that had issued a directors and officers (D&O) endorsement to a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy of the obligation to defend or indemnify them, even where they had been dismissed from the lawsuit, an appellate court in Wisconsin has ruled.    Read more…….
  • Transition
  • Strategic Planning
    Strategic Planning
  • Reserve Studies/Management
    Reserve Studies/Management
  • Green Communities
    Green Communities
  • Governance
  • Community Security
    Community Security
  • Financial Operations
    Financial Operations
  • Energy Efficiency
    Energy Efficiency
  • Community Harmony & Spirit
    Community Harmony & Spirit
  • From Good to Great: Principles for Community Association Success
    Every community has its own history, personality, attributes and challenges, but all associations share common characteristics and core  principles. Good associations  preserve the character of  their communities, protect  property values and meet  the established expectations of homeowners. Great  associations also cultivate  a true sense of community,  promote active homeowner  involvement and create a  culture of informed consensus.
  • Five Steps to Becoming a More Effective Board Member
    Being a volunteer board member can sometimes be stressful and time consuming, but before you decide to throw in the towel and never look back, make sure you aren’t the one getting in your own way! Here are a few tips for becoming more effective as a community association leader.   Read More….
  • Spring Ahead: 6 Things to Look for on Your Spring Property Walk-through
    In Wisconsin, we’re still in the rainy season, but those sunshine-filled days are just around the corner. April and May are an excellent time to conduct a walk-around of your property to look for damages that may have occurred over the winter. It’s also a good time to make sure that all owners are in compliance with the governing documents. Doing these regularly and keeping good notes will help you plan for the future. Bring your fellow board members, property manager, your landscaping or architectural committee and even your landscaper if you can. If your property is large, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes! If your building is high or mid-rise style, you should conduct a walk-around of the ...
  • Introduction to Community Association Living
    Community Volunteer Leadership Development Program Community volunteer leaders and members can maximize the benefits of community association living by better understanding the history, purpose, and function of community associations. One way to do so is by participating in the Center for Community Association Volunteers’ (CCAV) Community Volunteer Leadership Development Program – offered online or by local CAI chapters.    Read more…….
  • So Now You’re On the Board
    The first steps to superior board performance are clarifying your board’s job and then following through with appropriate plans, actions and evaluation of results. The checklists presented here are intended to assist you in those tasks. They cover a significant number of your responsibilities. The checklists will apply to virtually any association. To use them, simply modify or delete items as appropriate. http://communityassociations.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/so_now_youre_on_the_board.pdf  
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