Month: April 2012

Implement Employee Email Usage Policy

Community association management offices commonly use email as their main communication tool. Because of that, your employees may need to frequently send and receive emails in order to do their jobs. However, personal or inappropriate emails that come from your management company or association's email system could, at the very least, reflect poorly on your ability to manage your staff and also on the community, and at the worst, make you or the association liable if the emails cause any damage.

Avoiding HOA Rule Selective Enforcement Claims

Q: Do the courts hold an association responsible for enforcing every community rule? A: How strictly HOA rules are enforced varies from community to community. Some rules and regulations are necessary for a board to enforce, especially when a member creates a problem that could affect the health and safety of other members. In such…

Do Board Members’ Oral Promises Trump Declaration?

Q I live in a small condo co-op. When I've seen board members in the building, we've discussed that portions of the balcony outside my unit need to be either repaired or replaced. They've agreed that the association should be responsible for the cost of this and similar repairs to other units in the building. But when I formally asked the association to pay for the repairs, it said that it's my responsibility under the declaration and bylaws.

Manager Had Knowledge of Association’s Fair Housing Violation

Facts: A son submitted one application for himself and another for his mother to rent two units in a condo building that was run by an association. The lease for the son's unit was conditioned on approval of the lease for both units. Along with their applications, the mother and son requested an exception to the association's no-pet policy so that the 95-year-old mother, who suffered from mental and physical disabilities, could keep her emotional support dog.

Avoid Liability for Member Hazards in Age-Restricted Community

Age-restricted communities provide a great alternative for elderly people who want to stay active and remain in their homes rather than move into to a nursing or assisted living facility. If you manage an age-restricted community, you'll face some special management concerns about the declining health of the community's members. As time goes on and residents get older, some may start to suffer from dementia or other mental problems that can lead to sometimes violent or otherwise dangerous behavior.

HOA Flood Rebates Nixed by FEMA

Florida condos and HOAs may soon be weathering a financial storm, thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA announced recently that it will prohibit continued rebating of amounts paid for flood insurance in the Sunshine State. Many Florida communities that are susceptible to natural disasters there, including hurricanes, currently receive these rebates.

In an April memorandum, the federal government ended the practice of providing associations with rebates on flood insurance premiums. The change will take effect on Oct. 1, 2012.

Bill Shields Developers from HOA Claims of Shoddy Work

Florida Gov. Rick Scott must make a decision on legislation that could wreak financial damage on homeowners associations. The proposed law, Senate Bill 1196, shields developers against claims from the Sunshine State’s homeowner associations when they ask for payments to repair poor work on common-area infrastructures. The bill’s builder-friendly protections are being criticized by planned…

Don’t Let Painting Contractor Set Terms of Job

If your community's spring cleaning plans include painting, don't agree to a “time and materials” paint job, where the contractor charges you at the end of the job for all the time it spent on the job and the materials it bought to do the job. With time and materials jobs, you run the risk of having an inflated bill. There are too many variables involved in a painting job that can add to the cost in that type of agreement.

INSIDER’s Pop Quiz!

Question: To cut down on payroll, would it be okay for an association to lay off some of its maintenance crew and rehire them as independent contractors? Answer: It would be a big mistake. Tax authorities would be quick to reclassify such workers as employees. For more information on the tax consequences of employees vs.…