Month: July 2012

Purchasing Defibrillator for Association Use

While it’s true that the FDA recommends that people have defibrillators on hand to help someone in case of a heart attack, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your association should consider buying one and training someone, such as a board member, in how to use it. That’s because, although having a defibrillator on hand might…

What Are My Board Member Rights Regarding Slander?

Q: I'm a board member of a community association. At our annual meeting of the members, another member accused me of accepting a kickback from an electrician for a major job at our community. Can I sue the member for slander, for making this false statement about me? A: Yes, you can sue. But, depending…

Dormant Development Gets Underway to Dismay of Nearby HOA

A long-dormant Planned Unit Development (PUD) in the Wildewood area of California, Md., is now moving forward. And the initial stages of the development of the Oak Crest Center have drawn criticism from some neighbors in the residential Wildewood HOA that sits directly across the street. That's because Oak Crest has no residential development planned,…

Take Immediate Action After Serious Crime

How you handle the aftermath of a serious crime when it occurs at your community will determine how safe your members feel in the future, as well as answer questions it might raise, such as whether the association's insurance policy will cover related lawsuits, and the degree to which the association may be held responsible for the crime—as well as any future crimes.

Prevent Renovations from Leading to Member Discontent

Members are usually supportive of common area renovation projects because they realize that updates make the community a better place to live and have the potential to make their units more valuable. But not every member will feel that way. For example, members may be disgruntled if construction causes inconveniences like having to use alternate entrances to amenities, like a clubhouse, while the main entrance is redone. Another common complaint from members may be disrupted traffic patterns due to road repairs for the community.

Association Not Liable for Alligator Attack

Facts: A guest of homeowners in a planned residential community was attacked and killed by an alligator. Before the community was developed, the land within and surrounding its boundaries was largely marsh, where indigenous alligators lived. In order to develop the property, the association installed a lagoon system that allowed enough drainage to create an area suitable for a residential development. After the project was completed in the 1970s, the indigenous alligators subsequently began to move in and out of the community through its lagoon systems.

INSIDER’S 2012 Survey Says: The Worst Is Past

That's according to 74 percent of community association managers surveyed last month by the Insider, who believe community association financial conditions are finally improving. Respondents reported that the number of foreclosures, if not declining, have at least leveled off. As one respondent put it, “More good, dues-paying owners are coming in behind the bad owners who never should've been allowed to purchase during the ‘subprime’ heyday.”

Members Had ‘Actual Knowledge’ of Duty to Pay Assessments

Facts: Members in a planned community sued the homeowners association, arguing that their deed didn't require them to pay semiannual assessments to the association. The members asked a trial court for a declaratory judgment that they weren't required to pay the assessments. The association asked the trial court for a judgment in its favor without a trial, which the court granted. The homeowners appealed.

Decision: A Massachusetts appeals court upheld the decision in favor of the association and dismissed the case.

Member’s Free Speech Right Outweighed Association’s Property Interests

Facts: A member who lived in a planned townhouse community ran for town council and posted two signs in support of his candidacy at his home—one inside a window and another inside a door. The association's governing documents banned all residential signs except “For Sale” signs. The declaration precluded signs “in or upon any Building, the Common Facilities, or any part thereof without the prior written consent of the Board.” However, no written guidelines existed to direct the board's discretion in this area.

Association Immune from Snow Removal Liability

Facts: The manager of a townhouse community hired a snow removal company to perform snow removal services. Under its maintenance contract with the association, the company was responsible for removing snow from the streets, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots within the property's common area. After a large snowstorm occurred, the company began removing the snow from the association's common elements, but finished clearing other areas the following day.