Month: July 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.