Month: September 2012
Managing your community can be challenging even when things go smoothly and you have the help of competent staff members who are focused on doing their job responsibilities well. Failing to engage employees in activities outside of their day-to-day tasks may, at the very least, leave them unmotivated to do their best work and ambivalent about improving the community; at the worst, it can lead to resentfulness that they’re stuck in the same role without feeling like they’re part of the association.
Q: The association I manage has a general liability insurance policy. Is this enough to protect the association board members from lawsuits, or should I consider additional insurance?
Sometimes, to comply with the law, association boards must be restructured. If you find yourself in the position of having to deliver the news and help with the restructure, you could be faced with accusations by board members that you’re improperly trying to oust them for your own motives. For example, if you’ve had difficulty working with the current board members, they could assume that you’d like to replace them with members who will be more accommodating. The laws that apply to condo association and HOA board term limits vary from state to state.
Facts: The declaration for a Pennsylvania planned community prohibited swimming pools on individual lots. A homeowner requested that the board consider changing the restriction on swimming pools. The board agreed that the owner could gather additional information regarding applicable city codes, insurance, and liability and present this information to the board.
Facts: When a gated retirement community was developed, it had a variety of recreational amenities, such as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, clubhouses, picnic areas, a marina, lakes, beaches, and a campground. The association was organized to collect dues and assessments from property owners to pay for maintenance of the common areas and amenities. An owner based his decision to buy two homes in the community solely on the recreational activities and the availability of a dock for his pontoon boat.
A Reston, Va., couple say they won’t remove an American flag flying from their mailbox, despite a request by their community association to take it down. One of the homeowners said that, as a Navy veteran, he believes strongly in the country’s flag and is disregarding the “poorly written” letter informing the couple that the flag violated community rules. The letter also asked the couple to trim overgrowth on their property. The Fairfax, Va.-based management company that sent the letter asserted that it was only doing what the board of directors asked it to do.
If a hearing-impaired member in your community asks for a sign language interpreter to be present at a special meeting or at an annual meeting as a reasonable accommodation, be sure to provide one. Without a sign language interpreter, the disabled member may not be able to participate in any meaningful way at the meeting. As a result, your refusal to provide an interpreter could lead a hearing-impaired member to claim that you discriminated against him based on his disability.
If your condominium community uses a fuel-burning appliance such as a gas or oil furnace to heat your building or pool, you need to worry about carbon monoxide (CO), a hazardous material that your members cannot see or smell. Many people die and many more become seriously ill from CO poisoning each year.