Month: September 2009

Collect Rent from Delinquent Members’ Tenants

An increasing number of associations are dealing with weakening finances because a percentage of their members are unable to pay their assessments on time. The economic situation is grim. According to data from the Equifax Credit Bureau, high U.S. unemployment keeps pushing up the rate of mortgage delinquencies, which in turn drives personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures. August marked the fourth consecutive monthly increase in delinquencies, and the report showed an accelerating pace.

Member Must Pay Association’s Attorney Fees

Facts: A member obtained the approval of the association to build a house, a retaining wall, and a barn on his lot located in the community. The governing documents require that work on any construction projects must be completed within a year of approval. Even so, two years after approval, the member still had not begun construction of the house, and the association gave the member notice that it would begin mediation proceedings to resolve the construction delays.

Insurer Not Required to Defend Against Member’s Personal Injury Claim

Facts: A member was injured as a result of exposure to unsafe sanitary conditions in the community swimming pool. Specifically, the member contracted a viral infection from contaminants in the swimming pool's water. The viral infection was identified as the coxsackie virus, which was contracted from ingesting the community's swimming pool water. According to an expert's report, proper chlorination of swimming pool water is an effective way to kill harmful microbes, including the virus that caused the member's injury.

Roofing Company May Be Liable for Defective Roof

Facts: A few months after an association completed a roofing project, a member wrote a letter to the association board stating that she had a water moisture problem inside her second-story bedroom window as a result of the new tile roof. She also reported several broken roof tiles. Six years later, the buildings in the association suffered numerous roof leaks. And the following spring, the association hired a roofing consultant who found multiple causes for the leaks and multiple types of roof defects.

Association Seeks Removal of 44-Year-Old Couple

The Fair Housing Act allows communities intended for those over 55 to discriminate against young potential renters. At least 80 percent of units must be occupied, it states, by a person older than 55.

One Florida condo association of a 55-and-over complex is trying to get rid of a couple, both of whom are 44. According to the board of directors, the rules are clear. The age restriction is on the application, and the governing documents say that the complex is an “adult community.”

Supreme Court Ruling Benefits Associations with Unionized Labor

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett from earlier this year may have a significant impact on how your association or management company handles future labor disputes with unionized employees. According to New York attorney William Hummell, a partner at Kucker and Bruh LLP, employers of union employees can now enforce the alternative dispute resolution or arbitration provisions in their collective bargaining agreement rather than have an employment issue, such as a discrimination claim, resolved through protracted federal litigation.

Using “Project Approved” Signs to Encourage Compliance with Architectural Review Committee Guidelines

Q  Over the years, we have had issues with association members who have made modifications to their homes without obtaining the necessary approval from the association. Also, as a result, suspicious members regularly make calls to the management office to ask if particular neighbors have been granted approval by the architectural review committee for whatever project the neighbor happens to be working on. Can you recommend any efficient way to put association members on notice of approved projects in the community?

Member Prevented from Conducting Renovations Without Obtaining Permits

Facts: A condo association's governing documents required members to obtain a permit before starting any renovations in their units. This rule was implemented to ensure that: (1) contractors were aware of the association rules so as not to disrupt other members; (2) all renovations were compliant with building codes; (3) contractors were registered with the city; and (4) contractors possessed sufficient insurance to cover potential damage to any of the units.