Month: February 2010

Association May Be Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injury

Facts: A member sued his condominium association, the management company, and a snow removal company for injuries sustained when he slipped on a recently plowed pathway to his garage. The association had hired the snow removal company to clear snow from the community's common areas. Included in the common areas was a driveway leading to the member's garage.

Association May Have to Count Member’s Votes

Facts: According to an association's bylaws, a member cannot stand for election for the board of directors at the annual meeting if the member is engaged in litigation, arbitration, or mediation against the association.

Require Contractors, Maintenance Staff to Follow New Lead Paint Rule

New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules are set to take effect in April 2010. If you manage a condo building that was built before 1978 and has not been certified as lead-free, you should be aware of the new rules.

Condo Project Manager to Plead Guilty in Asbestos Case

The project manager for a condo conversion project in Florida has agreed to plead guilty to a federal crime for helping cover up asbestos violations.

Reduce Condo Trash Collection Costs with a Recycling Program

Communities that have successfully engaged members in recycling often find savings in their waste management costs. In San Diego, for example, the average cost of a trash pickup is $21.50 per Dumpster, while it costs only $10.50 to pick up a recycling Dumpster. If a condo community with 10 trash Dumpsters serviced three times a week replaced five of the trash Dumpsters with recycling Dumpsters, the waste disposal bill would decrease by $165 per week, which comes out to an annual savings of approximately $8,750.

Association Required to Show Management Company Mismanaged Funds

Facts: A management company sued an association for failing to pay management fees and reimbursements for property repairs. During the course of their relationship, the board began to suspect that the management company was accepting money for repairs that never occurred. The association terminated its contract with the company.

Management Company Not Deemed a Debt Collector

Facts: A member failed to pay his $200 monthly assessment because he felt the association was not properly handling his complaints involving water, rodent, and trash issues. The association's board of directors' secretary contacted the association manager and asked him to call the member to resolve the member's issues. The manager called the member while he was at work.

Association Not Liable for Accidentally Discarding Member’s Personal Property

Facts: A member of a cooperative sued her association and its officers for the removal and destruction of the contents of a storage bin located in the basement of the co-op. As a cooperative housing corporation, each member or shareholder is issued a proprietary lease through which he or she pays maintenance fees to the association.

Survey Members, Investigate Options Before Acting on Secondhand Smoke Complaints

Many condo associations face an increased number of complaints from nonsmokers about their smoking neighbors and are being asked to take action. Oftentimes, associations are put in the awkward position of resolving the conflict between smoking and nonsmoking members. The emotions involved are heightened due to the fact that smokers believe that they have a right to smoke in their own homes, while nonsmokers believe that they have a right not to be exposed to harmful secondhand smoke.

Members Not Liable for Assessments Relating to Common Facilities

Facts: Two members claimed that they did not know a homeowners association existed when they purchased their respective homes. The property deeds make no mention of the association, and the deeds contain no restrictions that require the owners to become members.

In addition, the association's governing documents state that any owner within the community “may become a member” of the association “upon submitting a letter of application and being accepted by a majority vote of the membership.”