Month: April 2009

Association Not Liable for Member’s Water Intrusion

Facts: A member sued his condominium association to compel the association to make repairs to the common area to prevent water intrusion and flooding into the lower level of the member's condominium. During a period of heavy rainfall, there was standing water in the member's condominium.

How to Screen Out Risky Employees, Limit Crime and Liability

When you hire a bad apple to work in your community, you run some serious risks. The individual may perpetrate some sort of crime due to easy access to your members. If news of the crime gets out, your community's reputation may plummet and you may fall into a costly legal trap called “negligent hiring.” The association or your management office may be liable because you exposed members or visitors to dangerous employees through poor hiring practices.

Association’s Parking Rule Deemed Valid

Facts: A member sued to have a court declare whether a parking rule approved by the association's board of directors was valid and enforceable. The board passed a rule prohibiting members from parking anything but a single motorized vehicle in a member's assigned parking space. The member testified that he was using his assigned parking space to park a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, and he claimed that the rule was passed solely to eliminate his parking arrangement.

Ruling: The trial court ruled for the association.

Balance Heat to Conserve Energy, Minimize Complaints

This past winter, you may have received calls from members complaining about inadequate heat in their condo units. Often, these complaints are unfounded or result from easily correctable problems. Provide too much heat, however, and you are just wasting fuel and money. The best bet is to address heating complaints right away, while also controlling your heating costs.

Bylaw Amendment Restricting Rentals Is Enforceable

Facts: A condominium association's declaration that established the association contained no restriction regarding rental of the units. Many years later, the association amended the bylaws to prohibit rentals of condominium units. One of the owners leased her condominium unit over the association's objection, claiming that the rental prohibition was ineffective because it had not been added to the association declaration. The association then filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare that the bylaw amendment was enforceable.

Board Decision Regarding Construction Project Ruled Valid

Facts: A group of members filed a lawsuit to challenge the association board's authority to enter into a contract for construction work on its building without a vote pursuant to its governing documents. The governing documents require a vote if the construction project is “alterations” or “improvements” costing more than 25 percent of the estimated annual budget. Here, the association classified the work as “repairs” and “maintenance.”

Association Didn’t Discriminate Against Members

Facts: An African-American couple filed a discrimination lawsuit against their association. The members asked the court for a judgment without a trial in their favor.

VA Governor Signs Community Association Pay Bill

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine recently signed a revision of the Property Owners' Association Act (POAA) that allows community association members to get salary information for the top six employees earning over $75,000. The revision takes effect July 1. Currently, only aggregate salary information is available. The bill also specifies that all books and records of the association, including individual salary information for all employees and payments to independent contractors, be made available to members of the association's board of directors.