• MOST Interesting NEWS   
   

1. Role of Fla. licensed community association managers is discussed

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A Florida Bar committee recently discussed whether licensed community association managers overstep their legal bounds through everyday practices such as completing forms. CAMs are advised to refrain from giving legal advice to a community board or residents, the committee said. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (06/25)

 

2. Top HOA legal questions are answered

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The latest "Ask an Attorney" forum sponsored by the Association of Condominium, Townhouse and Homeowners Associations offered attendees professional advice on legal issues surrounding community associations, including ways to recoup delinquent payments, proper discussion procedures at community meetings and eligibility to enforce smoking bans. Chicago Tribune (06/07)

 

3. Arizona agencies get schooled on hoarding issues

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT HOA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Hoarding can become a major issue if accumulated debris spills out into the yard, attracting rodents, emitting odors and decreasing property values. In Arizona, task forces have been assembled to deal with hoarders, and fire departments are learning tactics to save cluttered homes in the event of a fire or other incident. Arizona Republic (Phoenix), The (06/06)

 

4. FHA cancels stricter requirements for mortgage applicants

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT HOA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

The Federal Housing Administration has rescinded tough credit restrictions that would have made it difficult for some borrowers to secure low-down-payment loans. The policy change, which was supposed to go into effect on Sunday, would have forced applicants who have any outstanding bills totaling $1,000 or more to resolve those issues before approval. Some mortgage industry experts say that if the policy went through, about a third of FHA loan applicants would struggle to get approval, which may have put a damper on an already fragile housing market. Washington Post, The (06/29)

 

5. How volunteer HOA board members manage everyday challenges

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Serving on a community association board can give a resident the sense they are making a difference in their community, but it can also add stress when they need to enforce rules, are subject to unrealistic demands by fellow neighbors and have to navigate the fine line between governing and overstepping their legal bounds. "It's a lot of responsibility," says Dave Biemel, who serves on the Arielle Condominium Association board in Sarasota, Fla. "Even something like towing a car that's illegally parked -- if we do tow it, does the association stand some chance of being sued?"Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Fla.) (06/08)

 

6. 5 body language faux pas by male managers

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Demonstrating authority, power and strength may be appropriate in some workplaces, but male leaders who want to foster a collaborative, mutually respectful work environment should pay attention to what their body language says about them. Managers who show no emotion, refuse to listen, lack empathy and simply look intimidating may ostracize some of their staff without even knowing it. Forbes (06/26)

 

7. Hiring a management firm may solve community problems

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT HOA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Self-managed buildings often have lower fees, but the lack of professional oversight can lead to headaches for owners. In some instances, repairs and upgrades have taken months or years to complete because personal relationships affect the standards and processes of managing the community. "Hiring a professional management company costs money, but given the hazards of neighbors trying to run a business they all have a personal stake in, I think hiring an outside management company can make sense in the long run," says Karl Swenson, a condo owner in a self-managed building. Boston Herald (06/15)

 

8. Florida lawyers answer HOA questions

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Several Florida lawyers offer answers to common questions in this article to promote more effective leadership in HOAs. Discover the best ways to record meeting minutes, how to open lines of communication between board members and residents, and what to do if a condominium lien for assessments has expired. Naples Daily News (Fla.) (06/17)

 

9. 12 steps HOAs should take to prepare for hurricane season

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Tropical Storm Debby should come as a reminder to HOAs to review their policies regarding natural disasters, Adam Sinclair writes. He cites a list by Wendy Murray of Associa Gulf Coast that outlines 12 steps HOAs should take -- including disaster plans, evacuation routes and acquiring emergency generators and supplies -- to prepare their communities for a severe storm. Examiner.com (06/25)


10. Lansdowne HOA wins suit against cable provider's monopoly

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Washington Post, The (07/01)

 

In the News 

   
  • FHA cancels stricter requirements for mortgage applicants
    The Federal Housing Administration has rescinded tough credit restrictions that would have made it difficult for some borrowers to secure low-down-payment loans. The policy change, which was supposed to go into effect on Sunday, would have forced applicants who have any outstanding bills totaling $1,000 or more to resolve those issues before approval. Some mortgage industry experts say that if the policy went through, about a third of FHA loan applicants would struggle to get approval, which may have put a damper on an already fragile housing market. The Washington Post (6/29) 
  • Condo residents want N.J. township to ban some pesticides
    Condo residents in the Society Hill community in Basking Ridge, N.J., oppose the association's decision to bring back the use of lawn pesticides that contain Trimec 992, which some say is a carcinogen. Members of the Society Hill HOA say the pesticides are safe and that they are trying to maintain home values, but several residents want Basking Ridge's Township Committee to outlaw the use of such pesticides. Patch.com/Basking Ridge, N.J. (6/26) 

 

  • 12 steps HOAs should take to prepare for hurricane season
    Tropical Storm Debby should come as a reminder to HOAs to review their policies regarding natural disasters, Adam Sinclair writes. He cites a list by Wendy Murray of Associa Gulf Coast that outlines 12 steps HOAs should take -- including disaster plans, evacuation routes and acquiring emergency generators and supplies -- to prepare their communities for a severe storm. Examiner.com (6/25) 

 

  • When should condo communities buy services in bulk?
    The savings can be hefty when co-op condos buy services in bulk. For example, Villas on the Bay, a 42-unit condominium in Long Island, N.Y., switched to bulk liability and property insurance and saved about $20,000 a year. However, not all bulk purchases are a good idea, Ronda Kaysen writes. Choosing the cheapest contractor or landscaper, for example, could be detrimental for the community. Habitat magazine online (7/5) 

 

  • Courts, co-ops crack down on smoking residents
    More condo and co-op board members are turning their communities into smoke-free living spaces in order to save money on maintenance needs such as steam-cleaning carpets, sweeping up cigarette butts and washing windows more frequently. In addition, courts around the country have required smokers to install special ventilation systems and thicker insulation to prevent secondhand smoke from reaching their neighbors. Habitat magazine online (7/6)

 

 

  • Community wants city's help with pond problems
    Residents of the Penn Prairie on the Pond subdivision in North Liberty, Iowa, are seeking city support to help rid a pond of debris and algae from stormwater drains. The city reimbursed the community $250 in 2010; homeowners say they've spent tens of thousands of dollars for maintenance over the past two years. "We have over 70 city drains that come into the pond, providing everything you can think of," resident Gary Burge says. "... We are not asking the city to take over the pond; we just request some assistance and understanding." North Liberty Leader (Iowa) (6/19) 

 

  • County may take steps to help communities upgrade infrastructure
    Condo owners at the Whitehall Forest East community in Georgia's DeKalb County are facing about $300,000 in water and sewer bills because aging and leaky pipes cost the residents more each month than they can afford. County commissioners may create a special tax district that would help to update water and sewer systems to reduce monthly costs. "It takes the burden off the homeowners association and homeowners from trying to pay one large bill that's extremely, extremely high," says Corey Turner, president of the HOA. "Each unit is going to have a water bill of its own." The Champion (Decatur, Ga.) (6/20) 
  • N.J. court says HOA residents can display political signs
    The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that residents of home and condo associations can display political signs after one resident at the Mazdabrook Commons condo community in Parsippany was told to take signs down that supported his campaign for office. "Political signs advancing a resident's candidacy are not incompatible with a private development; rather, they are a small but important part of the fabric of our society," the court wrote. "On balance, the importance of [the resident's] right to promote his candidacy for office, and the relatively minor interference his conduct posed to private property, outweigh Mazdabrook's interests."The Republic (Columbus, Ind.)/The Associated Press (6/13)
  • Hiring a management firm may solve community problems
    Self-managed buildings often have lower fees, but the lack of professional oversight can lead to headaches for owners. In some instances, repairs and upgrades have taken months or years to complete because personal relationships affect the standards and processes of managing the community. "Hiring a professional management company costs money, but given the hazards of neighbors trying to run a business they all have a personal stake in, I think hiring an outside management company can make sense in the long run," says Karl Swenson, a condo owner in a self-managed building. Boston Herald (6/15)
  • Florida lawyers answer HOA questions
    Several Florida lawyers offer answers to common questions in this article to promote more effective leadership in HOAs. Discover the best ways to record meeting minutes, how to open lines of communication between board members and residents, and what to do if a condominium lien for assessments has expired. Naples Daily News (Fla.) (6/17) 
  • W.Va. HOA wins lawsuit but still has legal battle ahead
    The Patrick Henry Estates HOA in Charles Town, W.Va., won a four-year lawsuit against its developer, Dr. Gerald Miller, but residents still have work ahead of them. The HOA sued Miller when it discovered the developer wanted to build an apartment complex on a vacant lot that had been zoned for a single-family house. Although it was awarded $243,000 in the lawsuit, members of the board say the money will be used for community repairs and for ongoing attorney fees, as Miller has petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court to have the case heard. The Journal (Martinsburg, W.Va.) (6/17) 
  • Arizona agencies get schooled on hoarding issues
    Hoarding can become a major issue if accumulated debris spills out into the yard, attracting rodents, emitting odors and decreasing property values. In Arizona, task forces have been assembled to deal with hoarders, and fire departments are learning tactics to save cluttered homes in the event of a fire or other incident. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) (6/6) 
  • Top HOA legal questions are answered
    The latest "Ask an Attorney" forum sponsored by the Association of Condominium, Townhouse and Homeowners Associations offered attendees professional advice on legal issues surrounding community associations, including ways to recoup delinquent payments, proper discussion procedures at community meetings and eligibility to enforce smoking bans. Chicago Tribune (6/7) 
  • How volunteer HOA board members manage everyday challenges
    Serving on a community association board can give a resident the sense they are making a difference in their community, but it can also add stress when they need to enforce rules, are subject to unrealistic demands by fellow neighbors and have to navigate the fine line between governing and overstepping their legal bounds. "It's a lot of responsibility," says Dave Biemel, who serves on the Arielle Condominium Association board in Sarasota, Fla. "Even something like towing a car that's illegally parked -- if we do tow it, does the association stand some chance of being sued?" Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Fla.) (6/8) 

          Colo. rebuilding effort challenges HOA covenants

  • The Mountain Shadows community in Colorado Springs, Colo., was filled with 346 custom houses, condos, patio homes and townhouses before the Waldo Canyon wildfire burned every one to the ground. Now, as homeowners set their sights on rebuilding, some HOA members are worried the new homes will clash with one another as homeowners seek out different architects and builders because the association isn't able to enforce covenants dictating house style and size. "It's an enormously complex situation," lawyer Lenard Rioth says. "There are going to be challenges at all levels of the rebuilding process." The Denver Post
  • Calif. city, condo association will pay to settle age-bias case
    The city of Santa Rosa, Calif., and the association of La Esplanada Condominiums have reached a settlement with the federal government, agreeing to pay $5,000 each for violating a law meant to prevent age discrimination in housing. The city and the association changed the age to purchase a condo in the complex to 40 even though the community was zoned for 55-and-over living. "I think the feds wanted to send a message to cities that if you're going to have land zoned for senior housing, you can't just put this zoning category on it and walk away. You've got to monitor it and make sure it stays senior housing," fair-housing lawyer David Grabill says. The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
  • Other News
  • Florida HOA bans election signs in neighborhood
    Bradenton Herald (Fla.)
  • 6 ways to improve employee morale
    Disgruntled employees can become risks for theft, loss of productivity and high turnover costs, but managers have the power to turn these unhappy workers around. According to a survey of less-than-satisfied employees, the way to get them back on board is to be more encouraging, trust them with more responsibility, be honest when giving feedback and take interest in their personal development. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (free registration)
  • How to create a millennial-friendly work environment
    Employees who are members of the millennial generation have much different workplace expectations than their parents do, and it's important for managers to know how to nurture this generation, as they will compose more than 75% of the workforce by 2025. To foster a millennial-friendly workplace, give these employees a way to make a difference, give them constant feedback and help them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Intuit Small Business Blog
  • Other News
  • Tips and tricks to solve your e-mail woes
    PCWorld Business Center/Simply Business blog (7/20)
  • How to attract new talent to the HOA board
    Recruiting new board members is a great way to add fresh ideas and stimulate conversations, but passing the baton isn't always easy when homeowners seem to be busier than ever. Reach out to potential board members in ways that appeal to them, such as through text messaging, with e-mails or at community events, and make sure you're fostering a board environment they would like to be a part of, Donna DiMaggio Berger writes. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)/Condos and HOAs blog
  • State clear business ethics to avoid cheating the system
    Many people are tempted to cheat when the reward is high and the risk is low, but there are ways to avoid falling to temptation and to prevent your cohorts from doing the same. One way to minimize cheating in the workplace is to clearly state your organization's ethical principles and reward employees who toe the line. CNNMoney/Fortune
  • Md. residents are wary of bill to redefine Columbia Association
    Lawmakers are considering a bill that would redefine the Columbia Association in Columbia, Md., as a "nonprofit community service corporation" instead of a "homeowners association," and several residents wonder what it would mean for the organization and the neighborhoods it governs. "The bill is basically a dodge," says Thomas Scott, president of Alliance for a Better Columbia. "I think they're trying to hide the salaries and bonuses of the people who run the CA." The Sun (Baltimore) (8/3)

    Home-based day-care owners fight HOA to resume business
    A Nebraska couple's home-based day-care business got a second chance after the state Supreme Court ruled they can argue that their HOA unfairly forced them to close the business after running it for years. The HOA says its covenants forbid homeowners from conducting "business activities" from their homes, but the couple says other neighbors run home-based businesses as well and that they were unfairly targeted. The Republic (Columbus, Ind.)/The Associated Press (8/3)

    Homeowner, association spar over political yard signs
    Lisa Schmidt of Ridgefield, Wash., is going head-to-head with the Mount Vista HOA after she was told to remove "Stand Up for Religious Freedom" yard signs because they do not fit the association's criteria for political markers. Schmidt has hired a lawyer and says the HOA is violating her First Amendment rights by dictating which signs she can post. The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) (8/2)

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