Month: July 2011

Census: Home-Based Businesses Booming

The most recent U.S. Census reports that there has been a sharp increase in the number of home-based businesses across the country. According to Census statistics, 51.6 percent of the country's businesses are operated within homes or other noncommercial spaces.

Augusta HOA Denies Housing for Disabled Veteran

Knob Hill Property Owner's Association in Augusta, Ga., recently denied housing to a retired, paralyzed African-American war veteran. The association claimed that the home would require specialized accommodations and that those accommodations would ultimately lower the overall property value of Knob Hill.

Florida Adopts New HOA and Condo Laws

New legislation in Florida, effective July 1, will have a major impact on both condominium and homeowners associations within the state. The legislation will primarily affect procedural and operational issues of the associations. Cooperative associations were, as they have been in the past, excluded from the bill.

The law, House Bill 1195, will amend current laws concerning owner privacy rights, employee salary information, and closed board meetings, among other things.

Retired Marine Wins Battle Over Flagpole

Retired Marine Mike Merola can now fly his flag on the 20-foot flagpole he erected on his property at the Lakeland Village Community Association in Houston, Texas. In December, Lakeland claimed that Merola was in violation of the community's design rules and ordered him to take down the flagpole. When Merola refused, the association sued.

How to Allocate Budgetary Surpluses

The financial health of a community association is one of the most important things that an association manager must constantly monitor. Without enough funds, the association's board of directors may struggle to cover costs, and may eventually have to increase assessments. Since the downturn in the economy, many associations have felt the stress of budgetary shortfalls. But as the economy improves, some are getting a pleasant surprise: They have a budgetary surplus, rather than a shortfall.

Association’s Boat Prohibitions Can Be Enforced

Facts: A homeowner bought a lakefront lot in a community association. Before the purchase, he received and reviewed the community association's covenants and rules. Shortly after moving in, the owner began storing a pontoon boat along the water's edge, which was part of the community's “green belt” area—that is, property around the lake and between the shoreline and the property of individual owners.

HUD: Vegas Association Discriminated Against Families with Children

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently charged a Las Vegas homeowners association and its management company with discriminating against families with children by restricting its housing to members who are 55 and older.

Consider Four Options for Addressing Budgetary Shortfalls

If your association is facing a budget shortfall, you can suggest options for the board to consider. Although each association's specific circumstances are unique, using one or more of the following four options may close the gap:

  • Utilize the prior year's accumulated surplus. If such a surplus exists, then depending on the nature, magnitude, and timing of the expense, it may be appropriate to spend some or the entire surplus to resolve an outstanding obligation.

Board Can Terminate Member’s Proprietary Lease

Facts: An apartment building tenant entered into a written agreement with her then-landlords, who wanted to turn the building into a co-op. Under the terms of the agreement, the tenant was permitted to continue living in the apartment and was given one share in the co-op, making her a “proprietary lessee,” in addition to being a co-op member.