Month: February 2011

Service Company Can’t File Mechanic’s Lien Against Association

Facts: A condominium association signed three service agreements with a company that provided management, security, and property services. According to the contracts, the company was to provide standard residential cleaning, maintenance, and concierge services to all common areas.

When the association did not pay the company, the company filed a lien against the association and more than 100 condominium units. The trial court granted a judgment without a trial in the company's favor and foreclosed on the lien.

Sustainable Landscapes Offer Associations Long-Term Value

Creating positive curb appeal is essential to maintain or even increase property values in your community. Positive curb appeal can create happier members who get more profit for their investment, as well as an improved profile for the building or association as a whole. Due to the importance of first impressions, you may think that an expansive, rolling green lawn contributes to your community's overall attractiveness, but maintaining it probably puts a huge dent in your operating budget.

Texas Community Boosting Efforts to Stop 15 Years of Tire Vandalism

After 15 years of police efforts to find a pesky tire slasher, members of a community in Hyde Park, Texas, are taking matters into their own hands. Hyde Park Homeowners Association members agreed recently to spend $10,000 on high-definition cameras to help police catch the suspect, who members say is a homeless man. Austin police said they have also been tracking a man for 15 years, whom they've arrested from time to time for petty misdemeanors in the area, but no one has caught him in the act of puncturing tires. The number of punctured tires is up to 80 a month.

Members May Be Liable for Defamation of Board President

Facts: The president of a condominium association and her father, the association manager, sued a group of members for defamation. The president alleged that the members conspired to remove her from the board. The complaint alleged that from August 2006 until May 2007, the members maliciously made false and defamatory statements about her and her father to other condominium owners in the building. The complaint further alleged that “throughout 2006 and 2007, defendants continued to make false and defamatory statements.”

Association Not Required to Arbitrate Construction Defect Claims

Facts: A developer purchased 418 apartments, common areas, and common facilities in 2004 and converted the apartments to condominiums in 2005. In the course of making the property a condominium project, the developer recorded governing documents that required that the homeowners association arbitrate any construction defect claim the association might have against the developer. The governing documents provided that the association came into existence upon the sale of the first condominium.

Association May Be Liable for Aggravation to Member’s Respiratory Condition

Facts: A member sued the condo association, the management company, and the association's landscape contractor for negligence. The member alleges that the landscaper negligently and carelessly spread and blew mulch near the member's condominium. As a result, dust from the mulch accumulated in the condominium, aggravating the member's preexisting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease condition.

Association Must Provide Access to Insurance Adjuster

Facts: A Florida condominium community was damaged by a hurricane. However, its insurer's estimate of damages didn't exceed the deductible for the property, so the insurer made no payment to the association.

How the Foreclosure Fraud Scandal May Affect Associations

Ally Financial, one of the nation's largest lenders, recently announced that it's withdrawing all of its foreclosures in Maryland that were approved by employee Jeffrey Stephan, the “robo-signer” who admitted he signed off on thousands of files every month with little or no review.

Association Not Liable for Racial Discrimination

Facts: Under an association's governing documents, a purchaser had to pay at least 10 percent of the purchase price on the property with financing not to exceed 90 percent of the purchase price. A prospective buyer agreed to purchase a condominium for $55,000. She intended to pay $35,000 with funds from State Housing Initiatives Program (SHIP). Unlike bank loans, the recipient of SHIP money need not pay it back.

Police Arrest Squatters of Foreclosed Home

Police detectives in Newport Beach, Calif., recently arrested a couple for illegally squatting in a $2.6 million, ocean-view home. The couple had previously admitted they had entered the house, changed the locks, and put the utilities in their names, even though they did not own the property or have the owner's consent.